January 21, 2009
Randi Weingarten, President, American Federation of Teachers,
On Arne Duncan's Senate Approval to be Secretary of Education
Yesterday, the U.S. Senate confirmed President Barack Obama's nomination of Arne Duncan as Secretary of Education.
WASHINGTON-The AFT commends the Senate for quickly approving President Obama's choice of Arne Duncan as Secretary of Education. Secretary Duncan and the new administration start today to focus on real solutions for closing the achievement gap and providing every child with a rigorous, well-rounded education that prepares him or her for college, work and life. At a time when our public schools face serious challenges and have been subjected to deep budget cuts, we must all work together to ensure that we reinvest, not disinvest, in our children's education.
We need to heed President Obama's inaugural address and redouble our efforts to "transform our schools and colleges and universities to meet the demands of a new age." This task will not be easy, nor will it happen overnight, and it will require a sizable investment in our public schools and a collaborative commitment to smart, proven programs. Arne Duncan has exhibited his commitment to public education and his willingness to listen as well as to lead. We hope Secretary Duncan's team includes individuals who share these qualities, and who, like him, are committed to working with all stakeholders to strengthen and improve public education. The AFT stands ready and willing to collaborate with Secretary Duncan and his team to provide a world-class, 21st-century public education for all children.
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The AFT represents more than 1.4 million pre-K through 12th-grade teachers; paraprofessionals and other school-related personnel; higher education faculty and professional staff; federal, state and local government employees; nurses and healthcare workers; and early childhood educators.