Last updated on: 2/7/2017 | Author:

Arne Duncan Biography

Former US Secretary of Education
Pro to the question "Should Tablets Replace Textbooks in K-12 Schools?"

“Educators are challenged to satisfy the learning needs of today’s diversity of students while meeting the increasingly complex definition of what it means to be educated in the 21st Century… The digital textbooks envisioned will come in an ever-evolving variety of technological and instructional variations to meet diverse educational needs and interests. But they will all have in common digital devices with access to rich, interactive, and personalized content that will encompass the primary tool set in digital learning. No longer will students have to tote 50 pound backpacks with outdated print textbooks. New digital textbooks will be light digital devices – such as a laptop or tablet – that combine Internet connectivity, interactive and personalized content, learning videos and games, and other creative applications to enable collaboration with other students while providing instantaneous feedback to the student and teacher. Digital textbooks can revolutionize teaching and are not simply the digital form of static textbooks.”

Cowritten with Julius Genachowski, “Digital Textbook Playbook,”, Feb. 1, 2012

Involvement and Affiliations:
  • US Secretary of Education, Jan. 20, 2009-Dec. 2015
  • Chief Executive Officer (CEO), Chicago Public Schools, June 2001-Dec. 2008
  • Recipient, Motorola Excellence in Public Service Award, Civic Federation of Chicago, 2008
  • Recipient of the following awards: the Niagara Foundation’s Education Award, the National Foundation for Teaching Entrepreneurship Enterprising Educator Award, and the University High School Distinguished Alumni Award, 2007
  • City Club of Chicago named him Citizen of the Year, 2006
  • Member, Aspen Institute’s Henry Crown Fellowship Program, class of 2002
  • Director, Ariel Education Initiative, 1992-1998
  • Fellow, Leadership Greater Chicago’s class of 1995
  • Former Board Member: Ariel Education Initiative, Chicago Cares, the Children’s Center, the Golden Apple Foundation, the Illinois Council Against Handgun Violence, Jobs for America’s Graduates, Junior Achievement, the Dean’s Advisory Board of the Kellogg School of Management, the National Association of Basketball Coaches’ Foundation, Renaissance Schools Fund, Scholarship Chicago, and the South Side YMCA
  • Recipient, Honorary Degrees, Illinois Institute of Technology, Lake Forest College and National-Louis University
  • Former Volunteer, Phillips Brooks House Association
  • BA, magna cum laude, Sociology, Harvard University, 1986
  • Is married to Karen Duncan and has two children, daughter Claire, 8, and son Ryan, 5
  • Played professional basketball in Australia with the Eastside Spectres, 1987-1991
  • Former Co-captain of Harvard’s basketball team and was named a first team Academic All-American
  • His late father was a professor at the University of Chicago and his mother has run a South Side tutoring program for inner-city children since 1961
  • Born Nov. 6, 1964
Quoted in:
Pro & Con Quotes: Should Tablets Replace Textbooks in K-12 Schools?