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Arne Duncan to Step Down as Education Secretary

The announcement comes as a surprise to the entire education community, as Duncan has said that he would remain secretary until the end of Obama’s time in the White House, even after he announced recently that his wife and children moved back to his hometown of Chicago to begin school there this year.

“Arne’s wife and kids wanted to move back home and that’s meant, in the interim, a lot of time apart,” the president said. “I’ll be honest, I pushed Arne to stay. But I also know from personal experience how hard it is to be away from your family on a sustained basis. He has more than earned the right to return home.”

The president called Duncan one of history’s “most consequential” education secretaries, noting that under his watch states have increased access to preschool for millions of children, adopted more rigorous standards and made higher education more affordable.