First Lady Michelle Obama will join U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan in launching the fifth annual back-to-school bus tour Monday in Atlanta. This year's "Partners in Progress" trip will include stops in Georgia, Alabama and Tennessee, highlighting the states' commitment to encourage reform and innovation and help all students achieve success.
Duncan's day will begin at 9:30 a.m. ET with an event at Spelman College where he will host a roundtable with students to spotlight the importance of teacher recruitment. Teachers are needed at all K-12 levels, especially in the fields of science, technology, engineering and math (STEM). A press availability will follow at 10:50 a.m. ET.
At 1:25 p.m. ET, Mrs. Obama will meet Secretary Duncan at Booker T. Washington High School – which opened in 1924 as the first public high school for African-Americans in Georgia that includes Dr. Martin L. King Jr. among its graduates. The First Lady will begin her visit to the school with a short tour of a college fair that will be set up for students. The tour will be covered by a pre-determined press pool.
Mrs. Obama and Secretary Duncan will then deliver remarks at a "Prep Rally" in the high school's gymnasium as part of the First Lady's Reach Higher initiative, which aims to increase college access and opportunity for all students. Reach Higher focuses on the importance of pursuing and completing some form of higher education and encourages students to do their part to answer the President's call to ensure that by the year 2020, America once again has the highest proportion of college graduates in the world. A press availability with Secretary Duncan only will follow at 2:35 p.m.ET. The Prep Rally will be open press. Note: reporters wishing to cover this event must RSVP to Kimberly Willis Green at [email protected] by 2 p.m. ET Friday.
From Atlanta, Duncan will travel by bus to Carrollton, Georgia, for a 5 p.m. ET event showcasing the Southwire Company's 12 for Life program. Southwire, North America's leading manufacturer of wire and cable used in the transmission of electricity, has joined with the Carroll County School System to place at-risk students in jobs at Southwire, allowing them to earn wages while working toward a diploma. Afterward, a press availability will be held at 6:20 p.m.ET.
On Tuesday, Duncan will travel to Alabama and Tennessee to hold events in Birmingham and Huntsville in Alabama and Chattanooga in Tennessee. On Wednesday, he will conclude the tour in Tennessee with events 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.
For instance, Johan E. Uvin, deputy secretary for career, technical and adult education, will tour the Carroll County Career Academy at 1 p.m. ET Monday in Carollton, Georgia. And, Alejandra Ceja, executive director of the White House Initiative on Educational Excellence for Hispanic Americans, will participate in a "Partners in Progress Promoting Education – Youth Town Hall" at 5 p.m. ET Wednesday at Berkmar High School in Lilburn, Georgia.
Following are details of Secretary Duncan's Monday activities.