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Obama Meets with Educators Amid Call for Arne Duncan to Resign

Mon, 07 Jul 2014 18:14:18 +0000

Official White House Photo by Pete Souza(WASHINGTON) -- Just days after the nation’s largest teachers’ union called for Education Secretary Arne Duncan to resign, President Obama on Monday hosted educators for lunch at the White House and unveiled a new initiative to promote excellence in teaching.

“We have a problem in which the kids who need the most skilled teachers are the least likely to get them,” the president explained as he unveiled the “Excellent Educators for All” program, which is intended to promote equal access to high-quality teachers.

The initiative, supported with $4.2 million in federal money, calls for states to “support great teachers and principals to come to and stay in high-needs schools and communities,” Duncan told reporters at the White House briefing.

“We want to make sure every child has that access to excellent teachers and we’re very confident that if we can lift up what works, that there are going to be a lot of states that want to adapt to it,” Obama said as he and Duncan sat down to lunch in the Blue Room with four teachers.

Obama’s public push for better skilled teachers comes as the administration is under increasing fire from the teachers’ union.

At its annual convention on Friday, the National Education Association adopted a measure calling for Duncan to resign, citing a “failed education agenda” focused too much on high-stakes testing and policies that “undermine public schools and colleges, the teaching profession, education professionals and education unions.”

“I’ve always tried to stay out of local union politics,” Duncan said on Monday when asked about the measure. “I think most teachers do too.”

“We've had a very good working relationship with NEA in the past,” he continued. “We agree on many issues. We disagree occasionally...We continue to work very closely with both major unions. We work very closely with state unions as well, and generally have had very good working relationships.”


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