Secretary Duncan Discusses Stimulus, Budget and Obama's Agenda: On March 24, Education Week interviewed U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan on the stimulus package, the 2010 budget and the Department of Education's plans for implementing President Obama's education agenda. Duncan vowed to work closely with states to make sure the stimulus money for education is used for the right purposes. "We are holding back billions of dollars, and if we see states doing things that don't make sense and aren't in the spirit of what this is about, they would put themselves at jeopardy in receiving that second set of money," Duncan said. The secretary stressed, however, that he is much more interested in getting things right the first time. Duncan said that one of the best parts of the administration's FY 2010 budget is the increased access to higher education. "There's more money coming into higher education than any time since the GI bill. It's a staggering resource," he said. Regarding teacher quality, the secretary argued we should do everything in our power to provide incentives, reward and help them. "But, at the end of the day if a teacher is just not making it, and, despite help, despite support, despite mentoring, is not improving, I think we owe it to our children to make a change there." Lastly, Duncan emphasized the importance of comprehensive data systems that track students throughout their educational career and enable us to "shine a spotlight on those teachers that are doing a phenomenal job of driving student achievement."
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