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Arne Duncan launches plan to address inequities in education

LA School Report | July 7, 2014

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Stating that “teachers and principals are not the problem,” Secretary of Education Arne Duncan took to the podium at the White House today to unveil a national initiative aimed at addressing “systematic inequities” that shortchange some schools and disproportionately affect students in high-poverty, high-minority areas.

While Duncan called teachers and principals “absolutely essential elements of the solution,” saying attention needs to be directed at recruiting, retaining and supporting teachers, he also confirmed his objection to strict tenure laws (see video above).

“I will always support due process rights that’s critically important, I will always support the right to tenure. We just want that to be a meaningful bar,” he said.  “I think there in California some folks were getting that after 18 months. This is something that should be earned by effectiveness.”

Duncan also fended off a question about a call for his resignation last week by the nation’s largest teachers organization, the NEA. “I look forward to working with them,” he said.

As part of the initiative, called The Excellent Educators for All Initiative, Duncan says he will ask states to submit an “Equity Plan” to address the issue and is committing $4.2 million to help states and districts develop and implement the plan.

Duncan and a group of teachers attended a White House lunch with President Barack Obama after the press conference.

Full video available from C Span here.

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