Arne Duncan has announced his resignation as U.S. Secretary of Education and will be stepping down in December. Duncan is the former superintendent of Chicago Public Schools and is one of only two original cabinet members left with the Obama administration.
Scores of changes have taken place in the seven years Duncan has been in office. Most notably is his Race to the Top initiative, which asks states to vie for a piece of a $4 billion grant through a variety of criteria. Criteria have included expanding charter schools and the highly criticized judging teacher/administrator effectiveness based on student test scores.
During his tenure, Duncan has also been under fire with national teachers’ unions for his “test and punish” system of accountability, which go against the “support and improve” structure the majority of unions promote.
Duncan has been a supporter of the charter school movement.
John King, Jr. will succeed Duncan as U.S. Secretary of Education.
In 2011, King was appointed Commissioner of Education of the State of New York. During his experience at the state-level, King released new teacher and principal evaluation plans for the New York City Department of Education. He also led the transition of NY schools to Common Core standards. Criticism against King grew, as a rushed implementation of the standards led to a major drop in student proficiency (30 percent, statewide). By 2014, state teachers’ unions and parents were calling for his resignation, which he followed through with by the end of the year.
Following his resignation, King was appointed by Duncan to serve on the U.S. Department of Education’s Equity and Excellence Commission.
King is a supporter of the charter school movement.