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Obama announces John King, Jr. will head Education Department

President Barack Obama

President Obama announced one of the last remaining members of his original cabinet, Education Secretary Arne Duncan, would be leaving the adminstration.

"Arne Duncan is one of my longest-serving cabinet secretaries, and he's been a friend for a lot longer than that," the president said Friday. "So it's with some regret and sorrow that I've accepted his decision to return to our hometown of Chicago."

Mr. Obama also said he was sorry to say goodby to "my favorite partner in pickup basketball."

Duncan will step down in December.

The president also announced Duncan's replacement, John King, Jr., who has been acting as deputy education secretary.

"He's been an educator all his life," Mr. Obama said of him. "He's the right man to lead the department."

But President Obama will bypass the confirmation process in Congress, designating King as the acting chief for the rest of the second term.

President Obama is holding a news conference afterwards.