This article was originally published in The Notebook. In August 2020, The Notebook became Chalkbeat Philadelphia.
by Patrick Gailey
Secretary of Education Arne Duncan traveled to Philadelphia yesterday as a part of the U.S. Department of Education’s TEACH campaign. Secretary Duncan spent the morning discussing this campaign, which aims to recruit the next generation of teachers, with a panel at Temple University. This "Temple University Town Hall" marks the first event for the TEACH campaign, which was launched in September.
In the afternoon Duncan joined Governor Edward Rendell at the Greater Philadelphia Chamber of Commerce for a public conversation about the state of education in Pennsylvania. Governor Rendell highlighted increases in school funding, especially for early childhood, under his administration. He linked this spending to the gains that Pennsylvania has made in raising test scores and closing disparities. He also expressed concerns about loss of federal stimulus funding coupled with two candidates for governor who oppose tax increases and what effect these factors will have on the improvements Pennsylvania and Philadelphia have seen over the past eight years.
Duncan echoed praise for the progress Pennsylvania has made in closing the achievement gap and raising test scores. He also highlighted steps that the Obama administration has made regarding education, including Race to the Top, parts of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act that helped save teacher jobs, and efforts to make college more affordable. He also took a hard line on the nation’s current 25 percent dropout rate, calling it “economically unsustainable.”
Duncan said he continued to support alternative certification programs as a way to attract new teachers.