As part of the U.S. Department of Education’s third annual back-to-school bus tour, Deputy Secretary Tony Miller and other senior Education Department staff will visit St. Louis on Wednesday, Sept. 19, and Thursday, Sept. 20, for school events that will highlight education successes and engage communities in conversations about school reform, college affordability and completion, community involvement and the link between education and jobs.
“America’s future is directly linked to the quality of education that we provide our children, young people and adults,” said U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan, who will begin the tour on Wednesday, Sept. 12, in Redwood City, Calif. “Education is the key to a vibrant middle class, strong national security and our global economic competitiveness.”
Duncan and his senior leaders are crisscrossing the country from Sept. 12-21, leading a series of events that reinforce the message that Education Drives America. Besides St. Louis, some of the other stops include Sacramento, Calif.; Reno, Nev.; Cheyenne, Wyo.; Denver; Topeka, Kan.; Kansas City, Mo.; Evansville, Ind.; Lexington, Ky.; Charleston, W.Va.; Roanoke, Va.; Richmond, Va.; and Washington, D.C.
Miller will host a town hall with community leaders, representatives of faith communities, school officials and students to discuss college access and affordability, especially for African-American students. The town hall will take place at Harris-Stowe State University in St. Louis. He will highlight the Department’s efforts to support communities, states and local schools to reduce dropout rates and increase academic success for African-American students. In addition, Miller will discuss the importance of increasing college graduation rates of minority students as part of the Administration’s efforts to meet the President’s national goal of once again leading the world in college completion by 2020.
In addition to Miller’s town hall, Department of Education senior officials will travel across St. Louis on Wednesday and Thursday for a number of other events outlined below: (Note: Exact times and locations will be announced soon.)
Wednesday, Sept. 19
- Greg Darnieder, Duncan’s senior advisor on the College Access Initiative, will meet with superintendents from St. Louis area schools. They will discuss education reform, ways the Department can assist states in these efforts and the Administration’s commitment to helping states turn around their lowest-performing schools.
- Brenda Girton-Mitchell, director of the Department’s Center for Faith-Based and Neighborhood Partnerships, will host a gathering of institutions of higher education to celebrate their participation in the President’s Interfaith and Community Service Campus Challenge. The gathering will focus on how all schools can benefit from increased interfaith cooperation and community service by participating in the President’s Challenge.
- Debra Saunders-White, deputy assistant secretary for Higher Education Programs, will visit Washington University to discuss improving the quality of postsecondary education and increasing student access through the federal initiative Fund for the Improvement of Postsecondary Education, better known as FIPSE.
- Girton-Mitchell will hold a town hall at Hancock Place Elementary School with WATCH D.O.G.S. (Dads of Great Students) to discuss the importance of parental engagement in education and to applaud the work of this organization that inspires and equips men to be the involved fathers, grandfathers, and role models that children need.
Thursday, Sept. 20
- Girton-Mitchell will visit the Fathers’ Service Center to meet with officials and commend their work in helping men become better, more responsible fathers.
- Girton-Mitchell will host a “Together for Tomorrow” roundtable on the value of community partnerships in helping to propel school improvement. The roundtable will take place at the office of Big Brothers and Big Sisters of Eastern Missouri. Michael Robbins, senior advisor for nonprofit partnerships in the Department’s Center for Faith-Based and Neighborhood Partnerships, and Ken Bedell, senior advisor in the Center for Faith-Based and Neighborhood Partnerships, will join Girton-Mitchell.
More specific details about the bus tour stops in St. Louis will become available as the time for events in this area draws closer. For live, up-to-the-minute updates from the road, follow the Education Drives America tour on Twitter using the hashtag #edtour12, or visit the Department’s bus tour blog. To receive media advisories, press releases, notifications about postings to the blog, and other special updates during the tour, subscribe to the Department’s new Education Drives America e-mail updates by clicking here.