Secretary of Education Arne Duncan spoke at the National Press Club Tuesday and addressed the Chicago teachers’ strike. Duncan, who was CEO of Chicago public schools from 2001 to 2009, declared the union’s action a success.
“I honestly think everybody won. No one wanted the strike, teachers didn’t want that, the administration didn’t want that,” said Duncan.
The strikes caused a nationwide controversy as students were unable to attend school for over a week.
“At the end of the day,” Duncan said, “they got to a contract that, I think, was very fair and respected teachers and valued them as professionals.”
Chicago teachers are among the highest paid teachers in the country and work school days that are among the nation’s shortest.
Duncan also fielded questions about length of school days and an increased focus on science, technology, engineering and mathematics in classrooms, saying “textbooks should become obsolete.”
Reporters raised questions about what the future of the American education system would look like under Mitt Romney; Duncan said while the Obama administration views education as an investment, the Romney campaign sees it as an expense.