President Barack Obama will nominate Dr. John B. King Jr. to serve as Education Department secretary after receiving commitments from lawmakers to give his nomination speedy consideration, the White House said Thursday.
King has served as acting secretary since Arne Duncan stepped down at the end of December. At the time, the administration was content to let King serve as the acting secretary at this late in the president’s second term. But the administration has received bipartisan assurances from lawmakers that King’s nomination would receive fair treatment.
Sen. Lamar Alexander, the Republican chairman of the panel with jurisdiction over education, said that King will receive a “prompt and fair hearing in our committee.”
“For proper accountability, especially as we work with the administration on implementing the new law governing elementary and secondary education, it is important to have in charge of the department a member of the president’s cabinet confirmed by the United States Senate,” Alexander said.
King oversaw federal education programs for preschool through 12th grade before becoming acting secretary. Before joining the department King had worked as a teacher and principal. He also served as the State Commissioner of Education in New York.
“There is nobody better to continue leading our ongoing efforts to work toward preschool for all, prepare our kids so that they are ready for college and career, and make college more affordable,” Obama said.
Both of King’s parents died before he was 12, and King credits public school teachers in New York City for giving him hope and purpose.