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Arne Duncan Is Stepping Down As U.S. Education Secretary

By Rachel Cromidas in News on Oct 2, 2015 5:38PM

Arne Duncan and President Barack Obama/Getty Images

The White House has announced that Education Secretary Arne Duncan is stepping down in December.

Duncan, the former chief of Chicago Public Schools, has served as the secretary of education throughout President Barack Obama's first and second terms. Deputy Secretary John B King, Jr., the former Commissioner of Education of the State of New York, is replacing Duncan and will serve as acting secretary of the department until Obama's second term ends in 2017, according to the Associated Press. Duncan's children are enrolled at the University of Chicago Laboratory School in Hyde Park.

Duncan told his staff in a letter that he is returning to Chicago to be with his family, and that he hopes his next career move will "continue to involve the work of expanding opportunity for children."

"Serving the president in the work of expanding opportunity for students throughout this country has been the greatest honor of my life. It's with real sadness that [I] have come to recognize that being apart from my family has become too much of a strain, and it is time for me to step aside and give a new leader a chance. I haven't talked with anyone about what I'll do next, and probably won't for a little while — I'm simply returning to Chicago to live with my family. I imagine my next steps will continue to involve the work of expanding opportunity for children, but I have no idea what that will look like yet."

As Education Secretary, the former basketball player has spearheaded major national education policy initiatives such as the Race to the Top competition for federal schools funding and been known to tussle with teachers unions over the subject of charter schools.