« Advocates for Native Students Call for Federal Education Policy Changes | Main | Head of Education Dept.'s Civil Rights Office to Step Down »

Duncan's Big Disappointment: No DREAM Act

U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan said today that one of his biggest disappointments during the Obama administration's first term was the failure to get any traction on the DREAM Act, the long-stalled federal legislation that would open up a pathway to citizenship for millions of undocumented students.

In remarks he gave at a two-day Washington forum held by the Foundation for Excellence in Education, run by former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush, Duncan used words like "insane" and "crazy" to describe scenarios in which promising students—who were brought to the United States illegally as children—can't attend college or otherwise pursue higher education and careers because they lack legal status.

His comments on the DREAM Act were in response to a question about how the Obama administration would address the needs of the growing, and increasingly influential Latino community and voting bloc. His remarks are consistent with what he has long said about the need to pass the DREAM Act, both at the federal level and in individual states, so that college-aspiring undocumented students can access in-state tuition at public colleges and universities, as well as financial aid.

Duncan suggested that the president's overwhelming support among Latino voters in the election has created momentum to work on immigration reform.

Yesterday, three influential Republican senators introduced a measure meant to be an alternative to the DREAM Act. Their legislation would allow undocumented students who enroll in higher education or enlist in the military to seek legal, permanent residency but not citizenship.

Notice: We recently upgraded our comments. (Learn more here.) If you are logged in as a subscriber or registered user and already have a Display Name on edweek.org, you can post comments. If you do not already have a Display Name, please create one here.
Ground Rules for Posting
We encourage lively debate, but please be respectful of others. Profanity and personal attacks are prohibited. By commenting, you are agreeing to abide by our user agreement.
All comments are public.

Follow This Blog


Most Viewed on Education Week



Recent Comments

  • Charles: ELLs in our state ARE required to take State standardized read more
  • Melissa: Maybe I'm just becoming jaded, but this feels to me read more
  • Anonymous: Are you kidding me....UNO is an organizaion that literally destroys read more
  • Meg Baker: Are any schools using ACCESS scores for purposes other than read more
  • Dr. Mendoza: This is great news i must say. Hopefully this DREAM read more