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Duncan on Philadelphia schools: ‘There’s no excuse … to be in this situation’

This article was originally published in The Notebook. In August 2020, The Notebook became Chalkbeat Philadelphia.

U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan issued a statement today, a day after a plea from AFT president Randi Weingarten and education historian Diane Ravitch to intervene in the Philadelphia school funding crisis. Duncan offered "technical assistance" from his staff to avert what he termed an "educational crisis."

Here’s the text of his statement:

There’s no excuse for a public school system anywhere in the U.S. to be in this situation in the 21st century, and it’s even worse to see it in Philadelphia, the cornerstone of this great country and the cradle for our founding principles. I strongly urge everyone involved to continue working together to avert this educational crisis. My continued outreach to each of the parties involved: Governor Corbett, Mayor Nutter, Dr. Hite and Jerry Jordan assures me that fixing this is their number one priority. I’ve instructed my staff to provide any needed technical assistance to both the district and the commonwealth. The bottom line is that doing what’s right for Philadelphia students will not only benefit the city – but the commonwealth of Pennsylvania and the country. Philadelphia’s children didn’t create these problems or ask for them – our responsibility as adults is to do everything we can to provide students in Philadelphia the world class education they deserve. Without courage and leadership, I worry greatly that Philadelphia’s children will be shortchanged. We must invest in public education, not abandon it.

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