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Peggy Carr

1 February 2023 1,234 views One Comment
Peggy Carr Photo. American Flag in the background.

Peggy Carr

Affiliation: Commissioner for Education Statistics, National Center for Education Statistics

Peggy Carr’s family moved to Cleveland, Ohio, in the 1950s during The Great Migration, so that is where she was born and attended early grade school. Within a few years, however, high unemployment forced the Carr family to return to North Carolina. It was the height of the civil rights movement, and her parents realized a “good education” was the way out, which led to one of the most pivotal milestones in Carr’s educational career: She and her siblings were among the first African American students to integrate K–12 schools in eastern North Carolina. That was before the widespread implementation of forced integration of public schools in the South.

This challenging period of community growth, identity, and self-reflection inspired Carr’s intense interest in equity in education. Carr began to excel in mathematics and science with a strong sense of competitiveness and dedication to academic excellence. Her matriculation at two historically Black universities—North Carolina Central and Howard—were also formative experiences in Carr’s educational and professional trajectory. Being trained in these predominately minority institutions in the 1970s allowed her to deepen her interest and skill sets in the social sciences with a focus on statistics and research methodology without being impeded by the chaotic racial and social unrest around her.

Carr was the first in her family to earn a PhD, the first person of color in an executive management position at the National Center for Education Statistics, and among the first persons of color to be accepted as part of the Federal Senior Executive Service at the US Department of Education. And last year, she received the American Educational Research Association’s Distinguished Public Service Award. However, her proudest moment, by far, was in August 2021, when President Joseph Biden appointed her NCES commissioner.

“Not only am I the first woman of color to hold this prestigious, presidentially appointed position in the decades-long history of the agency, but as commissioner, I now have a platform to further my life-long commitment to equity, inclusion, and diversity through education data and statistics,” Carr said. “This platform allows me to support the entire education community and, ultimately, to contribute significantly and immeasurably to all of American society.”

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  • Charlie Rothwell said:

    Peggy …. The Federal Statistical System is better with your leadership! Charlie Rothwell