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Arne Duncan to Head South for Annual Back-to-School Bus Tour

Come ride—virtually, anyway—with U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan, as he heads out for his annual back-to-school bus tour. This year's trip, scheduled for Monday, Sept. 8, to Wednesday, Sept. 10, will take the secretary and senior department officials to schools in Alabama, Georgia, and Tennessee.

Politics K-12 readers will get a behind-the-scenes look at the trip, as I'll be hopping aboard for that Tuesday's long haul from Birmingham, Ala., to Chattanooga, Tenn., during which she'll be blogging, tweeting, and sharing her photos on Instagram.

These Southern states exemplify the theme of this year's tour, "Partners in Progress," which is aimed at highlighting states' commitments to the Obama administration's education agenda.

Georgia and Tennessee, in particular, have been big winners from the department's perspective. Both received significant Race to the Top awards and for the past four years have been working to implement several of the administration's policy priorities. Those include adopting college- and career-ready standards and assessments, along with new teacher evaluations, and turning around their poorest-performing schools.

The two states continued those efforts with waivers from the No Child Left Behind Act. The Education Department also granted Alabama a waiver to begin some of those same efforts.

"As our children head back to school, I am optimistic about our ability to elevate and strengthen education in America," said in a statement. "This bus tour through Tennessee, Georgia, and Alabama is an opportunity to see innovation in education at work and discuss progress, promise and results. I look forward to meeting with teachers, parents, students and education leaders who have been our partners in making progress for our nation's children." 

In addition to education reforms included in Race to the Top and the administration waiver offering, Duncan will be highlighting state efforts on things like early-childhood education and the administration's newest initiative, My Brother's Keeper, a $200 million effort to improve educational outcomes for boys of color. 

Here's the schedule. We hope you join us online!

  • Monday, Sept. 8, Duncan travels to Georgia to host events in Atlanta and Carrollton.
  • Tuesday, Sept. 9, Duncan travels to Alabama and Tennessee to host events in Birmingham, Ala., Huntsville, Tenn., and Chattanooga, Tenn. 
  • Wednesday, Sept. 10, Duncan concludes the tour in Tennessee with events in Nashville and Memphis. 
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