This afternoon Secretary of Education Arne Duncan spoke at the National Press Club about the state of American education. Duncan highlighted the Obama Administrationâ€™s achievements and challenges over the last four years and offered his take on the obstacles facing public schools in the years ahead.
Chief among the Departmentâ€™s endeavors are raising standards, improving student performance, reducing dropout rates, and strengthening the teaching profession. But, as we in the CTE community know, education also plays an important role in strengthening the economy and closing the skills gap. Said Duncan: â€œWith more than three million unfilled jobs in this country, [the public] understand[s] that we have a skills gap that will only be closed if America does a better job training and preparing people for work.â€ The public supports investing in education, but as Duncan pointed out, they worry about where the money will come from.
Duncan laid out the areas where there is still work to be done, including reforming CTE programs in high schools and community colleges, state-driven accountability, recruiting more math and science teachers, and closing the skills gap.