Arne Duncan, President Obama’s Education Secretary, is slated to meet with New York’s incoming schools chancellor this afternoon.
Duncan informed the press of the meeting during a visit at a local school with Mayor Mike Bloomberg to tout a new pilot program to modernize the GED test and test prep.
Although Black’s appointment has created a firestorm of controversy in New York, since she lacks any experience in the public sector or with education, Duncan seemed to endorse her selection.
“I am really excited about what she can do here,” Duncan said. “I’m a huge fan of Joel Klein. I think he’s done an amazing job and her challenge and the opportunity here is to take public education to the next level. I am going to do whatever I can to be supportive of her in doing that. There are a lot of easier things she could have chosen to do and for her to have the courage to step up and do this work, I think tells you something about her character.”
Black has been touring the city’s schools and meeting with teachers, parents and educators. Members of the press have been grumbling however that the city’s Department of Education has not been releasing her schedule.
Like Black, education is Duncan’s second career–in Duncan’s case, as a professional basketball player overseas. However, Duncan worked in education for a decade before being named CEO of Chicago’s public schools, including two years as a deputy chief of staff to his predecessor.
Duncan said that he did not think Black’s lack of experience would hinder her.
“Anyone coming into this job has a huge learning curve,” he said. “She like anyone else has a learning curve. She’s smart, she’s committed, she’s going to have a great team and this is not just about Cathie, it’s about the entire city rallying to make this the best urban school system in the country.”