December 16, 2008 / 4:45 PM / 11 years ago

Obama names Chicago school head as education secretary

CHICAGO, Dec 16 (Reuters) - President-elect Barack Obama chose the Harvard-educated chief executive of Chicago Public Schools as his secretary of education on Tuesday, selecting a reformer who has confronted teachers unions and held schools accountable for performance.

Obama named Arne Duncan, a longtime friend with whom he often plays basketball, as secretary of education during a news conference in Chicago.

Duncan has been head of Chicago Public Schools, the nation’s third largest school district, since 2001. The current education secretary, Margaret Spelling, has called Duncan a “visionary” school leader and reformer who would be a “great choice” to run the U.S. Department of Education.

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