"What's the first thing we do when we get to our bike?" David Gesualdi asks his second-graders. "Check the air!" they yell back at him.

His 19 students are sitting in a semicircle in the gym at Walker-Jones Education Campus, not far from the U.S. Capitol.

Decked out in blue helmets, hair nets (for lice protection) and bright orange mesh vests, their eyes shift impatiently between their phys-ed teacher and the racks of shiny new BMX bikes behind him.

First, though, he walks them through the A-B-C's: "Air. Brake. Chain."

Meet The Next Secretary Of Education

21 hours ago

The man who will succeed Education Secretary Arne Duncan has both an inspirational personal story and a record of controversy in what's become a national debate over the Common Core learning standards.

At age 40, John King Jr. will become one of the youngest Cabinet members in American history. He's been deputy U.S. education secretary since January, after serving as education commissioner in New York.

Duncan called him "one of the most passionate, courageous, clearheaded leaders in our field" with a "remarkable personal story."

After nearly seven years in office, Education Secretary Arne Duncan will step down in December. The former head of Chicago Public Schools came to Washington back in 2009 with his friend — a newly-elected President Obama.

Duncan's tenure was remarkable for two reasons:

First, he got a lot done. A lot. The list is long, so, for the purposes of this short post, let's focus on perhaps the biggest thing he did, which was also one of the first things he did. In the summer of 2009, Duncan made this grand pronouncement:

It has been decades since an education secretary had as high a national political profile as the long-serving Arne Duncan, who famously accompanied President Obama from Chicago and even more famously likes to shoot hoops with the president.

Supporters note that Duncan has advocated passionately for narrowing the opportunity and achievement gaps in America's public schools, ending the "school to prison pipeline" and boosting pay for teachers who serve in high-poverty schools.

Updated at 12:15 p.m. ET.

Arne Duncan will step down as President Obama's education secretary in December, a White House official confirms to NPR.

Obama has selected Deputy Education Secretary John B. King Jr. to replace Duncan. King is a former New York State education commissioner. (President Obama is making a personnel announcement at 3:30 p.m. ET.)

Chicago Public Schools has lowered its official high school graduation rate following revelations that thousands of dropouts were being misclassified as transfers.

The official rate for 2014 was actually 66.3 percent, not 69.4 percent, officials said late Thursday. CPS also revised down the graduation rates for each year dating back to 2011.

Students who experience traumatic events while growing up in poor, turbulent neighborhoods could be considered disabled, a federal judge has ruled in a high-profile case involving the Compton, Calif., schools.

The ruling from U.S. District Judge Michael W. Fitzgerald, released on Wednesday, involves a class-action lawsuit filed against the Compton Unified School District. The plaintiffs argued that students who have experienced trauma are entitled to the same services and protections that schools must provide to traditionally disabled students.

Why do we humans like to play so much? Play sports, play tag, play the stock market, play duck, duck, goose? We love it all. And we're not the only ones. Dogs, cats, bears, even birds seem to like to play. What are we all doing? Is there a point to it all?

You can't blame Taylor Scobbie for being nervous. His team was a finalist for the $1 million Hult Prize.

The challenge — issued by the Clinton Global Initiative and the Hult Prize Foundation last September — was for undergraduates or MBA students to design a project that would provide quality education to 10 million children under age 6 in urban slums by 2020. There were six teams that made it through to the last round, chosen from more than 20,000 applicants.

TO: America's colleges and universities

FR: America's high school students

RE: Please make the college admissions process less daunting and more collaborative, creative, engaging and in tune with the Digital Age. Oh, and while you're at it, try to level the admissions playing field between rich and poor.