Speaking last week to the Arts Education Partnership in Washington, D.C., Education Secretary Arne Duncan related his experiences as a drummer in middle school and argued for a well-rounded education, even in lean times. "For decades, arts education has been treated as though it was a novice teacher at school, the last hired and first fired when times get tough," Duncan said. "But President Obama, the first lady and I reject the notion that the arts, history, foreign languages, geography and civics are ornamental offerings that can or should be cut from schools during a fiscal crunch. The truth is that, in the information age, a well-rounded curriculum is not a luxury but a necessity." According to Education Week, though, arts educators have concerns about whether Duncan's policies reflect his words, especially a proposal to consolidate nine federal funding programs spanning arts, American history and foreign language education.