In an attempt to bridge the divide between teachers and lawmakers, U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan posed questions to a group of educators in Center City on Friday while a few protesters gathered outside.
Duncan, speaking before more than 120 members of the National Network of State Teachers of the Year at their conference at the Hilton DoubleTree Hotel, first addressed the city's education budget crisis.
"First of all, I want to say one quick thing about the budget issues here in Philadelphia," he said. "This school system is being starved - the cuts here are incomprehensible."
Duncan then discussed the high costs of attending college and the need to increase funding for early education - sentiments that the teachers applauded.