Today, the U.S. Secretary of Education, Arne Duncan, surprised CEC Member, Benjamin White, by calling him to express his appreciation for Ben’s outstanding work in the field of education and to encourage him to keep it up.
“It was definitely surprising,” and “I had no idea Secretary Duncan would join the call,” said White. “I thought I was just going to speak to members of the Department’s staff about teacher preparation programs – I had no idea what was coming!”
Secretary Duncan thanked Ben for his commitment to education and praised his accomplishments. He also asked Ben what he thought the Department of Education should do to attract great teachers? Ben told the Secretary that in his experience, having the opportunity to work in the field and be engaged in the classroom with the students was critical to his decision to work in education.
Ben is currently a full time student pursuing a double major in Elementary Education and Special Education with an endorsement in Cognitive Impairment at Eastern Michigan University. Prior to enrolling at Eastern Michigan, Ben was a paraprofessional in Rochester Community Schools. It was there in a classroom for students with Autism that he found his passion for education.
Ben is an active CEC member and currently serves as President and Children and Youth Action Network Coordinator for the Michigan CEC Student Association. As a student leader in his university chapter and now at the state level, Ben’s focus has been on ensuring teaching students receive meaningful professional development. This year he was also honored at CEC’s convention with the Kayte M. Fearn CEC Ethnic Diversity Scholarship.
Secretary Duncan’s call to Ben takes place during Teacher Appreciation Week. Ben was one of just four teachers that Secretary Duncan selected to call personally and express his appreciation for their dedication and work. CEC commemorates Ben White for all of his accomplishments and this impressive recognition today.