President Obama held a press conference at the White House Friday to address his friend Arne Duncan’s resignation as Education Secretary.
“It is with some regret and sorrow that I have accepted his decision,” Obama declared.
The president said Duncan is leaving his post one year early because his family wanted to move back home to Chicago.
“I pushed Arne to stay but I also know how hard it is to be away from your family,” he said.
“He’s more than earned the right to return home.”
Obama then listed his education secretary’s accomplishments. As a result of Duncan’s efforts, Obama said more than 30 states have upped funding for early education, the high school graduation rate is at an all time high, and millions more families can afford college.
“He’s done more to bring the education system, sometimes kicking and screaming, into the 21st century,” Obama added. “He cares so much about our kids and he’s been so passionate about this work.”
The president couldn’t help, however, poking fun at his friend’s lackluster basketball skills:
“He has no hops,” Obama joked. “He knows it’s true.”
Obama then introduced John King Jr., current delegated deputy secretary, as the acting secretary. The president described him as the “right man to lead the department.”
Duncan hugged the president before stepping to the podium:
“I’ve cried more today than I have in awhile,” Duncan began.
“I’m deeply sad to be leaving,” he said, but “extremely proud” King will forward the efforts already made.
He thanked the president for his leadership and said he could “never repay” his kindness.
King spoke last and said he is looking forward to advancing the administration’s ambitious agenda.