Secretary Arne Duncan at the National Governors Association Meeting

On Sunday, Secretary Arne Duncan spoke at the National Governors Association winter meeting about the Obama Administration’s education agenda.

He praised governors for their leadership and participation in a 48-state effort to raise standards on a voluntary basis. This “is exactly what our country needs,” he said.

Duncan talked about ED’s “framework” for the reauthorization of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act. The proposal will provide incentives for states to adopt college- and career-ready standards, more competition in grant programs, and more flexibility. We want to be “tight on the goals, loose on how you get there,” he said.

The secretary also highlighted the need to reward, encourage, and learn from high-performing schools—and to turn around low-performing schools. “We as a country have been too passive” about the 1-5% of our lowest performing schools. We have a responsibility not to accept the status quo in these schools, he said.

Duncan told the governors that he is concerned about potential layoffs facing schools in the months ahead and the potential negative impact for students.

At the end of his remarks, Duncan answered questions.

Watch the video.