Who Would You Fall On Your Sword For, Arne Duncan?

Man who kept secret CPS clout list for Duncan resigns

Just days after he surfaced as the man who kept a secret clout-heavy list of school applicants for then-Chicago schools chief Arne Duncan, David Pickens has resigned.

Pickens said today the decision was his, and that he tendered his resignation Wednesday, effective April 30.

Pickens revealed earlier this week that he oversaw a list for Duncan, now President Obama's education secretary, detailing politicians, aldermen, businessmen and others seeking entry into the system’s most coveted schools.

Years before Duncan created a formal policy that allowed "principal picks" in elite college prep high schools, Pickens said he acted as a "buffer" for such principals by checking out the requests of clout-heavy callers seeking admission for students into elite schools.

Pickens said he was charged with checking out students and telling callers — including some with no connections — "no" if principals said they couldn't accommodate the students. No principal was ever pressured to take a student, or told who had called on the student’s behalf, Pickens said.

"No one tried to stop me from talking" about the list, Pickens said today. “It demanded and deserved an explanation and that’s what I did.


David Pickens (right) admitted this week that he kept a secret clout-heavy list of school applicants for then-schools CEO Arne Duncan (left).  (Brian Jackson/Sun-Times)

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