Obama Announces Arne Duncan as Education Secretary

CQ Transcripts Wire
Tuesday, December 16, 2008; 12:44 PM

PRESIDENT-ELECT BARACK OBAMA: You know, over the past few weeks Vice President-elect Biden and I have announced key members of our economic team, and they are working as we speak to craft a recovery program that will save and create millions of new jobs and grow our struggling economy.

But we know that in the long run the path to jobs and growth begins right here, in America's schools, in America's classrooms.

So today we're pleased to announce the leader of our education team, whose work will be critical to these efforts, our nominee for secretary of education, and my friend, Arne Duncan.

In the next few years the decisions we make about how to educate our children will shape our future for generations to come. They will determine not just whether our children have the chance to fulfill their god-given potential or whether our workers have the chance to build a better life for our families, but whether we as a nation will remain, in the 21st century, the kind of global economic leader that we were in the 20th.

Because at a time when companies can plant jobs wherever there's an Internet connection and two-thirds of all new jobs require a higher education or advanced training, if we want to out-compete the world tomorrow, then we're going to have to out-educate the world today.

Unfortunately, when our high school dropout rate is one of the highest in the industrialized world, when a third of all fourth graders can't do basic math, when more and more Americans are getting priced out of attending college, we're falling far short of that goal.

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