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“We Cannot Arrest Our Way Out of This Problem:” Arne Duncan Talks Reducing Violence in Chicago

“We Cannot Arrest Our Way Out of This Problem:” Arne Duncan Talks Reducing Violence in Chicago

Former Education Secretary Arne Duncan may have left his position as the nation’s go-to guy in education, but that doesn’t mean he’s stopped working in the field.

Since resigning at the end of 2015 after seven years in the position, Duncan has returned to his roots in Chicago working for the Emerson Collective to help improve a school district that has been been struggling to recover from over a decade’s worth of education issues.

Specifically, Duncan tells U.S. News education reporter Lauren Camera that he is now focusing on reducing the increasing patterns of violence in the city by improving individual access to education.

"The police can't solve this. We cannot arrest our way out of this problem. A lot of these guys are making rational choices because there are no other choices,” Duncan said to Camera, referencing the phenomenon of the school-to-prison pipeline that education advocates are tirelessly working to erode.

Duncan expresses support for using social and emotional learning to help children who grow up in non-traditional, unstable family settings deal with the accompanying trauma.

"The level of trauma, the level of fear, the level of anger is extraordinary. You have to help kids deal with this stuff and work it through. They are scared all the time. And because it's so bad, there are a lot of kids that just honestly don't think they are going to live, particularly the young men,” Duncan said in the interview.

"It's hard for kids who are trying to survive day to day or think there is a good chance they don't live. Dealing with the reality of a tomorrow that's not promised to you has a devastating impact on kids. And the part that kills me is that these are amazing kids who are doing everything they can to beat the odds.”

Duncan seems to continue to support what he said last February: "When adults fight, kids lose.”

Read Duncan’s full interview with U.S. News here.

Nicole Gorman, Senior Education World Contributor


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