Education secretaries are seldom household names. Arne Duncan, the current secretary, is no different. While the man on the street in Peoria may not know Duncan, plenty of opinions exist about the man, known as a policy pragmatist, in the education world, TakePart reports. Some critics want Obama to ditch Duncan if he is re-elected in November. Others praise Duncan, the eighth education secretary since Jimmy Carter created the cabinet position in 1979, saying he has done a good job under trying circumstances. Obama picked Duncan, a long-time friend, soon after he was elected president in 2008. From 2001 until then, he worked as chief executive officer of the Chicago Public Schools.
“When it comes to school reform, Arne is the most hands-on of hands-on practitioners,” Obama said when announcing Duncan’s appointment. “He’s not beholden to any one ideology, and he’s worked tirelessly to improve teacher quality.”
That same day, Duncan said, “It [education] is the civil rights issue of our generation.”