Secretary of Education Arne Duncan announced on Friday, Oct. 2, that he would be stepping down from his position in December. Vice President Joe Biden stated, “Over the past seven years, he has been a dynamic leader who brings unparalleled energy to his work.”
Duncan has a history of angering Democrats by challenging teachers’ unions while also frustrating Republicans by promoting national academic standards.
President Barack Obama announced that he is nominating John B. King Jr, the current Deputy Education Secretary and former Commissioner of Education of New York to be Duncan’s replacement.
A major critic of Duncan’s run as Secretary of Education is Randi Weingarten, the president of the American Federation of Teachers. Weingarten said, “There’s no question that the Department of Education’s fixation on charters and high-stakes testing has not worked.”
Ironically, Duncan’s replacement is not without his own history of problems. While King was the commissioner of education in New York, he oversaw the rollout of the controversial Common Core standards and wanted more difficult standardized tests, which drew negative criticism and protests from parents and teachers, according to The New York Times.
President of the Nonprofit Education Trust, Kati Haycock, stated in an interview with The New York Times that she was not surprised many of Duncan’s aggressive approaches to introduce new tests and teacher evaluations would create such high amounts of backlash.
Duncan’s departure from office means that only one of President Obama’s original cabinet members holds his place, Tom Vilsack, according to The Los Angeles Times.
Editor’s Note: Information from The Los Angeles Times, The New York Times and whitehouse.gov was used in this report.