Duncan Takes to Twitter to Answer Your Questions

(Official Department of Education Photo by Paul Wood)

During the past week, thousands of Twitter users submitted questions to Secretary Duncan for his first-ever #AskArne Twitter Town Hall, and the difficult task of choosing the questions for Arne fell to the event’s moderator, journalist John Merrow. Merrow monitored #AskArne tweets throughout the week and even gave one last look through the steady stream of questions just moments before the camera went live.

Merrow asked Secretary Duncan tough questions covering a broad range of topics, including: standardized testing, cheating, performance pay for educators, and whether Arne truly listens to teachers.

Many Twitter users asked Arne about testing, and whether students are taking too many tests at school.

@pureparents: #AskArne: What specifically will you do to decrease the amount of and emphasis on standardized testing in the US?

Secretary Duncan answered:

@usedgov: Where you have too many tests, or are spending too much time on test prep, that doesn’t lead to good results. #AskArne

@usedgov: Fill-in-the-bubble tests should be a tiny % of what we’re doing. I’m a big fan of formative assessments–more helpful to teachers. #AskArne

A few Twitter users such as Richard wondered if Arne listens to teachers.

@Thanks2Teachers: #AskArne Do you truly LISTEN to the voices & concerns of teachers and parents? Hope this isn’t a hollow public relations exercise.

Duncan explained to Merrow:

@usedgov: I listen to teachers daily, in visits to schools, in mtgs @ ED and through our teaching ambassadors. Visited hundreds of schools. #askarne

Several Twitter users inquired about the Secretary’s stand on school vouchers:

@thefooshshow: #AskArne Heritage Fndn sz vouchers most viable way to *dismantle* pub #education. Will u unequivcbly take v off table?

Duncan responds:

@usedgov: Duncan: I will never support school vouchers. They take $ away from public system. I want great PUBLIC schools in this country. #AskArne

(Official Department of Education Photo by Paul Wood)

During the town hall, Secretary Duncan noted that he’s still a Twitter “novice” and he looks forward to future chats and to engaging with teachers online. If you missed the town hall, you can watch the archived video here, and you can see a more comprehensive list of questions and answers through ED’s Twitter page.

To keep up-to-date on all things ED, follow @ArneDuncan, @usedgov, @ED_Outreach, @EDPressSec on Twitter, or click here to see all of ED’s social media accounts.


  1. I would love for Secretary Duncan to explain to the public why so many schools districts want access to the 20% set aside that SES tutoring provides. States are going to be asking for waivers on SES tutoring. The issue with SES is one of control. Does the public want the school districts to control the 20% or does the public want the parents to continue to control those funds. If the waiver takes place, low-income parents have no way of knowing if the 20% will be targeted at the same students that SES tutoring does, and they have no way of knowing if they will regain the same options and POWER that SES provides. I asked many questions that relate to SES on behalf of the many low-income parents I services, and the Secretary did not address them. Low-income parents have right to know what the Secretary is planning when it comes to limiting their child’s educational options. Thank you.

  2. Why are you not showing strong support for the TRIO programs? President Obama
    is so strong in his intention to increase the Pell Grant awards, but what does that do when a student from disadvantaged background is not prepared for college? TRIO is the best program to prepare disadvantaged students to enroll in a postsecondary education. Did you know that? If not, why not.

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