Election Day tradition: Game of hoops
FILE/President Obama plays basketball with personal aide Reggie Love and Secretary of Education Arne Duncan in May 2010.
November 6th, 2012
05:25 PM ET

Election Day tradition: Game of hoops

In keeping with an Election Day tradition, President Obama took time out of his day to get in a game of hoops at a gym near his home in Chicago. The game, organized by the president's former personal aide Reggie Love, took place at the Attack Athletic facility about ten miles from the Obamas' house in the Kenwood neighborhood.

Among the players, former Chicago Bulls Scottie Pipen and Randy Brown and former Illinois state treasurer and 2010 Democratic Senate nominee Alexi Giannoulias. Giannoulias gave few details over Twitter of the game and later talked to a reporter in the president's travel pool.

According to Giannoulias, Obama was the player-coach of his team of five and his team won by "like 20", with a score of "like 102, 105, 108 or so to 80-something." Each team had substitutes and referees were present to call fouls.

“It was a lot of fun,” Giannoulias said. “We won. I scored more points than Scottie Pippen, which was my dream come true.”

He also said the president "played very well" but declined to say how many points he scored.

Education Secretary Arne Duncan, Obama friend Marty Nesbitt, the president's brother-in-law Craig Robinson and White House chef Sam Kass were also among the players.

The tradition of playing basketball on Election Day has been a staple of the president's routine since the Iowa caucuses in 2008. He didn't play on the day of the New Hampshire primary and Hillary Clinton won so he's made it a priority of playing on every Election Day since.


Topics: 2012 Election • Arne Duncan • Basketball • Reggie Love
Political squabbling over student loans continues
College students stand behind Pres. Obama and Secretary of Education Arnie Duncan in the East Room of the White House as the president calls on Congress to stop interest rates on student loans from doubling.
June 21st, 2012
04:46 PM ET

Political squabbling over student loans continues

WASHINGTON (CNN) - With time running out for Congress to prevent a doubling of interest rates on federal student loans, the White House and Republican leaders exchanged accusations Thursday on who was to blame for the lack of an agreement.

President Barack Obama chided Republicans for holding up a deal with unreasonable demands, and he urged college students to continue raising their voices on the issue.

However, spokesmen for Republican leaders in the House and Senate denied an assertion by press secretary Jay Carney that the White House has been working with them to try to reach a deal.

Asked about GOP complaints that the White House has not reached out to Republicans on the issue in recent days, Carney said that "we are actively working with members of Congress to get this done," adding, "in both parties."

Spokesmen for House Speaker John Boehner, R-Ohio, and Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Kentucky, disputed Carney's account.

On the Senate floor, McConnell accused Obama and Democrats of playing political games on the issue.

"It is the Democrat-led Senate that has failed to act and the president who has failed to contribute to a solution, and the reason is obvious," McConnell said. "It was reported yesterday that the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee is launching a website with a student loan countdown clock aimed at raising money off this issue. The implication is that Republicans are the ones dragging their feet. "


White House pushes for more disclosure on student loans
U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan speaks at the press briefing of the White House on April 20.
June 5th, 2012
02:05 PM ET

White House pushes for more disclosure on student loans

NEW YORK (CNNMoney) - The Obama administration announced a push to have colleges make better disclosures to students about the true cost of loans, as well as graduation and loan default rates at each school.

Vice President Joseph Biden, Education Secretary Arne Duncan and Richard Cordray, director of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, were set to meet Tuesday with presidents of 10 colleges that have committed to providing more detailed disclosure information to incoming students at the start of next school year.

The Obama administration officials at the meeting will later call on all colleges and universities to make the same disclosures.

The information to be provided by the 10 schools includes how much one year of college will cost, financial aid options to pay this cost, and net costs after grants and scholarships are taken into account.

They will also give students estimated monthly payments for the federal student loans the student would likely owe after graduation; and comparative information about the rates at which students enroll from one year to the next, graduate, and repay their loans without defaulting.


Could No Child Left Behind be history?
President Obama tours a graphic design classroom during a visit to the Fort Hayes Arts and Academic High School in Columbus, Ohio earlier this month. Friday, the president will outline new guidelines for schools that want to opt out of the controversial No Child Left Behind law.
September 22nd, 2011
06:25 PM ET

Could No Child Left Behind be history?

Ten years after the Bush administration’s landmark attempt to revamp the nation's education system with the No Child Left Behind law, President Obama is poised to allow states to opt out of the heavily criticized guidelines.

Friday, President Obama will announce that his administration will begin reviewing states' applications to waive the No Child Left Behind requirements in return for tangible commitments to close achievement gaps.

The law, which passed with broad bipartisan support in 2001, required public schools to meet targets aimed at making all students proficient in reading and math by 2014 or face stiff penalties.  As that deadline looms, the Department of Education has predicted up to 82% of the nation's schools could miss the target and face those penalties including the possibility of losing federal education dollars.

"Today the law is hurting children by denying the children most at risk the resources they really need," a senior administration official told reporters on a conference call Thursday. FULL POST

Education Secretary wants NCAA March Madness reforms
March 17th, 2011
07:12 PM ET

Education Secretary wants NCAA March Madness reforms

WASHINGTON (CNN) – March Madness could have a whole new meaning if the Department of Education gets its way. The US Department of Education is calling on the NCAA to ban teams that don't graduate a majority of their players.

Secretary of Education Arne Duncan backed a call by the Knight Commission on Intercollegiate Athletics to ban schools who graduate less than 50% of their players from tournament play and to restructure the revenue distribution for teams with failing rates.  

“If you can’t manage to graduate half of your players, how serious is the institution- the coach and the program about the players’ academic success?” Duncan said in a conference call with reporters on Thursday.

In a report released by the Knight Commission on Thursday, 10 out of the 68 teams in this year’s March Madness are not on pace to graduate more than half of their players and a large discrepancy exists between the graduation rates for white and black players at some schools. FULL POST

Topics: Arne Duncan • NCAA • The News
Obama pushes No Child Left Behind
March 14th, 2011
12:03 PM ET

Obama pushes No Child Left Behind

WASHINGTON (CNN) -  President Barack Obama called Monday for Congress to pass education reforms by the time students return to school next fall, telling a Virginia middle school that fixing problems in the Elementary and Secondary Education Act - more commonly known as "No Child Left Behind" - should be a top priority.

"In the 21st century, it's not enough to leave no child behind. We need to help every child get ahead," Obama said, urging Congress "to send me an education reform bill I can sign into law before the next school year begins."

Mindful of the budget debate currently enveloping Washington , Obama insisted that education funding must remain robust because it was vital to the nation's future success.

"We cannot cut education," Obama said, noting that families facing tough times cut back on vacation or movies or eating out, rather than dipping into savings for a child's college tuition. "A budget that sacrifices our children's education will be a budget that sacrifices our country's future." FULL POST

White House conference tackles bullying
March 10th, 2011
05:16 AM ET

White House conference tackles bullying

WASHINGTON (CNN) - President Barack Obama and first lady Michele Obama will host the first-ever White House Conference on Bullying Prevention Thursday.

"For a long time bullying was treated as an unavoidable part of growing up but more and more we're seeing how harmful it can be for our kids, especially when it follows them from their school to their phone to their computer screen," the president said in a video promoting the event.

An anti-bullying PSA released online in January declares that more than six-million schoolchildren experienced bullying in the past six months.  As parents of two teenage girls, the issue resonates with the president and first lady.

"I spend a lot of time talking to them about putting themselves in other people's shoes and seeing through other people's eyes," Obama said at a town hall, hosted by BET and MTV, in October 2010. "And if somebody is different from you, that's not something you criticize, that's something that you appreciate."


Changing the way kids learn: a presidential vision
March 8th, 2011
06:00 AM ET

Changing the way kids learn: a presidential vision

BOSTON, Massachusetts (CNN) - It’s like many schools in heavily urban areas: there are metal detectors, the neighborhood is poorer than many and 90 percent of the students qualify for free or subsidized lunches.

But there’s a real difference at TechBoston Academy in the Dorchester neighborhood of Boston, Massachusetts. At this school an average of 95 percent of the students are routinely accepted into college.

Headmaster Mary Skipper has overseen this pilot model public school since it was opened back in 2002 as a partnership between the public school system, private business and philanthropy.

“It’s a total team effort,” Skipper told CNN. “It starts with having quality teachers who are committed and hard-working.”


Topics: Arne Duncan • Education • President Obama • The News
History class gets presidential surprise
President Obama and Australian Prime Minister Julia Gillard visiting a high school history class in Virginia.
March 7th, 2011
02:58 PM ET

History class gets presidential surprise

WASHINGTON (CNN) - The often separate worlds of U.S. foreign and domestic policy merged for a few minutes in Arlington, Virginia Monday afternoon when President Obama and visiting Australian Prime Minister Julia Gillard mad an unannounced visit to an 11th grade history class.

Gillard, a former education minister in Australia, made the trip across the Potomac with Obama to Wakefield High School where the two spoke with students in Collette Fraley’s class. They took questions from the students with topics ranging from the recent floods in Australia, the state of basketball there, to establishing what Vegemite tastes like. Gillard also gave the students a “kind of pop quiz” about Australia.

Education Secretary Arne Duncan, who once played semi-professional basketball in Australia, accompanied the two as well.

Topics: Arne Duncan • Education • President Obama • The News
Eyes on education at the White House in coming weeks
March 1st, 2011
05:45 PM ET

Eyes on education at the White House in coming weeks

WASHINGTON (CNN) – While the situation in Libya and the Middle East will likely keep the White House busy for the next few weeks, the Obama administration is staying focused on domestic issues including improving education.

President Obama will kick off his education initiative Friday with a trip to Florida where he will visit Miami Central Senior High School to give remarks to highlight overcoming education challenges.

In a conference call with reporters, Secretary of Education Arne Duncan said the school was chosen because it’s a good example of how a school has taken on the challenges of reform and become a success story. FULL POST

Topics: Arne Duncan • Education • The News