Senate Confirms U.S Secretary of Education

On Monday the United States Senate, by a vote of 49-40, voted to confirm Acting Secretary of Education John B. King, Jr. King assumed the position in January upon the departure of Arne Duncan, who had served in the position for seven years.

In February President Obama nominated Dr. King to be Secretary, stating that “There is nobody better to continue leading our ongoing efforts to work toward preschool for all, prepare our kids so that they are ready for college and career, and make college more affordable. John knows from his own incredible life experience how education can transform a child’s future.”

Before becoming Acting Secretary, Dr. King served as principal senior advisor at the Department of Education. A former teacher, principal and charter-school founder, he led New York’s state education department from 2011 to 2014. In that role, he served as chief executive officer of the State Education Department and as president of the University of the State of New York.

In a statement after the confirmation, Senate Education Committee Chairman Lamar Alexander (R-Tennessee) stated that “We need an education secretary confirmed by and accountable to the United States Senate so that the law fixing No Child Left Behind will be implemented the way Congress wrote it. This is such an important year for our nation’s 100,000 public schools. We are working to implement a new law that reverses the trend toward a national school board and restores to those closest to children the responsibility for their well-being and academic success.”

As Education Secretary Dr. King will be responsible for implementing the successor to the No Child Left Behind Act, the 2014 Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA) that governs much of K-12 public education policy. King will also be the Administration’s lead in congressional efforts to reauthorize the 1965 Higher Education Act.

Dr. King earned a Bachelor of Arts in Government from Harvard University, a Master of Arts in the teaching of social studies from Columbia University’s Teachers College, a J.D. from Yale Law School, and a Doctor of Education degree in educational administrative practice from Columbia University’s Teachers College.

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