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Duncan Outlines 'Equity' Agenda

U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan today said his department would push for policies promoting equity in the schools for poor and minority students, in particular announcing plans for an Equity and Excellence Commission to promote fiscal equity among schools.

"In so many ways, our reform agenda is all about equity," Duncan said in an address to a conference marking the 100th anniversary of the National Urban League, according to an Education Department release. "Competition isn't about winners and losers. It's about getting better."

The 15-member equity commission, authorized by Congress in the fiscal year 2010 Consolidated Appropriations Act, will obtain broad public input about inequities in K-12 education and examine how those inequities contribute to the achievement gap. The panel will submit recommendations to Duncan, the department said.

Next week, the department will publish a notice in the Federal Register asking for nominations for the panel.

Earlier this week, several civil rights groups, including the Urban League and the NAACP, called on Duncan to dismantle core pieces of his agenda. As Education Week's Politics K-12 blog reported, the groups canceled or postponed a press event, possibly in light of the fact that Duncan was speaking to the Urban League conference on Wednesday and President Obama is to address it on Thursday.

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