U.S. Education Secretary Arne Duncan To Bring 5th Annual Back-To-School Bus Tour To Alabama And Tennessee

Friday, September 5, 2014

U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan will bring his fifth annual back-to-school bus tour to Alabama and Tennessee on Tuesday, where he will visit Birmingham, Huntsville and Chattanooga.  Mr. Duncan will discuss President Obama’s My Brother’s Keeper Initiative in Birmingham and then highlight the importance of science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) education in Huntsville. In Chattanooga he will spotlight the importance of high-quality early learning opportunities in young children’s educational development. 

This year’s “Partners in Progress” trip will also include stops in Georgia, highlighting the three states' commitment to encourage reform and innovation in education and help all students achieve success. Traveling through places that represent the cradle of America’s civil rights effort, the tour places a focus on important work that is closing gaps of opportunity many young Americans face.

At 9:10 a.m. CT, Mr. Duncan will participate with U.S. Secretary of Housing and Urban Development Julián Castro, Birmingham Mayor William Bell, young men and women from local high schools and community members in a My Brother’s Keeper Roundtable Discussion at John Herbert Phillips Academy in Birmingham.  Rev. Brenda Girton-Mitchell, director of the Center for Faith-Based and Neighborhood Partnerships at the U.S. Department of Education will moderate the discussion and a press availability will follow at 10:20 a.m. CT.

Next, Mr. Duncan will visit the NASA Davidson Rocket Center in Huntsville, at 12:50 p.m. CT, for a Space Camp tour and a STEM Education Town Hall at 1:20 p.m. CT.  The town hall panelists will include NASA Astronaut and Educator Richard “Ricky” Arnold and students. A press availability will follow at 2:20 p.m. CT.

Then Mr. Duncan will head to Chattanooga, for a 5:40 p.m. event at the Chambliss Center for Children, where he will visit the classroom of pre-kindergarten teacher Keisha Fifer and read a book to about a dozen three-year-olds. 

Afterward, he will host an “Early Learning Town Hall” in the center’s gymnasium, exchanging ideas with about 100 parents, teachers and stakeholders on what works in effective early learning programs. Among those in attendance will be Chattanooga Mayor Andy Berke; Phil Acord, president and CEO of the Chambliss Center; Melanie Morris, a teacher in the Hamilton County Schools and others.  Following the town hall, Mr. Duncan will hold a press availability at 7 p.m. ET.

These events will conclude the second day of the 2014 bus tour, which begins Monday in Atlanta and moves through Alabama and on to Tennessee on Wednesday.  He will conclude the tour in Tennessee with activities in Nashville and Memphis.

As part of the "Partners in Progress" tour, senior department officials will hold additional events highlighting the Obama administration's work to increase access and opportunity for students.

Preceding Secretary Duncan’s visit on Monday, at 3:30 p.m. CT, David Johns, executive director of the White House Initiative on Educational Excellence for African Americans will visit Memphis, Tennessee for a rally and panel discussion at Shelby County Schools Frances E. Coe Auditorium.  Joining Johns will be Teach For America; Memphis Urban League; NAACP; 100 Black Men of Memphis; Memphis Talent Dividend; Stand for Children – Memphis; and Shelby County Schools. 

The rally will include remarks from David Johns, Shelby County Board of Education Chairman Kevin Woods, and other local leaders, as well as student performances. The panel discussion will focus on the role of community engagement in education, moderated by Cardell Orrin, Stand for Children – Memphis city director.

Also on Monday, Libby Doggett, deputy assistant secretary of education for policy and early learning, will join a roundtable discussion on pre-kindergarten education at 5 p.m. ET at the Normal Park Museum Magnet School - Lower School Campus in Chattanooga.  At 9:30 a.m. ET Tuesday, she will visit the Siskin Children's Institute, followed by an 11 a.m. tour of the Creative Discovery Museum, both in Chattanooga.  At 2 p.m., she will participate in an early learning roundtable at the Chambliss Center.

Meanwhile, Johan E. Uvin, acting assistant secretary in the Office of Career, Technical and Adult Education, will visit the Volkswagen Academy at 9 a.m. Tuesday in Ooltewah.  At 12:30 p.m. ET, he will tour the Chattanooga State Technical Community College’s Wacker Institute and at 9 a.m. Wednesday, he will visit Walker Valley High School in Cleveland, Tennessee.

In addition, Jill Levine, principal at Normal Park Museum Magnet School in Chattanooga and a U.S. Department of Education principal ambassador fellow, will participate in a teacher leadership roundtable at 2 p.m. ET Tuesday at the Public Education Foundation in Chattanooga.



Chattanooga Resident Travels To D.C. To Walk In College Graduation

Local resident Erica Smith has earned her bachelor’s degree in Business Management from WGU Tennessee, and traveled to Washington, D.C., to receive her diploma at the university’s summer commencement. WGU Tennessee is an online, nonprofit university formed through a partnership between the state of Tennessee and nationally recognized Western Governors University as part of Governor ... (click for more)

Cleveland State Foundation Hosts Dinner Reception To Honor Donors

The Cleveland State Community College Foundation hosted a dinner reception on Tuesday night at the Cleveland Country Club. The purpose of the event was to express appreciation to community members who have provided financial support to Cleveland State over the past year, while also giving them opportunity to hear how their support is impacting the success of the College and students. ... (click for more)

Karen Saxton, 64, Killed In Crash On Highway 58 Saturday Afternoon

One person was killed in a crash on Highway 58 on Saturday afternoon. The victim was identified as Karen Saxton, 64. Chattanooga Police responded at 5:15 p.m. to the wreck in the 5900 block of Highway 58.  Upon arrival officers located a vehicle driven by 21-year-old Allen Dickerson in the northbound lane and the Saxton vehicle in the southbound lane. Police said ... (click for more)

Juvenile Shot On East 14th Street On Friday

A juvenile was shot Friday evening on East 14th Street. The Chattanooga Police Department responded at 6:45 p.m. to a person shot in the 2000 block of East 14th Street. Upon arrival, Officers located a male victim suffering from a gunshot wound to the abdomen. Hamilton County EMS responded to the scene and transported the victim to a local hospital. Members of the Violent ... (click for more)

Arming Teachers With Guns Will Be Too Dangerous - And Response (4)

Arming teachers with guns in the classroom, as Bill Lee proposes, would be the single most dangerous thing to happen to students in Tennessee history. Students and teachers in close proximity to loaded firearms daily? Across this state, in middle schools alone, there are probably hundreds of student/teacher conflicts a day. What if a student got hold of gun in a struggle with ... (click for more)

Roy Exum: On Saving A Soul

Not so long ago a top writer for the Washington Post was going through some of President Ronald Reagan’s papers and, among those his wife Nancy cherished, the Post’s Karen Tumulty happened to come across a deeply-moving letter. Four pages and written by his hand, it was a heartfelt message written by the president to his wife Nancy’s father in August of 1982. President Reagan ... (click for more)