Next Monday, President Barack Obama will visit Joplin, Mo, almost one year to the day after a devastating tornado ripped through the center of the city, destroying countless homes and the lives of more than 160 people.
Thursday on Up to Date, Steve Kraske talks with U.S. Department of Education Secretary Arne Duncan about how Joplin's schools reconstructed a learning environment after the disaster, and what he expects the President to say when he addresses the Joplin High School graduating class of 2012.
We'll also ask Secretary Duncan if the down economy has hindered his attempts to bring the kind of change of America's schools that he had hoped for, the disparity between very good schools and not-so-good schools, and the Obama administration's modifications to "No Child Left Behind."
Arne Duncan became the U.S. Secretary of Education in 2009. Teaching runs in Duncan's family: his mother, Sue Duncan, runs an independent early-learning center for children on Chicago's South Side, and his father was a professor at the University of Chicago. Arne Duncan went to Harvard University, where he was co-captain of the basketball team before graduating with a sociology degree in 1987. He played pro basketball in Australia from 1987-91. He then returned to Chicago and in 1992, along with his sister, helped create Ariel Community Academy, a new charter public school which he ran for six years. He became director of the magnet school program for Chicago Public Schools in 1998 and in 2001 was named chief executive officer -- the equivalent of superintendent -- of Chicago's public schools. His friend and fellow Chicagoan, Barack Obama, was elected president in 2008 and then named Duncan as Secretary of Education. You'll find Secretary Duncan's official bio here.