Former Secretary King to Lead Ed Trust

February 3, 2017

Former U.S. Education Secretary John B. King Jr. will be the next leader of the Education Trust, a nonprofit organization that advocates for minority and low-income students.

Ed Trust named King its president and CEO weeks after he left the Department of Education, which he led since March 2016. Previously, King served as acting deputy secretary of education and New York commissioner of education.

He will succeed Ed Trust CEO Kati Haycock, who has led the organization since she founded it in the early 1990s.

“Over its 25-year history, the Education Trust has been a leader in the work to bring attention and action to closing longstanding opportunity and achievement gaps that separate too many low-income students and students of color from their peers, pre-kindergarten through college,” said Education Trust board Chairman David V. Britt. “This history provides a strong foundation on which to build new partnerships, new work and new learning -- indeed, a new movement -- and we think John is exactly the right leader for this next stage of the organization’s work.”

In state-level offices, the organization has worked with civil rights groups on equity issues in K-12 schools. Ed Trust has also created data tools on the higher education level and added support for colleges serving large concentrations of low-income and minority students.

The organization has spoken out in opposition to Betsy DeVos’s nomination as education secretary. And its Midwest arm has criticized the Michigan charter school law that DeVos donated millions to back politically.

King in an interview with Politico Thursday took the unusual step for a former secretary of expressing serious concerns about President Trump’s nominee. DeVos’s background in education has been as a school choice activist and donor to political campaigns to expand charter schools and vouchers.

King, who led a charter school chain in New York himself, questioned whether DeVos will be committed to protecting civil rights as education secretary.

“People who care about public education, who care about equity, who care about civil rights should speak out loudly,” he told Politico. “When there seems to be a lack of clear commitment to protecting student civil rights, we’re going to speak up loudly.”

He said in comments to Ed Trust staff that he lost both parents at a young age but was supported and challenged by his teachers in public school. In leading the organization, he said he wants to help provide that same support to students from similar backgrounds.

“Amazing teachers at PS 276 in Canarsie and Mark Twain Junior High School in Coney Island gave me a sense of hope and possibility. If I had not had those teachers, I wouldn’t be alive today. They literally saved my life,” King said. “At the Education Trust, I want to help more kids like me -- kids for whom schools make all the difference -- get the education they need and deserve.”

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