Arne Duncan’s Plan
October 31, 2012 by Matthew Fabian
As Thomas Jefferson students prepare for the future, Arne Duncan looks to help make that future a little easier.
United States Secretary of Education Arne Duncan has a plan to help students everywhere in the nation.
“I love what Denver is doing with education reform,” said Duncan in a visit to Lowry Elementary School on September 17, 2012. “Graduation rates are going up and are projected to continue to rise. Subsequently, drop out rates are going down, which really speaks to the students in Denver.” Duncan is looking to show the nation that Denver is on the rise and on track to help support his ideas of education reform.
Duncan was at Lowry Elementary School to see the progress taking place in America’s educational system. One of the main talking points with Duncan was the Healthy Food being served in DPS. Duncan was served lunch and was shown that all DPS schools now do “scratch” cooking for all meals. Duncan was also shown how Physical Education plays into DPS’s agenda. DPS strongly believes in the correlation between fitness and academic performance, and proved this to Duncan by having the school do a dance they have been learning in class. DPS has also improved with Physical Education through funding from the office of Secretary Duncan, as over $1.5 million in equipment has been provided to DPS.
Duncan worked for Chicago Public Schools before becoming the Secretary of Education for the Obama administration, and knows his way around the inner city school system. “I’ve been working with inner city schools my entire life and I know the dynamic,” says Duncan. He is aware of the hardships that inner city students face in today’s world. “They don’t necessarily have the resources other students have, or the time that other students have. Yet, I know they rise out of these conditions and can achieve what everyone knows they’re capable of,” he said. “They do the right thing.”
Duncan is also concerned with college and post-secondary education for high school students. As the Secretary of Education, he knows that student loan debt and job readiness are key issues for graduates coming out of college. “It is a lot of hard work to go to college and get a degree. It doesn’t need to be made harder with debt and lack of jobs. That’s when it is (the government’s) job to help.” Duncan works daily with President Barack Obama to find opportunities for college students in the stage right after graduation. “Not only do we have to find solutions at the national level, but the states also have to do their job.” Yet, post-secondary education is not all doom and gloom for America. Duncan is creating the solution, saying, “Staff rates are beginning to go down, and loan interest rates are decreasing for the first time. Things are looking up for college students, and it’s because we are working together.”
“Working together” is a huge aspect of Duncan’s educational philosophy. “Education only moves forward if we work together,” said Duncan. Much of this work ethic comes from his time playing basketball at Harvard and professionally in Australia. Duncan grew up with basketball and says he has learned multiple lessons from it. “It’s not only basketball, but in any team sport you learn to work with other people. I think it’s where I got my foundation as a leader.” Duncan also plays basketball with President Obama. “It’s a stress release for the both of us. We find time to get together and do a little one-on-one.” Obama’s best basketball move was also revealed. “He’s got a nice little lefty cross-over move to get to the basket,” said Duncan.
Duncan is finding a way to help students not only succeed in school, but help high schoolers easily transition into college and the real world. “We build the foundation of America with Education. The future is relying on education,” said Duncan.