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Dr. John B. King to Be Nominated for Permanent Role as Education Secretary; What Does It Mean?

Dr. John B. King to Be Nominated for Permanent Role as Education Secretary; What Does It Mean?

President Barack Obama has announced his intention to nominate acting Secretary of Education Dr. John B. King Jr. for the permanent role.

King has been already been acting secretary since he took over for Arne Duncan after his resignation in December; the nomination would make it official.

"Officials at the White House had said before the announcement that the president was encouraged by the bipartisan support King has received in Congress, especially the commitment Sen. Lamar Alexander (R-Tenn.) has made for a speedy consideration of his nomination. ” said The Washington Post.

Obama and Alexander are hoping to make the nomination process as quick as possible in order to ensure that the new education legislation--the Every Student Succeeds Act--is properly implemented. Alexander was a major player in ensuring the legislation was passed to replace the long-expired No Child Left Behind Act.

Even though the new legislation responds to the growing desire to scale back the Education Department in local and state education matters, the Department still needs to "craft regulations to implement the law,” causing tensions to grow "between officials who want to embed Obama administration policies into new regulations and critics in Congress who want to limit the administration’s influence,” the Post said.

Some critics were initially skeptical of King taking over the role because of problems that plagued his time as New York’s state education commissioner. A hasty roll-out of Common Core that led to widespread dissatisfaction due to the over-emphasis on testing and its effect on teacher evaluations led many to be critical of how King would lead a nation suffering from many of the same problems.

However, according to the Post, a strong commitment from King to emphasize quality over quantity when it comes to standardized testing has led many to change their minds.

At the beginning of this month, King announced his intentions to use federal money to “audit” tests in the nation’s schools to eliminate low-quality exams in hopes of reducing the amount.

”Since King became acting Education Secretary, we have seen both an understanding of the harmful effects of over-testing, and a willingness to promote both the reset of federal education policy and the collaboration with educators and parents that are at the heart of the new federal education law,” said former critic American Federation of Teachers President Randi Weingarten, according to the Post.

Read the full story.

Article by Nicole Gorman, Education World Contributor


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