5. Arne Duncan
Photo: P. Kevin Morley/Richmond Times-Dispatch/AP Photo
Secretary of Education Arne Duncan is working to make your children (and the nation’s other 49 million public school students) power players in the global marketplace of the future. “We have to educate our way to a better economy,” he likes to say. Duncan is overseeing Race to the Top (R2T), a Department of Education competition created to encourage innovative thinking and reform in school districts.
What does it mean for your child’s classroom? Immediately, not much. However, changes over the next few years will include new standardized tests, new methods for evaluating the effectiveness of educators, and the development of more charter schools. Twelve states have already implemented R2T steps and earned big chunks of the $4.35 billion set aside for the new program.
Duncan, a former basketball player, believes education starts at home. His own two kids, 8 and 10, “watch very little TV,” and the family reads together nightly. They just finished Wind in the Willows. “It’s good for me. It’s good for the kids,” he says. “I love it.”
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