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Duncan calls education 'civil rights issue'
Associated Press

Arne Duncan


Associated Press file

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Published: 6/30/2009 12:00 AM

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U.S. Education Secretary Arne Duncan is calling access to quality education "the civil rights issue of our generation."

Hundreds gathered Monday at the annual conference of the Rev. Jesse Jackson's Rainbow/PUSH Coalition where Duncan spoke

The crowd cheered as the former Chicago Public Schools CEO said the Obama administration wants to change policy so students who accumulate debt for college can repay it based on their income.

He reiterated his desire to use stimulus funds to pay teachers more, increase scholarship funding and put new data systems in schools.

Noting the spike in violent deaths among Chicago Public Schools students, Duncan said schools must stay open longer and become the center of their communities.