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Arne Duncan Kicks off Back-To-School Bus Tour

By Lauren Camera — September 09, 2014 2 min read
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U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan kicked off his back-to-school bus tour Monday in Georgia, and will continue along his southern route through Alabama and Tennessee Tuesday and Wednesday.

On Monday, Duncan visited Spelman College, a historically black all-female college in Atlanta, to spotlight the importance of teacher recruitment, especially in the science, technology, engineering and math fields.

He was then joined by first lady Michelle Obama at Booker T. Washington High School, the first public high school for African-Americans in Georgia, where the two led a pep rally highlighting the first lady’s “Reach Higher” initiative, which aims to increase college access for students.

Duncan rounded out the day at the Southwire Company in Carrollton, Ga., to underscore the importance of preparing students for the workforce. Southwire, the country’s leading manufacturer of wire and cable used in the transmission of electricity, partners with the Carroll County School System to place at-risk students in jobs, allowing them to earn wages while working toward a diploma.

Notably, Duncan’s southern route isn’t the first time an education secretary has charted a course in the South as part of a back-to-school bus tour.

In 1999, Secretary of Education Richard W. Riley under the Clinton Administration, launched his tour in Chattanooga, Tenn., and traveled through Alabama, Georgia, and South Carolina before wrapping up in Charlotte, N.C.

I’ll be hopping on the bus with Duncan Tuesday morning in Birmingham, after Duncan participates in a roundtable discussion with U.S. Secretary of Housing and Urban Development Julián Castro and Birmingham Mayor William Bell to talk about My Brother’s Keeper, an administration initiative aimed at boosting opportunity for boys and men of color. (More on that to come!)

The other stops are as follows:

Tuesday, Sept. 9

  • Huntsville, Ala.: Duncan will tour a NASA space camp and participate in a town hall meeting highlighting the importance of STEM.
  • Chattanooga, Tenn.: Duncan will read to about a dozen 3-year-olds at a prekindergarten classroom and host a town hall meeting on effective early-learning programs.

Wednesday, Sept. 10

  • Nashville, Tenn.: Duncan will speak to parents alongside National PTA President Otha Thornton about their role in the education system.
  • Memphis, Tenn.: Duncan participates in a pep rally to showcase the academic gains made by schools in Tennessee’s school turnaround district.

You can follow along on Twitter (@politicsK12, #PK12onthebus) and at this live-feed of all tweets, photos, blogs, and more.