(CBS) — Education Secretary Arne Duncan leaves his job at the White House for good Thursday. CBS 2’s Mike Parker reports he’s coming back to Chicago with a mission.

President Obama’s retiring education secretary got a warm welcome at St. Sabina.

Duncan has come home to Chicago for good and he told admirers he often recalls a picture a young Chicago student gave him when he was running Chicago schools, a picture of a firefighter climbing a ladder.

“And its caption was, he wrote up there, ‘If I grow up, I want to be a fireman.’ If I grow up, not when. That was what he was thinking. That was his reality,” he said.

Duncan said adults are guilty of a collective failure to protect America’s children from gun violence and he regrets his role in that failure.

“When you think about 16,000 children being murdered on my watch, my first six years as secretary of education, a lot of things I’m very proud of, that’s not one of them,” he said.

Duncan says he doesn’t know what his future holds, but whatever it is – it will involve helping to protect and serve children.

“We owe our kids in our community something better,” he said.

“I’m so glad he’s back to the city,” said Fr. Michael Pfleger. “I love his passion, his commitment, his vision. Arne has been consistent.”

Arne Duncan says Congress shares the blame for the child shooting statistics.
He says lawmakers could pass common sense gun laws, but they have not, and it appears, they won’t.