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As you know, before I came to Washington, I was a teacher. Each day, I couldn’t wait to get to work. Luckily, I still feel that way — and it’s because to be in the field of education is to wake up each morning knowing that you can forever change someone’s life for the better.
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Recently, the Department held its first meeting with the Race to the Top grant winners. It was wonderful to help welcome delegates from winning states and start rich conversations about implementing each of their plans.
To be sure, implementation is where the real challenge lies for many of the states. We at the Department understand that making such comprehensive reforms is a monumental task, and so one of our top priorities is to ensure that states have the support and technical assistance they need to make their plans successful.
In fact, this support for states, districts, and schools has been our priority in OESE this past year, not just for Race to the Top but for all of our grant programs. I know from my experience as superintendent that high quality technical assistance and support from the federal level is essential in order to make and sustain improvements among our students. That’s why the Department will continue its emphasis on this support, through technical assistance, shared models, and open dialogue. We want to truly become partners with states and districts in the important work of improving educational outcomes for students. And we encourage all of you to get in touch with any suggestions on how we can better do this – e-mail me at AskDrT@ed.gov with your ideas.
Today, I’m headed just a few blocks over to the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) to take part in their Hispanic Heritage Month Observance ceremony. The theme of this year’s observance is “Heritage, Diversity, Integrity and Honor: The Renewed Hope of America.” It’s an honor for me to take part in such a celebration, to mark the many contributions that Hispanic and Latinos have made to this country.
Celebrating Hispanic Heritage Month is important to me, both for personal and professional reasons. My parents, who were born in Mexico, have instilled in me a deep respect for my heritage. My family always placed a huge emphasis on education, and their sacrifices on my behalf have made it possible for me to be where I am today.
This is why I’m so proud and so excited to be working in this Administration. I get up in the morning fired up about the opportunity to revitalize and move forward America’s education reform agenda – both for the Latino community and the nation as a whole. Our success as a country depends on the success of our children, and I urge you to join us in this movement to offer a world-class education for all of our students.