(WASHINGTON POST) Juliet Eilperin, Lyndsey Layton and Emma Brown — U.S. Education Secretary Arne Duncan plans to step down from his Cabinet position by the end of the year, leaving the Obama administration more than a year before the president’s term will end.
“He’s done more to bring our educational system, sometimes kicking and screaming, into the 21st century than anyone else,” President Obama said as he announced Duncan’s resignation at the White House on Friday afternoon. “America will be better off for what he has done.”
Obama has chosen John B. King Jr., who currently acts as deputy secretary of education, to replace Duncan.
King is a Brooklyn native who often credits teachers with guiding him toward a successful path after he was orphaned at age 12. A former charter school leader in Boston and New York, he joined the Education Department in January after a turbulent tenure as commissioner of education for the state of New York. In that role, he was a key architect of new teacher evaluations tied to test scores and played a key role in pushing New York to adopt new tests aligned to the Common Core State Standards years before other states did the same.
King defended those moves, favored by Duncan and the Obama administration, even as they made him the target of public outrage. Parents saw their children’s test scores fall and teachers unions called for his ouster.
Duncan, 50, has been one of the longest-serving education secretaries and, by most accounts, the most influential.