Meet John King, Acting Secretary of Education

meetjohnking

Every New Year offers the chance for each of us to set new personal goals to make us healthier, happier, or more productive. In 2016, I hope you’ll join me as I recommit myself to ensuring that every child in America—regardless of background or circumstance—has access to an excellent education.

I’m honored and humbled by the opportunity President Obama has given me to build on the many accomplishments he and my friend Arne Duncan have achieved over the past seven years.

Education always has been a focal point in my life—both my parents were New York City public school educators. My father was a teacher and a principal. My mother was a teacher and guidance counselor. When I was 8, my mother passed away.  I then lived with my father who was suffering from undiagnosed Alzheimer’s disease and passed away when I was 12.

After that, I moved around between family members and schools. Home was an unpredictable and often scary place. But school, and the remarkable teachers who believed in my potential, offered me a safe haven. Because of them, I went on to become a high school social studies teacher, a middle school principal, and a state education commissioner—and now I have the tremendous privilege to serve you in this new role.

Watch a short video introduction from John King (Español)

Over the past seven years, we’ve made a lot of progress. More students than ever are being taught to college- and career-ready standards; dropout rates are at historic lows and graduation rates at all-time highs; and high quality preschool and higher education are within reach for more families.

But there is a lot more work to do. Our efforts in 2016 must be measured by the progress we make toward educational opportunity for all—so that no child’s fate is left to luck, no student’s destiny defined by circumstances.

In the weeks to come, I’ll be traveling across the country to visit with folks like you—students, parents, teachers, principals and community leaders—to highlight what’s working and hear about the challenges and opportunities that lie ahead.

I’ll also be asking you to help us accelerate progress in more classrooms.

In the meantime, please follow me on Twitter @JohnKingatED and ask me a question anytime using #AskJohnKing. Here’s wishing you a wonderful New Year!

17 Comments

  1. I am excited to hear about how standardized testing will play a role or not in the education of our students. The hours spent testing our students takes away so many valuable resources including support staff and daily teaching. I am the ESL teacher at a school or 700 Prek-6th grade students. We have 500 students to administer ACCESS testing to. This takes me out of the classroom supporting my ESL students for over a month. In the meantime our teachers are giving Fountas and Pinnell tests along with the NWEA MAP tests. One of the largest challenges is that we have sooo much data teachers are not even sure which data point to use when planning instruction.

    I am all for data driven instruction but what ever happened to formative assessments?

    THis is one of the largest challenges teachers are facing right now.

  2. Dr. King, As a concerned citizen, I fear that we, as a nation, have for far too long missed the opportunity to introduce students to chemistry and physics while they are young enough to enjoy exploring the mysteries of the subatomic world. Instead we wait until they are 15 or 16 years old when they have lots of other things on their minds and they couldn’t care less about atoms or chemical elements, just like Walter White’s can’t-be-bothered chemistry students in “Breaking Bad.” So, today, I propose to you, sir, an educational initiative that I call “Learning About Atoms Early In Life.” So that you may see with your own eyes what I’m going on about, please allow me to share with you this link — http://www.atomickids.org — to the Atomic Kids tiny website. At the very bottom of the website there is a short, remarkable video which features a combined 3rd-4th grade, hands-on, atomic theory science class. The video reveals that young children have much more advanced minds than we traditionally expect and that they clearly have the capacity to absorb atomic theory when it is presented to them in an interesting, hands-on manner. By continuing to refuse America’s young children an education appropriate to their capacities, we are potentially denying our civilization its next generation of innovators who can push the frontiers of knowledge forward. I think this nation should commit itself to providing a strong atomic theory science curriculum in all of its elementary schools so that all of our nation’s young students can have the opportunity to learn their first grappling holds on the fundamental knowledge of the realms of atoms and molecules, energy and matter, and space and time, and the enormous powers we find there. I hope you will consider my remarks in a constructive light and inform me of your thoughts regarding this important matter. Thank you. Bill Edwards, Kernersville, NC

  3. Congratulations Dr. King, and thank you for bringing your experience and high achievement to this position. In reading the history of your educational experience, I am personally very inspired to achieve more in bringing educational opportunities to others, and think that feeling is shared by many others that are reading this news release on your appointment.
    With hope and supporting wishes to bring you much more success in promoting higher education,
    Greg Brown

  4. Dear Acting Secretary! Being a long-term immigrant physician a recent GMU graduate with a master’s certificate in global and community health I wanted a speed up MPH from George Washington University. The admission office and Provost cannot override my 6 years of overseas professional and 4 years graduate level education in Virginia for GRE waiver. Perhaps, it was biased and arrogant attitude towards Russian aging immigrant. Now I understand the grevances and inability of the Chinese students to get into Harvard! Elite schools are mostly for upper middle class, out of site spoiled brats!

  5. May I please have Mr. J. King’s email address to inform him of an extraordinary student we have here at Bloom Trail High School, Chicago Heights, IL?

    Thanks
    J. Schaefer

  6. Thank you Mr. King for such inspiring story. I am committed to make a difference in the lives of each and every student of our SSS program and the college.
    I look forward to a year of mutual collaboration and great success.

    Ruben Carrion

  7. Hello Mr. King :
    Your story was amazing and uplifting at the unspoken challenges one faces when natural parents are deceased or emotionally unavailable.
    I have a broad l background my interest are in food critic internship for healthy living . Can you advise me. Thank you

  8. I look forward to the work, Mr. King. As a School Counselor I love your message that no student’s destiny will be defined by their circumstances. Here, here!
    Samantha Haviland, Denver Public Schools, CO

  9. Thanks Mr. King for sharing your story. I am a high school mentor coordinator who works with at-risk youth. I love helping students believe.
    Sincerely thanks, Carolyn

  10. Hello Dr. King, Great to know that you are leading the department now. Have you had a chance to consider coming to California to keynote our Superintendent’s Symposium on January 27th or 28th? All 1,000 California superintendents will be in attendance and would love to hear your important message as we all transform education for the 21st Century and beyond. Thank you for your consideration. Darryl

    I happily share your messages to all the I connect with. Happy New Year!

  11. Hi John–it is so pleasing, and important for our country, to see you in your position. Good luck navigating the shoals of edupolitics! Bob

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  12. I’ve seen your record in New York State of how you handled issues regarding the common core state standards. The parents and teachers of New York are highly representative of the parents and teachers of the entire United States of America and we are not fooled by the true agenda to dumb down our children and push parents out of education. Common Core is an insult to human intelligence and David Coleman is a hack. What an honor! HA!

  13. My name is Metwalli Abdelsalam, I was teaching for more than 7 years at one of the best Universities in Chicago… It is my pleasure to meet John King, Acting Secretary of Education to talk about some of the Political Local policies that might affect education very badly …
    I prepared a new program regarding one of the most recent topics in Business Education… and the dean was very happy with it… but unfortunately, after almost one month they apologized because the university budget had been cut by 30% by the new Mayer’s decision … that’s why they cannot offer my new program because it needs some money to be offered in the right way… I was shocked because this is not America that I know… and Education should be the right tool that promote and increase the national income in the short and long run… not all the way around….
    So, please take an action regarding this issue because it doesn’t work for Education… and the new generations… I am saying this because we should love “US” as much as we love “US”…”Ourselves” and this is what my little son “7 years old” said when I asked him “Mansour what is US? he said US is us… I told him how come? he said I know that US means United States… but I just read it US is US.. because this is the real meaning…:)

    Also, I, almost finished, preparing a new 2 levels program for our kids from age 5 to 12 years and I hope to have an opportunity to talk to your honor about it…
    Thank you

  14. My name is Metwalli Abdelsalam, I was teaching for more than 7 years at one of the best Universities in Chicago… It is my pleasure to meet John King, Acting Secretary of Education to talk about some of the Political Local policies that might affect education very badly … I prepared a new program regarding one of the most recent topics in Business Education… and the dean was very happy with it… but unfortunately, after almost one month they apologized because the university budget had been cut by 30% by the new Mayer … that’s why they cannot offer my new program because it needs some money to be done in the right way… I was shocked because this is not America that I know… and Education should be the right tool that promote and increase the national income… not all the way around…. So, please take an action regarding this issue because it doesn’t work for Education… and the new generations… I am saying this because we should love “US” as much as we love “US”… and this is what my little son “7 years old” said when I asked him “Mansour what is US? he said US is us… I told him how come? he said I know that US means United States… but I just read it U.S. is US.. because this is the real meaning…
    Thank you

  15. Loan Forgiveness for those students who graduated into the Great Recession,followed with years of unemployment,part time jobs and an
    inability to live with loan debt exceeding 75,000 ie Bachelor’s in Stem Program and MBA all falling under White House Initiatives for Hispanic Students.

  16. Thanks for publishing our goals for the year. I am new to the Education Department and have also been an educator in my career. My son (Howard IV) is a Principal at Lafayette High School in Williams burg, Virginia. He would love to have you visit if that is possible with your busy schedule. I work in Cyber Security but have a Masters in Education from USC.

    Howard

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