U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan Visits Classical Magnet

Spotlight on Excellence     June 2013


U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan Visits Classical Magnet

JMA Reporters Ashon Advent and Shamoya Hanson join US Secretary of Education, Arne Duncan.
(Story reprinted from Achieve Hartford's May 30th, 2013 Education Matters Newsletter)

More than a Photo Opp:  Thoughtful Gun Violence Questions
Raised by Students, Including Two Future Teachers


When U.S. Education Secretary Arne Duncan and Gov. Dannel Malloy took questions on school safety issues from Bulkeley High, Classical Magnet and West Middle School students last Friday, the “post-Newtown hall” turned out to be much more than a forgettable photo opp. The students brought sophisticated questions –and that’s what made the event worthwhile.

The program, moderated by Superintendent Christina Kishimoto, was “one of the most attentive student programs I’ve ever been to,” Gov. Malloy told the students. “The quality of the questions just knocked it out of the park.”

Secretary Duncan agreed, praising the “thoughtfulness, complexity, and nuance” of what he said was a fantastic discussion– much better than the interchanges he usually has with adults.

Here’s a glimpse of what the students asked:

After the Virginia Tech, Aurora, and Newtown massacres, why should we expect change?

Sec. Duncan, who as head of the Chicago schools experienced the death of a student every two weeks, lamented the “staggeringly predictable and staggeringly continuous” loss of life to gun violence.

To this question, he replied,
“You can’t expect things to change. You have to demand things will change.”

How can the youngest children best be helped to understand the danger of gun violence without being controlled by fear?

Here, the student-driven discussion at Classical delved into the
unanswerable realm.

“There are no easy answers” to that balance, Secretary Duncan said.

Will increased spending on school safety affect the availability of scholarship aid for college students?

Secretary Duncan explained that separate funds are being proposed for school safety and emphasized the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (
FAFSA) program and the many other options and opportunities that are out there.

With all the focus on prospective gun regulation, what is being done about the guns already out there?

The governor gave a rundown on Connecticut’s new law requiring registration of high capacity magazines and universal background checks.

Here is the Courant article on the town hall meeting.


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