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It was the type of job offer he couldn’t refuse.

U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan exits a school bus after speaking with  children riding to school in Tucson on Tuesday, Sept. 10. Duncan toured Arizona, New Mexico and California schools by bus.More than four-and-a-half years ago, Arne Duncan received a call informing him that President Barack Obama was offering him the job of U.S. Secretary of Education. Duncan was no stranger to high-profile education positions, since at the time, he was very happy serving as CEO of the Chicago Public School system. But when the president calls, you listen.

“It was an amazing opportunity,” Duncan said in a phone interview with the Sedona Red Rock News. “I really didn’t want to leave Chicago, but the president is a friend and I have always had full confidence in him. This truly is the only job I would have left Chicago for. But this was a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity that I couldn’t pass up. I still pinch myself.”

Duncan was in Arizona this week as part of his Strong Start, Bright Future bus tour that took him across several Southwest states.
Since the spring, Duncan has been advocating for the Common Core State Standards Initiative, a state-led effort to establish a single set of English and math standards that states voluntarily adopt for their for kindergarten to 12th-grade students. The initiative was founded by state governors and education secretaries through the National Governors Association, but opponents say the federal government is intruding on a state matter. The Sedona-Oak Creek School District, like districts throughout the rest of Arizona, moved to Common Core Standards over the summer.

For the full story, see the Friday, Sept. 13, edition of the Sedona Red Rock News.

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