U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan will travel to 15 or more states in the coming months to solicit feedback from a broad group of stakeholders around federal education policy in anticipation of the reauthorization of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act. The tour will gather input on the Obama administration's education agenda, including early childhood, higher standards, teacher quality, workforce development, and higher education.
The tour, "Listening and Learning: A Conversation About Education Reform," officially began today with three events in West Virginia. In the morning, Duncan met with parents and primary school teachers at Bunker Hill Elementary School in Bunker Hill. Duncan then visited Eagle School in Martinsburg where he had lunch with students and met with middle school teachers and administrators.
In the afternoon, Duncan held a town hall meeting at Blue Ridge Community and Technical College with students, instructors, administrators and area employers.
Duncan said that the primary purpose of the Listening and Learning tour is to, "Have a national dialogue about how to best deliver a complete and competitive education to all childrenfrom cradle through career. We want to hear directly from people in the classroom about how the federal government can support educators, school districts and states to drive education reform. Before crafting education law in Washington, we want to hear from people across Americaparents, teachers and administratorsabout the everyday issues and challenges in our schools that need our national attention and support."
Other states targeted for potential events include Michigan, Vermont, California, Montana, Wyoming, New Jersey, Tennessee, North Carolina, Washington D.C., Ohio, Indiana, Florida, Utah, and Alaska. Additional states and events may be added during the course of the tour.
Duncan wants to insure that he visits a mix of rural, urban, suburban and ethnically diverse districts and hears from a broad range of stakeholders, including students, parents, teachers, administrators and community and business leaders. Specific events will vary from small group private meetings to large public forums.
The meetings and events will be taped and reports and video summaries will be published on the department's website. Duncan said the tour will "Help launch an open, honest conversation about education reform, because this issue touches everybody in America.
"Education is not just an economic issue. It's a moral issue. It's the civil rights issue of our generation. We have an obligation to give every child in America an education that helps them succeed in their career and fulfill their role as active and involved citizens," he said.