Secretary of Education Arne Duncan will step down at the end of the year, and he's begun to reflect on his seven-year tenure. Duncan visited a Boston high school Thursday that has improved out of "underperforming" status according to state standards, the New York Times reports.

Despite the active role the Department of Education has had under Duncan, he claimed little credit for any progress that's been made.

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"Our role in this change was actually pretty small," Duncan said.

Duncan's Department of Education took an unusually active role in state and local education matters. The administration initiated a number of untried programs, including the Race to the Top grant program and controversial conditional waivers from penalties in No Child Left Behind.

"The good news here is that, over the past handful of years, America's educators have put in place the building blocks not for incremental or one-time change, but rather for improvements that will last a generation — as you've done here in Massachusetts," Duncan said, according to the Boston Globe.

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