Arne Duncan Is Serious: Americans Should Boycott School

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The former education secretary says it’s time for American families to boycott school to fight for stricter gun laws.

Over the weekend, Arne Duncan, who served in the Obama administration, replied approvingly to a radical suggestion from a former colleague. “Maybe it’s time for America’s 50 million school parents to simply pull their kids out of school until we have better gun laws,” tweeted Peter Cunningham, another Obama-era education official.” Duncan’s reply: “This is brilliant, and tragically necessary. What if no children went to school until gun laws changed to keep them safe? My family is all in if we can do this at scale. Parents, will you please join us?”

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After Duncan tweeted, Wendy Kopp, the founder of Teach for America, said she was on board. So did Jim Manly, the superintendent of KIPP public charter schools in New York City.

Duncan has been pushing for tougher gun laws since leaving the Obama administration. I spoke with him on Monday about school shootings and why he believes in a boycott. (Duncan is a managing partner at Emerson Collective, which owns a majority stake in The Atlantic.) The conversation that follows has been condensed for length and clarity.