U.S. Education Secretary says Kentucky can lead the nation

LOUISVILLE, KY (WAVE) - Just this past Friday Kentucky's education commissioner Terry Holliday appeared in Washington with the President and Education Secretary Arne Duncan in announcing that Kentucky would seek a waiver to opt out of "No Child Left Behind" regulations.

U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan said Kentucky can lead the nation in asking for a waiver. In an exclusive interview with WAVE 3's Jean West, Duncan also talked about the student assignment plan and busing controversy, and had strong opinions about teacher pay.

Here is a transcript of this morning's interview with Jean:

Duncan: "Kentucky is one of the first states to adopt college career ready standards, raising the bar, I love that. We want to partner with states that are willing to do two things - keep those standards high, be very creative around teacher and principal evaluation support take on under performing schools. We want to provide a lot more flexibility, more room to innovate, get Washington out of way and let states be creative in hitting that higher bar. We really hope Kentucky can help lead the country where we need to go and we look forward to working with them through this waiver process."

Jean: "Also Louisville along with little rock and other cities still struggling with trying to achieve true integration, we're using student assignment and busing to achieve that. What are your thoughts on why it's not working and what would be some alternatives to that".

Duncan: "It may be controversial but again when we keep students separate from each other how can they be successful in a globally competitive shrinking world once they become an adult. I think creating those kinds of opportunities for young people are important. It can be complicated and difficult but I would just encourage Louisville and other cities round the country to be very thoughtful, and not walk away from opportunities for students to go to school in a diverse environment."

Jean: "Teacher pay, how do we get the best and brightest people in the classroom when we can't compete with business when it comes to paying them."

Duncan: "I absolutely agree with you Jean. I've argued repeatedly that I honestly think we should double starting teachers salary. A great young teacher should be able to make 60, 65 thousand dollars, veteran teachers should make 130, 140, 150 thousand dollars you pick a number. I think we desperately under invest in education we have to elevate the profession in our country - it's gotta be doctors, lawyers, engineers, and teachers at the same plateau that's not the case today ."

You can watch the interview this evening on WAVE 3 news at 5:00 and 6:00. In addition, all this week on World News Tonight, NBC News is taking an in depth look at education in America with it's Special reports " Education Nation.

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