Duncan Addresses Gun Violence in New “Ask Arne” Video Series

As a teacher and a parent, what our nation’s education leaders think, really matters to me. And with Secretary of Education Arne Duncan about to begin a second term, it matters even more.

Today, we’re excited to announce the launch of a new #AskArne video interview series, where the Secretary addresses the hot topics and burning questions in education today. In light of the President’s announcement to address gun violence, the first episode, titled “Free from Fear,” focuses on gun violence, school safety, and out of school factors influencing student achievement.

For the #AskArne videos, the questions for the Secretary will be derived from feedback the Department receives via social media and through the outreach of EDs Teaching Ambassador Fellows.

The Fellows, who work for the Department for a year, play a key role in connecting with educators and other stakeholders around the country, and then connecting voices from the field with top federal policymakers, including Secretary Duncan. As an explanation, this year I am on sabbatical from teaching at The SEED Public Charter School of Washington, D.C. to work full-time at ED as part of this year’s team of Teaching Ambassador Fellows.

I hope you find this clip from our first interview informative and interesting, and with your feedback, we’re looking forward to future installments that will address the Department’s 2013 agenda and the topics that are on the minds of teachers, parents, students and stakeholders.

Submit your ideas and questions for future #AskArne episodes on Twitter, on Arne’s Facebook page or in the comments below.

Click here for an alternate version of the video with an accessible player.

Dan Brown is a Teaching Ambassador Fellow at the U.S. Department of Education for the 2012-13 school year. He is a National Board Certified Teacher at The SEED Public Charter School of Washington, D.C.

Also, the Teaching Ambassador Fellowship is now accepting applications for its 2013-2014 cohort. More information can be found here.


  1. Ed – Thank you for your thoughtful comment and your dedication to keeping our communities safe.

    Kelsey Donohue
    Office of Communications and Outreach

  2. Supported by the IDEA Partnership, in collaboration with the Georgetown University Center for School Mental Health, for the past decade a group of education and mental health professionals have been promoting implementation of school wide PBIS, and school mental health, in our schools as an effective climate and social/emotional/behavioral health support system for prevention and support of all students. These practices have pretty good track records. It seems like it’s time to integrate children’s mental health services with public education, and expand implementation of these practices. I agree with your notion of the school as hub of the community. This would be one specific way to push that.

    As tragic as the deaths of those young students in Newtown are, there are quieter tragedies that march on daily with kids who underperform and live lives of sadness. The dramatic stories deservedly get lots of attention, but the quieter stories are there as well.

  3. For some reason it feels like these school shootings are not going to go away, possibly because of the breakdown of the American Family. It also seems like putting armed guards in schools would not be fiscally responsible for many communities. What about putting tasers in select areas of schools , have some type of door jam armour for the classrooms, and have clear training for all faculty members. Maybe we can minimize the loss of the innocence.

  4. I thought the Secretary did a superb job of relating gun violence to all the other issues- poverty, health, fear- that prevent young children from thriving in school. Americans, in general, need to hear such analysis and commentary.
    However, I would like to raise an issue with the Secretary. It is the strange absence of educational organization when it comes to supporting common sense and constitutional initiatives to reduce the possibility of future Newtowns, such as the President and Vice-president are advocating.
    I wrote to my state senator, Bruce Tarr (R), who represents most of Essex County, Massachusetts asking him if any school committee or teachers organization in his senatorial district had contacted him subsequent to Newtown urging him to support Governor Patrick’s recommendations to enhance the Massachusetts gun laws. He wrote back that none had.

    As a result, I contacted my own school committee in Ipswich, MA urging the members to contact our representatives at the Syaye House and in Congress. I pointed out that silence was tantamount to putting their support behind the NRA.

    I urge you to use your bully pulpit to start a drive to get educators as individuals and through their organizations to contact the representatives on the gun violence issue. I am sure that if legislators heard first-hand from teachers that they want rational, constitutional action end to reduce the possibility of future Newtowns , it would have an impact.

    The Secretary needs to act quickly as the local gun clubs are already organizing to make shooting a team soort at the high school level and later at the middle and elementary levels.

    Thanks for you excellent service to the kids of America,

    Ed Traverso

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