U.S. Department of Education Announces 'Education and the Economy' Back-to-School Bus Tour with Stops Around the Great Lakes

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U.S. Department of Education Announces 'Education and the Economy' Back-to-School Bus Tour with Stops Around the Great Lakes

Duncan and senior staff will hold dozens of events, meet with teachers, students, parents, administrators and education stakeholders

August 30, 2011

U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan and senior Department officials will visit states throughout the Midwest for “Education and the Economy,” the Department's second annual back-to-school bus tour from Sept.7 to Sept. 9. The tour will kick off in Pennsylvania before heading to states around the Great Lakes, including Ohio, Michigan, Indiana, Wisconsin and Illinois.

Duncan and senior staff will hold various events throughout the week to promote the work of our nation’s educators, parents, administrators and education stakeholders in building a strong cradle-to-college and -career continuum that prepares our students to compete in the growing global economy. Throughout the tour, Duncan will discuss the Administration's dual commitments - investing in education to secure our future and reducing spending while increasing efficiency.

“No other issue is more critical to our economy and our way of life than education,” said U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan. “While visiting cities across the Midwest, I want to take the opportunity to promote the valuable work teachers, parents, and administrators do every day to change students’ lives and ultimately, invest in our nation’s future.”

On Wednesday, Sept. 7, Duncan will travel to Pittsburgh, Pa., where he will join Pittsburgh Superintendent Linda Lane for a meeting with local labor leaders to talk about labor management collaboration at Pittsburgh King PreK-8. Duncan will then travel to Erie, Pa., to highlight the positive impact of high-quality early learning programs and the Department’s recently launched state-level grant competition, the Race to the Top-Early Learning Challenge, at the Early Connections Early Learning Center. U.S. Sen. Robert Casey Jr. is scheduled to join via Skype.

From there, Duncan will head to Cleveland, Ohio, to participate in a “Connecting Cleveland’s Communities and Classrooms” panel discussion with national and local leaders in community service at East Technical High School. Participants will include Joshua DuBois, executive director of The White House Office of Faith-based and Neighborhood Partnerships; Acting CEO for the Corporation for National and Community Service, Robert Velasco II; state Superintendent of Public Instruction Stan Heffner; Cleveland Mayor Frank Jackson; and Cleveland schools CEO Eric Gordon. Duncan will finish off the day in Toledo, Ohio, with Toledo Superintendent Jerome Pecko. They will meet with local labor leaders and attend a peer panel review meeting at the Toledo Federation of Teachers Union Hall.

On Thursday, Sept. 8, Duncan will start the day in Detroit, Mich., where he will join Gov. Rick Snyder, State Superintendent of Public Instruction Mike Flanagan, Detroit Mayor Dave Bing, and Emergency Financial Manager Roy Roberts for an event at Charles H. Wright Academy of Arts and Science to highlight recent steps initiated by the state and city of Detroit to provide better support and turn around persistently low-performing schools across Michigan. In the afternoon, Duncan will head to Merrillville, Ind., to give the keynote address at the One Region, One Vision committee’s annual meeting, cohosted by the Northwest Indiana Quality of Life Council. Duncan’s remarks will draw on the importance of engaging all sectors - public and private - in education, and the role education plays in restoring and sustaining a vibrant economy. Participants will include State Superintendent of Public Instruction Tony Bennett and hundreds of local business leaders.

On Friday, Sept. 9, Duncan will head to Milwaukee, Wis., to visit the Milwaukee School of Career and Technical Education, which is a science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) focused school that was awarded a federal School Improvement Grant (SIG) in 2010. National and local leaders including U.S. Sens. Herb Kohl and Ron Johnson, State Superintendent of the Department of Public Instruction Tony Evers, Milwaukee Mayor Tom Barrett and Milwaukee Superintendent Gregory Thornton will join Duncan for a classroom visit and town hall to promote the importance of turning around persistently low-achieving schools.

Finally, Duncan will close the bus tour on Friday afternoon with a stop in Chicago, Ill., where he will visit Carl Schurz High School. He will tour the school and hold a panel discussion with local leaders, including Gov. Pat Quinn, State Sen. Kimberly Lightford, Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel, Chicago public schools CEO Jean-Claude Brizard and state labor leaders, to discuss and celebrate the progressive education reform happening across Illinois.

Senior Department officials will hold additional events highlighting the Administration’s work to leverage education reform and innovation across the country. Through various events, they will discuss an array of federal initiatives including the Race to the Top-Early Learning Challenge, K-12 reform, transforming the teaching profession, civil rights enforcement, efforts to better serve students with disabilities and English Language Learners, Promise Neighborhoods, the Investing in Innovation (i3) fund, STEM education, increasing college access and attainment as well as vocational and adult education.

Last year, Duncan toured cities in states across the Northeast and South, highlighting the courageous education reform happening across the country. This year, Duncan will discuss how that courageous work, paired with investments in education, are critical to creating and filling future jobs and improving the U.S. economy.

Additional information about Duncan’s schedule and senior Department officials’ events will be released as details are available.