Secretary Arne Duncan Takes “Listening and Learning” Tour to Orlando

Secretary Arne Duncan continued his national discussion on education reform yesterday in Orlando, Florida. He toured Lake Nona YMCA Family Center and North Lake Park Community School. He also met with YMCA President and CEO Jim Ferber, North Lake Park Principal Wendy Wagner, a student representative, elected officials, and community and business leaders.

Click here for an accessible version of the video.

Secretary Duncan launched the Listening and Learning Tour in May to get input from a broad group of stakeholders around federal education policy. To date, the tour has included stops in Colorado, Indiana, Montana, Michigan, New Jersey, West Virginia and Vermont. The goal of the tours is to solicit feedback on the No Child Left Behind Act and the Obama Administration’s education agenda, including such issues as early childhood, higher standards, teacher quality and workforce development.
ED Staff

Secretary Duncan speaks with Bob Corcoran, President of the GE Foundation. Secretary Duncan speaks with Bob Corcoran, President of the GE Foundation. Secretary Duncan speaks to the GE Foundation Summer Conference in Orlando, FL.
Secretary Duncan speaks to the GE Foundation Summer Conference in Orlando, FL. James Ferber, President  of the CentralFlorida YMCA, welcomes Secretary Duncan to Lake Nona YMCA Family Center and North Lake Park Elementary School in Orlando, FL. Secretary Duncan visits the facilities at North Lake Park Elementary School in Orlando, FL.
Secretary Duncan participates in a Listening and Learning discussion at the Lake Nona YMCA Family Center and North Lake Park Elementary School in Orlando, FL. Secretary Duncan participates in a Listening and Learning discussion at the Lake Nona YMCA Family Center and North Lake Park Elementary School in Orlando, FL. Secretary Duncan speaks to at the Lake Nona YMCA Family Center and North Lake Park Elementary School in Orlando, FL.


  1. I am a public school teacher and plan to leave the profession because we have dehumanized education.
    NCLB is all wrong.
    Please read the post below on how absurd NCLB is—–

    Edwards Demings Meets No Child Left Behind
    By Mark Kleiman

    Current appearances to the contrary notwithstanding, the health care debate will not, in fact, go on forever. One of the items on the post-health-care agenda is reauthorization of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA), as modified by the No Child Left Behind bill passed in 2002.

    One of the striking features about NCLB is the primitive evaluation mechanism it employs. It’s pure defect-finding: measuring the percentages of kids of different types who fail to achieve some standard, as measured by standardized tests. Henry Ford would recognize it. W. Edwards Deming would be appalled by it.

    Statistical quality assurance depends on sampling, not census inspection; on paying attention to the entire range of outcomes, not just whether a given outcome meets or fails to meet some standard; and on process. And it is continuous and interactive rather than purely retrospective. In Deming’s world, the purpose of quality assurance is to feed back information about processes and their outcomes to operators so the processes can be changed in real time.

    One of the reason Honda and Toyota ate General Motors’s lunch is that the Japanese car companies adopted statistical quality assurance while Detroit was still inspecting every part coming off the assembly line to see whether it was within tolerance. Why are we using those same outdated principles to manage the much more complicated problem of teaching children to read, write, and reckon?

    Applying statistical QA to education would involve:

    – Selecting a sample of students for high-quality, expensive testing rather than settling for the level of observation we can afford to do on every student.

    – Using information about the whole range of performance rather than fixating on an arbitrary cutoff.

    – Taking measurements all through the school year, not just at the end, and getting the results back to the teachers promptly.

    There’s really no excuse for running our educational system on the management principles of 1920.

    Share this post:
    Posted: Thursday, December 17th, 2009 at 11:15 pm

  2. I wish that teachers would tell the truth to Secretary Duncan and President Obama when an opportunity arises. The work load of today’s teachers is overwhelming! We need a overhaul of the education system. The average class size is 28 students to one teacher.Sometimes 30. The new schools are to small. The old schools are not structurally sound. The demands,unrealistic goals, and timelines to turn in data reports is a farce. Everyone has their own hidden agenda. We need HELP! Great teachers are walking away everyday. All we want to do is teach! Give us decent pay,smaller class sizes and full-time teacher assistants. Does anyone agree? Students have real challenges that I didn’t encounter until I was an adult. NEA what are you doing? People in the higher positions don’t really know what is going on. There has to be a better way.

  3. I have been told to put my comments on this blog and maybe I will find some like minds to work with.

    I believe that the way we teach isn’t necessarily right. What it creates is a society that if you don’t learn in the way we teach, then you are out of luck. There are many people who learn in different ways. Unfortunately because their experiences in school were negative they relate learning with something that is humiliating or uncomfortable for them. Now what would happen if the first time someone is taught something in a structured envirnment, they were taught in a way they could understand the material, and it was fun and exciting. Then learning would have a positive impression on them for life. So we would have a society of people who enjoyed learning. So if they had to change jobs and learn something new it wouldn’t be so difficult.

    I am interested in changing our education system to reflect this philosophy, is anyone willing to join me?

  4. I think the problem with U.S. schools is not the teachers but the fact that as a society, we have lost the idea that discipline and a quiet environment are requisites for learning.

    Instead, we teach children that learning has to be fun, and it’s a turn down for them when they realize that it’s not always fun – you have to work at it! But with the struggle to understand comes a new sense of self-worth when you feel you achieved something hard.

    I have to admit I am not very impressed by Duncan. I wasn’t when he was at the helm of the Chicago Public Schools. He is a bureaucrat interested in the fiscal soundness of the education system, not in its improvement. That’s why he is interested in charter and community schools – to save money.

    Improving schools requires PARENTS to check their kids are in school, are engaged, stay focused. Stop blaming schools, teachers,… the weather!

  5. It takes a village to raise a child… A culture and mantra many of us lived by for years. The question is when will there be accountability and transparency. There’s a “passing of the buck” when it comes to the education process. There is meeting behind close doors and decisions made but there is not a strong emphasis to provide definitive discipline when all does not improve. There is constant rewarding when failure exist and lack of reward when success. It is important to look deep in just how monies and resources are spent because supplanting occurs. There must be a redirective focus to strengthen parent and community involvement, making it a requirement… the word must needs to be insert in the reautho in every area for parent involvement including district advisory committees. The job of parents is not one that is frequently honored and it is time to change that. The village begins with the children the parents brought into this earth, let’s honor that profession.

  6. Community schools are excellent…and have been implemented in many places. Some districts also partner with Boys and Girls Clubs as well as high school districts and local colleges to support children across all grade levels.

    This is one aspect of school reform that should be enhanced and proliferated through increased Ed. Dept. support and dollars.

  7. I am glad that Secretary Duncan is giving us real examples of how the community schools approach works in diverse communities across the country.

    Community schools are taking root all across the country – from Portland, Oregon to Evansville, Indiana to New York City – and many more places. Research shows that the community schools approach works in improving student performance, increasing daily attendance, reducing school violence, increasing parental engagement – and of course – reducing the high school dropout rate and increasing graduation rates. Secretary Duncan understands the benefits of the community schools model very well. While traveling the country, he notes, “The more our schools truly become the centers of community life, the better our students are going to do.”

    Partnerships are at the core of the community schools model. Community schools that partner with community based organizations and institutions of higher education to provide an array of supports to children, families, and communities are the only way we will be able to break down barriers to learning so that our nation’s youth can succeed both academically and in life.

    With the help of Secretary Duncan’s leadership, I hope that states and LEA’s will recognize the importance of community schools and see the Race to the Top funds as an opportunity to implement this strategy. These funds offer a prime opportunity for innovation and reform. We must take advantage of and use them to implement and support community schools. Doing this is a sure step towards making transformational change in our schools. Visit for more information.

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