Arne Duncan’s Vision for Growth in the American Educational System
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Politics and Activism

Arne Duncan’s Vision for Growth in the American Educational System

Arne Duncan’s Vision for Growth in the American Educational System

Arne Duncan is the ninth United States Secretary of Education. He was nominated by President Barack Obama and has served in this role since January 20, 2009. Some of his key accomplishments up to this point, as stated by the U.S. Department of Education, have been the passage of the American Recovery and Reinstatement Act, the growth of the Pell Grant program, and the success of the Race to the Top program. He has helped allocate resources to the school districts that need them the most.[1]

On November 4, 2010, Arne Duncan gave a speech in Paris, France, to the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO). [2] Duncan addresses the universal power of education to bridge gaps -- from race, to gender, to income -- and fight inequality in these times of economic woe. He remarks that “nothing is more important in the long-run to American prosperity than boosting the skills and attainment of the nation’s students.” By using economic concepts of social efficiency and positive externalities associated with education, Duncan makes a strong and convincing argument for the power and potential of effective education in the United States.

This is not to say that the American educational system is without its issues and challenges. Duncan mentions a disturbing statistic: One quarter of U.S high school students drop out or fail to graduate on time. These numbers prove that education reform is an undisputable issue of our time. Significant efforts are being made and resources expended in order to attempt to combat these trends. For example, the passage of health care reform resulted in $40 billion that could be used for Pell Grant scholarships which aid low-income undergraduates. In addition, $2 billion were given to community colleges. Duncan finishes his speech by emphasizing the international elements of education. Improving the United States education system will help not only the U.S., but also countries all around the world.

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