Arne Duncan says he’s not mulling run for mayor or governor

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Arne Duncan, former U.S. Secretary of Education at the University of Chicago Gleacher Center on Tuesday morning. | Santiago Covarrubias/Sun-Times

Former U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan on Tuesday said he’s not considering a run for Chicago mayor or Illinois governor.

The former CEO of Chicago Public Schools, who returned to Chicago after spending seven years in President Barack Obama’s Cabinet, is now a managing partner at California-based Emerson Collective, which is seeking to put money into programs in poor neighborhoods while promoting economic growth.

Speaking to the Chicago Sun-Times, Duncan said he is not considering a run for Chicago mayor or Illinois governor. Duncan would not be eligible to run for governor in 2018 because of a residency requirement for statewide office.

Duncan on Tuesday helped to launch the To&Through Campaign — a University of Chicago Urban Education Institute initiative to give educators, non-profits, civic leaders and families the research, data and resources to help more students make it to and through high school and college.

“High school completion is hugely important. But that’s a starting point. That’s a stepping point on the education journey not an ending point. And helping give young people themselves and parents and teachers and schools and school district both the data and the research and the tools to really build plans so that every single high school graduate, every single high school graduate in the nation, has that aspiration of some form of education beyond high school. Four-year university, two-year community college, trade, vocational training. That has to start to be the goal for everybody,” Duncan told the Sun-Times on Tuesday ahead of the program’s launch.

Duncan attended the launch at the University of Chicago’s Gleacher Center Tuesday morning, then planned to stop by the Cook County Jail, where he is working with inmates, to ensure they have options when they get out.

“We’re doing everything we can to create jobs for young men — 17-24-year-old men — who are shooters or at risk of being shot, and those are two of the same things. So we’re working very hard with young men, who are both in our neighborhoods but also with guys who are in Cook County Jail and coming out of Cook County Jail,” Duncan said.

“If we want to stop shooting, I just believe police can’t begin to do this by themselves. We have to begin to create economic opportunity. We have to create jobs,” Duncan said.

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