Arne Duncan

Recent Articles

Race discrimination persists in school discipline practices

By Mary Turck

Contributing Writer


In early January, Secretary of Education Arne Duncan and Attorney General Eric Holder jointly announced new federal guidelines on school discipline. Why? “Racial discrimination in school discipline is a real problem today, and not just an issue from 40 to 50 years ago,” said Duncan. Want numbers? The new guidelines have plenty:

“The Civil Rights Data Collection (CRDC), conducted by OCR, has demonstrated that students of certain racial or ethnic groups tend to be disciplined more than their peers. Continue Reading →

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Holder and Duncan reform outdated school discipline policies



By Marc H. Morial
Guest Commentator

“A routine school disciplinary infraction should land a student in the principal’s office, not in a police precinct.” — Eric Holder, United States Attorney General


On January 8, U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder and Education Secretary Arne Duncan came to Baltimore’s historic Frederick Douglas High School to announce a comprehensive set of guidelines to tackle the problem of “zero tolerance” disciplinary policies in our schools. As the National Urban League and others have been pointing out for years, students of color and students with disabilities receive disproportionately more and markedly harsher punishments for the same misbehaviors as other students. This obviously discriminatory treatment is not only denying an education to thousands of minority students, it is funneling too many of them into the criminal justice system and feeding the school-to-prison pipeline. According to data collected by the Department of Education’s Office for Civil Rights, African American students without disabilities are more than three times as likely as their White peers without disabilities to be expelled or suspended. The New York Times, in its Sunday editorial, called the treatment of disabled students “a national disgrace.” The Times cites a finding by the Center for Civil Rights Remedies at the University of California that “in ten states, including California, Connecticut, Delaware and Illinois, more than a quarter of black students with disabilities were suspended in the 2009-10 school year.”

The National Urban League has long stood with parents and others who have challenged so-called “zero-tolerance” policies that have unfairly targeted students of color and done more harm than good in many public schools. Continue Reading →

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Children’s voices unheard in funding debates

Declining resources deprive youngsters of quality pre-K schooling


By Charles Hallman

Staff Writer


A new U.S. report released Tuesday says per-child spending in State-funded pre-K programs has declined more than $700 over the past 10 years. As a result, say advocates for early childhood education, African American children are not getting the preparation they need to succeed in later schooling. “This is a giant step backwards,” proclaims National Institute for Early Education Research (NIEER) Director Steve Barnett. “If any state expanded in enrollment, the funding did not keep pace.” He and U.S. Education Secretary Arne Duncan last week spoke to reporters, including the MSR, on a conference call about the 2011 NIEER “State of Preschool” report. The NIEER report found that 2010-11 pre-K funding had dropped by nearly $60 million — the second straight year of decline in total state spending. Continue Reading →

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Helping prepare our high school seniors for college



Dear MPS partners and friends:
January 20 was an exciting day in Minneapolis, as national leaders visited to focus on the work that we do every day to prepare students for college and career. U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan visited South High School to talk with the senior class and their parents about college affordability and the new simplified Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA). Senator Amy Klobuchar, Senator Al Franken and Mayor R.T. Rybak, who have consistently demonstrated their support for Minneapolis schools, also addressed students. Visit the MPS website ( to view our video of the event. What impressed me the most during the visit was the leadership of our students, who raised intelligent, thoughtful and authentic questions during their conversation with Secretary Duncan. Continue Reading →

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