Senate Confirms New Education Secretary

POLITICO Pro reports that after one month of being nominated by President Obama, Dr. John King is now confirmed as the new Secretary of Education. He was approved with a 49-40 bipartisan Senate vote on Monday, March 14, 2016. King is a former teacher, principal, and charter school founder. Many senators view two of his biggest strengths being his previous work with charter schools and his dedication to raising education standards.

King won the acceptance of some of the biggest names in each party including, Mitch McConnell (R-KY) and Elizabeth Warren (D-MA). Warren was unsure of her decision to vote yay or nay until she had adequate evidence that King was taking “serious steps in the right direction.” Even George H.W. Bush administration Secretary of Education Lamar Alexander passed King’s nomination through the Senate stating “it is important to have someone confirmed and accountable.”

King’s passion for education began at a young age. Both of his parents were teachers. His father once went into work one day with a broken arm, and was told to go home. Insistent on teaching his students, King’s father shattered his cast on the desk and walked to his classroom to begin his lesson.

However, growing up was not easy for John. Both of his parents had passed away while he was still young, creating school as a refuge. King went on to graduate from Harvard, served as education commissioner of New York, and now sits on President Obama’s cabinet.

While in New York, King was in charge of introducing the new Common Core reform. Now, as Secretary of Education he is in charge of introducing the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA) to one-hundred thousand schools and fifty million students. With several high intensity projects ahead of him, King has the opportunity to leave a very impressive legacy for himself.  Congress is hoping that Dr. King can shape ESSA into how they expected No Child Left Behind would be.

King is so well liked by Congress because he actively seeks their opinions and suggestions. Politicians admire that King regularly reaches out to them and genuinely wants to address their concerns. During his term, King aims to mend the fractured relationship between the Department and teachers. President Obama believes there is “nobody better to continue leading our efforts for preschool for all, have our kids college ready, and make college more affordable.”