Education Secretary Arne Duncan is leaving his post this December just one year short of the end of his term, reports the Associated Press.
BREAKING: WASHINGTON (AP) _ AP sources: Education Secretary Arne Duncan to step down in December.— AP Politics (@AP_Politics) October 2, 2015
In a letter to his staff, Duncan announced he is heading home to Chicago to be with family.
John King Jr., the current delegated deputy secretary, will replace Duncan as acting secretary until the president nominates someone new.
The president will hold a press conference Friday afternoon on the sudden transition.
Duncan was one of the leading promoters of the largely unpopular Common Core. One of his most controversial defenses of the program was targeted toward “white suburban moms” suddenly realized “their child isn’t as brilliant as they thought they were, and their school isn’t quite as good as they thought they were.”
Other initiatives Duncan took the lead on during his tenure included Race to the Top, an education reform effort that put “state-level innovation at center stage,” and helping secure increases to the Pell grant program.
One factor to consider in Duncan's decision, is John Boehner's resignation. Duncan admitted that the Speaker's exit spells bad news for the No Child Left Behind Act:
"I'm very concerned with Speaker Boehner stepping down, that the odds of it being fixed went down, not up," Duncan said Thursday at the 2015 Washington Ideas Forum. "To get to a good bill that the president can support, it has to be a bipartisan bill that stays strong on accountability and helps us turn around underperforming schools. … I really, really, really hope and pray I'm wrong, but I think it's difficult for the next leader to work in a bipartisan way given the pressure of the extreme right."