This historic election has brought about much excitement and anticipation to the change that could come to this country. At First Book, we have kept a close eye on cabinet appointments, specifically for the Secretary of Education position. The selection of Arne Duncan, a friend of First Book, has caused such enthusiasm in our office. His accomplishments to advance the Chicago Public School District prove extensive. Through his years as schools superintendent, Duncan opened 34 new schools, improved elementary school test scores that hit an all time high with more than 65% of students meeting or exceeding state standards, and expanded early childhood education programs.
About a month ago, the New York Times wrote an interesting article about Duncan’s experience and plans for improving education in the United States. This administration has promised $10 billion to improve early childhood education specifically, the largest single investment since the inception of Head Start. While this sum seems high, especially in these trouble times, Jen Psaki, a spokeswoman for the transition team, stated, “We simply cannot afford to sideline key priorities like education.” Children from low-income families will be the central focus of this new initiative, extending opportunities to infants and toddlers.
At First Book, we dream of a world where all programs serving children in need have equal access to educational resources. We will watch with anticipation and hope that this new infusion of capital will help improve educational opportunities for all.