As secretary, Duncan made significant accomplishments on behalf of American students and teachers, including helping to secure congressional support for the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act’s $100 billion to fund 325,000 teaching jobs, increases in Pell grants, reform efforts such as Race to the Top and Investing in Innovation, and interventions in low-performing schools. He also helped secure an additional $10 billion to avoid teacher layoffs; the elimination of student loan subsidies to banks; and a $500 million national competition for early learning programs. Under Duncan’s leadership at the Department, the Race to the Top program had the incentives, guidance, and flexibility needed to support reforms in states. He also began new efforts to ensure that colleges and universities provide more transparency around graduation, job placement, and student loan default rates.
Previously, Duncan served as chief executive officer of the Chicago Public Schools (CPS), where he won praise for uniting education reformers, teachers, principals and business stakeholders behind an aggressive education reform agenda. Prior to joining CPS, he ran the nonprofit education foundation Ariel Education Initiative, which helped fund a college education for a class of inner-city children under the I Have A Dream program.
Duncan graduated magna cum laude from Harvard University in 1987, after majoring in sociology. He was co-captain of Harvard’s basketball team and was named a first team Academic All-American. Duncan is married to Karen Duncan, and they have two children.
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