For each of the last three years, Secretary Duncan has started the school year with a bus tour visiting schools and communities across the country to find what’s working in education and to hear the concerns, insights, and lessons learned from students, teachers, principals, parents, and the communities supporting them. It’s always a welcome grounding in “real education” — the kind that children and families experience everyday — versus the “education system” policymakers and pundits love to caricature and debate.
This year, I participated more fully than I have in years past — visiting schools, grantees, education reformers, and advocates in California, Missouri, and Kentucky.
On September 27th, the Office of Non-Public Education (ONPE) hosted the 8th Annual Private School Leadership Conference at the U.S. Department of Education’s headquarters in Washington, D.C. Each year, the invitation-only event brings together 100 of the nation’s top private and home school educational leaders from across the country. We also welcomed representatives from state education agencies who are responsible for administering federal education programs on behalf of private school students. The conference provides a forum to address Department of Education programs and initiatives, listen to the concerns of the nonpublic school community, highlight innovative practices, and facilitate discourse between the Department and nonpublic school leaders.
Secretary Arne Duncan expressed appreciation for independent schools that are expanding educational opportunities for underserved public school students at ED’s Annual Private School Leadership Conference on September 28. Private Schools with Public Purpose (PSPP), a growing, nationwide initiative, offers “huge potential,” according to the Secretary, for improving achievement for high-need students. PSPP efforts, several of which were discussed during the conference session with Secretary Duncan, include private school-public-school collaborations that provide direct services to students, including summer-learning programs, as well as professional development for teachers. Read more about Secretary Duncan’s remarks and PSPP on the ED Blog.