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Duncan Says Complacency Biggest Threat to Schools

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(Sacramento, CA)
Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Sacramento Mayor Kevin Johnson hosted U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan and dozens of education leaders yesterday. Duncan is on a nationwide tour getting ideas and feedback. 

He says the nation's biggest education problem is complacency on the part of parents and students, "I would love a lot more students, a lot more parents frankly demanding a lot more of us as education leaders and as elected officials."

But, he also says there are some innovations that could be effective anywhere, "In places like New York, where you have IBM running a 9-through14 school.  And I think this is the perfect combination of altruism and self interest. It's so interesting to me.  I keep asking the question,  "Do we have a jobs crisis, or do we have a skills crisis?'"

Mayor Johnson says it's both.  He's pushing mayors to be more involved with the education systems in their cities, "In this country there's going to be 120 million new jobs in the next 20 years.  We're only going to be able to fill only 50 million of those jobs.  Well, where are the other 70 million coming from?  They're coming from China and India."

Duncan also weighed in on the Chicago teacher's strike and teachers balking at having their performance evaluated, "I think giving meaningful evaluation is an important piece of this puzzle. And, lots of folks are figuring it out in really creative ways."

Duncan says hundreds of school districts and unions have worked together to avoid any labor disagreements over teacher evaluations.

He also stopped at Truckee Meadows Community College and held a town hall meeting in Reno. 

Duncan has another 20 stops on his tour including Colorado, Illinois and West Virginia. 
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