Duncan On Ratings And Debt

Career College Central summary:

  • Like many of his predecessors, Education Secretary Arne Duncan is known mostly as a K-12 person; that’s his background and clearly his passion, and much of the department’s work is in what happens to students before they get to college. And not surprisingly, as a result, his public speeches and statements tend to veer toward K-12 (and increasingly early education) more than higher education.
  • That made his nearly hourlong interview here at the Aspen Ideas Festival noteworthy, even if he didn’t break any terrifically new ground or touch on some of the major topics that are occupying some of his staff members right now (like the department’s negotiations to force Corinthian Colleges to sell or close its 107 campuses with 72,000 students).
  • In the capable hands of his interviewer, David Leonhardt of The New York Times, Duncan offered fairly expansive comments about the college rating system the Education Department is producing (making clear just how personal an issue this is for President Obama and how intensely focused he is on it) and the seriousness of the student debt problem — including conceding that the rhetoric about the issue sometimes fails to distinguish between good debt and bad debt.

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