President Barack Obama on Thursday submitted the nomination of John B. King, New York State’s former education commissioner, to be secretary of the U.S. Department of Education to the Senate for confirmation.
King has been acting secretary of the department since Obama named him to replace Arne Duncan in October, an act that elevated King from the role as de facto deputy secretary in the post as principal senior adviser since January 2015.
Sen. Lamar Alexander (R-Tenn.), chairman of the Senate committee overseeing education, welcomed the nomination, despite some Republicans in the Senate blocking nearly all of Obama’s nominations.
“I have urged the president to nominate an education secretary and I am glad he has done so,” Alexander said in a statement.
“John King will receive a prompt and fair hearing in our committee,” Alexander said. “For proper accountability, especially as we work with the administration on implementing the new law governing elementary and secondary education, it is important to have in charge of the department a member of the president’s cabinet confirmed by the United States Senate.”
During his tenure as New York State’s education commissioner from 2011 to 2014, King pushed for more stringent student testing tied to teacher evaluations as part of adherence to the Common Core national academic standards, stirring widespread controversy.
“We believe that now is the right time for Congress to move on this nomination,” said White House spokesman Eric Schultz.
“All too often, we’ve seen Congress play politics with our nominees. Our nominees are often slow-walked for months, if not years. And then they’re typically confirmed almost unanimously,” Schultz said. “So clearly these are not objectionable officials. . . . We would urge Congress to move quickly to confirm Dr. King.”