Arne Duncan Confirmation Hearing
Monday, January 19, 2009; 10:48 AM
SEN. TOM HARKIN (D-IOWA): Good morning. The Committee on Health, Education, Labor and Pensions will come to order.
Our Chairman, Senator Kennedy, has asked me to chair this morning's hearing of this Committee.
A special welcome to Mr. Arne Duncan, who has been designated by President-elect Obama to lead the Department of Education in the new administration.
Since 2001, Mr. Duncan has been chief executive officer of the Chicago Public School System. Prior to joining the Chicago Public Schools, he was director of the Ariel Education Initiative, which seeks to create high-quality educational opportunities for inner-city children on Chicago's Southside. As a leader of Chicago Public Schools, Mr. Duncan has earned a national reputation for turning around a large, diverse urban public school system.
Mr. Duncan, there is no question that schools across America can benefit from the same kind of fresh thinking that you have brought to the Chicago public schools.
As you know very well, perhaps our greatest educational challenge is to improve the performance of urban and rural public schools serving high poverty communities.