TAMPA, FL—Saying it was his only real option to earn much-needed cash, U.S. Education Secretary Arne Duncan told reporters Tuesday he had been forced to start working as an erotic dancer at the local strip club Peaches in order to put the nation’s students through school.

Duncan, who has reportedly struggled for years to make ends meet and pay school bills, claimed that he was earning “great” money by dancing naked for customers and that he was now much closer to fulfilling his dream of providing a first-class education for America’s children.

“Taking off your clothes in front of strangers isn’t for everyone, but I’m confident in my body, and regardless, I need to get the money somehow,” said Duncan, who performs under the stage name Velvet. “I’m not planning on doing this forever, just until all 49.8 million kids in our public elementary and secondary schools can graduate. Then I can go back to my regular job.”

“This place is pretty upscale, so on a good night, I can walk out of here with $1,500 in tips,” he added. “And that buys a whole lot of textbooks.”

While Duncan initially expressed concerns that stripping might be a degrading or humiliating experience, the 48-year-old government official gradually grew more comfortable in the setting after realizing every lap dance would provide much-needed learning materials for American students.

Sources said his inhibitions soon disappeared completely, and the Cabinet member became a favorite among the all-nude club’s clientele, twirling effortlessly while hanging upside down on the pole at center stage and finishing every erotic routine with his garter bulging with bills of all denominations.

“At first, I had a few hang-ups about being ogled while spreading my legs in a skimpy little G-string,” said the education secretary, adding that he is no longer timid about gyrating his crotch in patrons’ faces. “I thought the customers would all be creepy and perverted, but you know what? Most of them are just kind of lonely, and some of them are actually really sweet.”

“They think it’s great that I’m doing this to buy school supplies for every child age 5 to 18 in the country,” Duncan continued. “I don’t know if my parents would be so understanding. I haven’t told them what I do.”

According to strip joint sources, the nation’s highest-ranking education official is known for chatting up patrons at the bar with ease, and promising to make the wildest fantasies of the “big spenders” come true as part of an effort to close the shortfalls in his department’s $68 billion budget.

Tom Sericati, the manager of Peaches, said that he was impressed by the hard work the former superintendent of Chicago Public Schools put into his choreographed routine for the INXS song “Mystify,” incorporating a number of acrobatic moves that Sericati said were “very provocative” and never failed to “really get the crowd going.”

“Arne is in total control when he’s strutting across the stage—our regulars are always asking for more Velvet,” Sericati said. “He’s got some really sexy moves.”

“Nice little caboose back there, too,” Sericati added.

Duncan, who charges a higher rate for private dances in the champagne room, confirmed he could earn a little extra for academic resources and technology upgrades if he were willing to “blur the lines” of the club’s no-touching rule and grind on customers’ genitals until they reach climax.

“I’ll admit that stripping is exhausting and at times soul-wrenching, but then I think about 16-year-old John Henderson in Omaha, 11-year-old Stephanie Brown in Houston, and all of the other kids in the nation’s 98,817 public schools, and I just want them to have the opportunity to finish high school,” Duncan said. “And then I figure if I push it a little farther and rub up against a couple patrons each night, I might be able to get every kid through college.”

“It’s like what I was saying to Sapphire and Destiny,” Duncan added. “At least I’m not selling drugs to pay for streets and bridges like [Transportation Secretary] Ray LaHood.”