Because of space, some stuff couldn’t make it into the Arne Duncan School of Thought interview in TIME, here’s one answer I thought was pretty interesting though:
How should Americans think about the consequences of failing to address our educational problems?
Our ability to provide a great education and to have a strong country and a strong country are inextricably linked. The jobs of the future are going to require some sort of college-level experience whether it’s two-year, four-year, trade or technical but the world has changed. When I was growing up on the south side of Chicago thirty years ago in high school my friends could drop out and still get a decent job in the stockyards and steel mills and own their own homes, support a family, and do OK. Those jobs are a distant memory of a bygone era. The jobs today are going to go to countries that are producing knowledge workers. And many countries are out-educating us.
Second, to have a strong flourishing vibrant democracy you want an educated citizenry who are participatory and knowledgeable. And the only way you get that is great public education. And this is the civil rights issue of our generation. The dividing line in our country today is less around race and class than it is around educational opportunity.