(Via Ho’okele News)
Story and photo by SrA Christopher Stoltz
Joint Base Pearl Harbor-Hickam Public Affairs
United States Secretary of Education Arne Duncan visited Joint Base Pearl Harbor-Hickam on March 30 and held a discussion panel addressing the issues facing today’s military-connected students, particularly those related to their high mobility.
This visit marks the 50th state Duncan has visited during his tenure as secretary of education and the first visit by an education secretary to Hawaii in about 20 years, according to the U.S. Department of Education.
Duncan, along with Army Brig. Gen. Todd B. McCaffrey, 25th Infantry division command group deputy commander; Cathe Robling, Marine Corps Forces Pacific family readiness program advisor; and Ronn Nozoe, Hawaii Department of Education deputy superintendent; answered pre-submitted questions along with ones from the audience.
One of the popular questions Duncan and the panel addressed was the difference in educational standards between duty stations for students forced to move due to a permanent change of station.
“Raising the standards is an objective we have accomplished in 46 states,” he said. “However, ensuring the individual states uphold those standards is something we are working on.
We want to challenge the country to have higher standards, so all children are actually prepared for college-level classes once they complete high school.”
Duncan also addressed the issue of expenses of education for states struggling to support their educational systems.
“There are many places that look at education as nothing but an expense and not an investment,” he said.
“Our children deserve a world-class education and should be able to learn anytime, anywhere. Regardless of where a child lives, they have a right to learn. It is our job to make that investment and provide our children what they rightfully deserve,” Duncan said.
Another question the panel discussed was concerning the issue of classes not properly preparing students for education after high-school.
“One of the toughest issues we are running into these days in education is being ‘dumbed down’ for children,” Duncan said. “When standards are lower, it’s good for politicians. But it is horrible for our children and even worse for our future.”
Duncan expanded on this topic by stating the United States of America needs to be a leader on the forefront of education.
“Providing children the option to learn coding is something we are looking into,” he said. “With careers in the tech industry booming, the future is leading toward a world where knowing this language will be commonplace. We need to be a leader, not a follower. We need to lead the pack, or else we are going to be playing catch up.”