US Education Secretary Arne Duncan to Give Baker Distinguished Lecture
Free and open to the public, the lecture—sponsored by the Howard H. Baker Jr. Center for Public Policy, SunTrust Foundation, Knoxville News Sentinel, and WUOT—will begin at 1:00 p.m. in the University Center Auditorium.
Following the lecture, the Baker Center will host a panel discussion on education, from kindergarten through college. Also open to the public, that panel discussion will take place from 2:30 to 3:30 p.m. in the Toyota Auditorium. College of Education, Health, and Human Sciences Dean Bob Rider will moderate.
This lecture series, which debuted in the fall with an event featuring Senator George Mitchell, was established to promote the values of Senator Howard H. Baker Jr., whose longstanding commitment to honorable public service has made an indelible mark on US history. It will bring nationally prominent speakers to campus twice a year to speak on issues of national and international significance.
“We’re very pleased that Secretary Duncan has agreed to be part of this lecture series,” Baker Center Director Matt Murray said. “President Obama has repeatedly stressed that education is driving the national economy and keeping America strong. Secretary Duncan is at the forefront of implementing programs to do that, and Tennessee has benefited greatly from these programs.”
Duncan has been the secretary of education since his confirmation by the US Senate on January 20, 2009, following his nomination by President Barack Obama.
During his tenure, Duncan has worked with lawmakers to rally support for a number of initiatives—using $100 billion from the American Recovery and Reinvestment to create 325,000 teaching jobs; increasing Pell grants; launching reform efforts, like Race to the Top and Investing in Innovation; and developing strategies to help low-performing schools. He’s introduced several initiatives to help decrease the student loan burden, including plans that would reduce student loan payments for college graduates in low-paying jobs and forgive loans after ten years for people in certain public service occupations such as teachers, police officers, and firefighters.
Before becoming secretary of education, Duncan was chief executive officer of Chicago Public Schools. There, he led the efforts to open more than a hundred new schools in the city, expand after-school and summer learning programs, close down underperforming schools, increase early childhood and college access, improve the caliber of teachers, and build public-private partnerships.
Prior to his work with Chicago Public Schools, Duncan ran the nonprofit foundation Ariel Education Initiative, which helped fund a college education for a class of inner-city children under the I Have A Dream program.
Duncan graduated with a sociology degree from Harvard University in 1987. He was co-captain of Harvard’s basketball team and was named a first team Academic All-American.
Duncan is married to Karen Duncan, and they have two children who attend public school in Arlington, Virginia.
Established in 2003, the Baker Center seeks to further the public’s knowledge of the US government and public policy and to encourage civil leadership and public service. The center sponsors programs to encourage informed discussion, with a special focus on engaging young people in policy issues and public service.
For more information about the Baker Center, visit the website.
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