President Obama's pick to lead the U.S. Department of Education came to the job with a reputation as a reformer. Before becoming secretary of education, Arne Duncan had been school chief for seven years in Chicago, the nation's third-largest district. He did not shy away from controversy during his tenure. He closed failing schools and used unconventional methods to increase academic performance. Duncan supported charter schools, performance pay for teachers, single-sex and residential schools, paying students for good grades and a proposal for a high school catering to gay students. Last week Duncan visited the Star Tribune to speak with a group of editorial writers and reporters. The following excerpts of his remarks were compiled by editorial writer Denise Johnson. ON EDUCATION STIMULUS FUNDS
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