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Arne Duncan = Ally

Barack Obama selects Arne Duncan as Secretary of Education, so what does this mean for the gays?

By Andy Campbell, 11:33AM, Wed. Dec. 17, 2008

Arne Duncan gives Blue Steele!
Arne Duncan gives Blue Steele!

Today President-Elect Barack Obama tapped Arne Duncan to be his Secretary of Education. Duncan is currently the Chief Executive Officer of the Chicago Public Schools, and a full-on supporter of the expansion of Chicago's Social Justice High School to include a Pride Campus, to serve LGBTQA students.

Here's the proposed school's mission statement:

The Greater Lawndale Little Village School for Social Justice believes that, to further the mission and vision of the school, it should replicate the successful components of the Social Justice High School and create a new high school campus to address the needs of the underserved population of lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and questioning youth and their allies (LGBTQA youth). Research shows that there are low attendance rates and high drop-out rates among LGBTQA youth, and they struggle with harassment, depression, poor academic achievement, and suicide. Our goal is to provide a school with a safe, affirming, and supportive environment where every student – particularly LGBTQA youth – would develop the knowledge and skills needed to create better lives for themselves and their families and to succeed in their post-secondary pursuits. We envision a succession of graduates attending college or other post-secondary institutions at high rates, becoming transformative and successful members of society who recognize the responsibility to improve their communities and the world. Thus, the Social Justice High School-Pride Campus would improve on current conditions for LGBTQA youth in Chicago's public schools and would be a national model for best practices in the education of LGBTQA youth.

Of course, conservatives are hopping mad about Duncan and the "Gay High School". Just look at a blog post from this morning on the uber-conservative Townhall.com. What I find most intriguing is the selective use of the concept "separate but equal."

While I'm excited about Duncan's nomination – social issues must be taken into account when dealing with education programming – I'm still saddened that the Obama administration will not take a stronger stance for LGBTQ civil rights.

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