Back in late 2013, Arne Duncan found it rather fascinating that the opposition to his Common Core State Standards Initiative included the likes of white suburban moms who suddenly realized that their children weren’t the brightest of the lot and that the school they picked wasn’t as good as they initially thought it to be. But then again there was sufficient opposition from parents (non-suburban white moms) too.
Arne Duncan served as the Secretary of Education from 2009 till 2016 under the Obama administration and his tenure while well appreciated by the President himself, was marred by controversies. But as Obama summed it up, sometimes you just have to drag an unwilling prehistoric education system through the trenches into the 21st century knowing very well that your image will be tarnished.
His childhood was spent in Hyde Park, Chicago near the University of Chicago where his father taught psychology. His mother primarily ran the Sue Duncan Children’s Center. Arne went eventually graduated from Harvard University magna cum laude, having played Basketball for the university team. He majored in Sociology. Less known fact about Arne is that he took a sabbatical year and choose to work at his mother’s Children’s Center. He would eventually go on to write his senior thesis paper on his one year away helping children there.
He held the post of Director for the Ariel Education Initiative, co-opened the Ariel Community Academy too. His next appointment was as the Deputy Chief of Staff for Chicago Public Schools CEO, Paul Vallas. He eventually went on to accept the position of CEO for Chicago Public Schools in 2001 before finally being appointed as the Secretary of Education under the President Obama in 2009.
Basketball was Duncan’s Achilles heel. He co-captained the basketball team at Harvard and even made it to the Academic All-American team from 87 till 91. His turned professional too having played most of his professional basketball down under in Australia for a few teams. During the time he worked as a government employed social worker with troubled children usually. Most notable being the Eastside Spectres from Melbourne in NBL Australia league. Arne also featured heavily in the NBA All-Star Weekend Celebrity Games during 2012,13 and also 14.
His other basketball achievements include being part of the 3×3 mens USA basketball team that went to Moscow, Russia for a 24-country FIBA word championship. While he personally could not partake in the tournament his team however did manage a decent 9th place finish without him among 24 other nations.
Lesser known fact about his Basketball career though is that he was called for a tryout straight out of college by NBA’s Boston Celtics. However, the it was his meeting with Karen during his time playing in Australia that he holds most dear. She was a high school physical education coach and teacher – it was only natural they would kick things off. The two today have two children, Ryan and Claire. Now, he’s an internet addict and writes reviews for online publications.