Barack Obama's choice for education secretary supported a
proposal this year for a Chicago public high school that
would be geared to gay students.
Arne Duncan, the
Chicago school superintendent, approved plans for the Pride Campus of Social Justice High
School, which was set to be voted on by the school
board in November, only to be pulled by organizers at
the last minute after controversy.
Duncan, CEO of
Chicago Public Schools since 2001, was nominated by Obama
for the cabinet post at a press conference Tuesday morning,
Harvard graduate helped write the president-elect's
education platform and has frequently advised him on
educational matters, according to TheNew York Times.
bolstered by grim statistics, a group of Chicago teachers,
administrators, and education experts presented a
groundbreaking proposal to the Chicago public school
board: A new Pride Campus, affiliated with the
existing Social Justice High School, eventually serving 400
to 600 students, would provide a safe and accepting
place for LGBT kids and their allies," Jessica Reaves
writes in the current issue of The Advocate.
"The public charter school would have been only the
third of its kind in the country, after Milwaukee's
Alliance School and New York City's Harvey Milk
But the proposal
was criticized by both conservatives and gay activists,
who claimed it amounted to segregation. In response,
organizers altered the school's mission to include all
students who faced harassment, but then decided the
change watered down the original idea. They've vowed
to retool the proposal and bring it back for a vote in