NEW YORK, Dec 15, 2008 /PRNewswire
In response to the widely reported selection of Arne Duncan to head the U.S. Department of Education in President-elect Obama's administration, Democrats for Education Reform (DFER) championed the selection and urged the incoming secretary to make good on the promises Obama made while campaigning for the presidency. DFER was an early advocate of the selection of Duncan in the Education Transition Memo they released on November 11, because of his commitment to education reform ideas and his experience implementing reform in the Chicago Public Schools.
"In spite of decades of talk about education reform, the system remains broken," said Joe Williams, executive director of DFER. "The Obama administration, with Arne Duncan at the head of the Department of Education, will lead the charge of breaking the existing ideological and political gridlock to promote new, innovative and experimental ideas in education."
DFER believes Duncan represents the very best choice for the Secretary of Education with his long history of commitment to improving public education in the United States. As CEO of Chicago Public Schools since 2001, Duncan has demonstrated that he understands that improving educational opportunities for children is a critical investment in our nation's future. Under Duncan's leadership, Chicago has been at the forefront of school restructuring and improving teacher quality. During his seven year tenure Chicago Public Schools have demonstrated sustained improvements in student achievement, graduation rates and college-going rates.
"During the long fight for the presidency Barack Obama made clear that education will be a central focus of his administration," Williams continued. "In his speech in Grant Park in Chicago on election night President-elect Obama listed education in his top five priorities for his term in office. He has promised to increase funding for charter schools, create a system for rewarding excellent teachers, and expand pre-K -- all issues that DFER has campaigned rigorously in favor of."
DFER supports Democratic candidates committed to progressive ideas like greater mayoral accountability for schools; adjustments in teacher licensing requirements; changes to teacher compensation to reward our best educators; and a renewed focus on early childhood education (in particular, linking early childhood education with charter schools, which usually do not include Pre-K).
About Democrats for Education Reform (DFER)
Democrats for Education Reform (DFER) is a political action committee whose mission is to encourage a more productive dialogue within the Democratic Party on the need to fundamentally reform American public education. DFER was founded in June of 2007 by a group of Democratic contributors and education reformers who were frustrated that the Democratic Party appeared to be unfairly resistant to positive change in schools. http://www.dfer.org/