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Arne Duncan Hints at Second-Term Agenda


November 26, 2012


Arne Duncan Hints at Second-Term Agenda

Speaking at the Council of Chief State School Officers meeting last week, Secretary of Education Arne Duncan hinted that he would stay on as secretary for President Obama’s second term and laid out his goals for that time period. Going forward, he said the department will leverage education improvement at the state and local levels, with a new emphasis on principal preparation and evaluation.

In his speech, Duncan made clear that if Congress continues to delay in reauthorizing the Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA), which has been overdue for reauthorization since 2007, the bill will not be a priority for the department. When pressed on the issue, Duncan stated, “we will lead, we will help, we will push, but Congress has to want to do it.”

Last year, the department began granting waivers for states to become exempt from certain provisions in the 2001 ESEA bill, also known as No Child Left Behind. The process has given some states breathing room from AYP provisions, but it has also made reauthorizing the ESEA more complicated due to each state having its own accountability system.

The secretary also stressed the importance of improving early-childhood education, making college more affordable in the future and ensuring innovation can occur at the district level without states “vetoing” those ideas.

Although Secretary Duncan did not discuss any of his department’s goals for career and technical education in the second term during this speech, there could be additional activity as the Perkins CTE Act comes due for reauthorization in 2013.

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