U.S. Department of Education Announces Seventh Annual Back-to-School Bus Tour: “Opportunity Across America”

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U.S. Secretary of Education John B. King Jr. and senior Department of Education officials will launch the seventh and final back-to-school bus tour to celebrate progress in communities and states across the country. The tour will kick off Monday, Sept. 12, in the nation’s capital and end in Louisiana, on Friday, Sept. 16, 2016.

This year’s “Opportunity Across America” tour will include stops in Washington, D.C.; Charlottesville, Virginia; Bristol, Knoxville, Chattanooga and Memphis, Tennessee; Harvest, Alabama; Little Rock, Arkansas; Indianola, Mississippi; and Monroe, Baton Rouge and New Orleans, Louisiana. King and other senior Department officials will hold events touting the Administration’s key initiatives over eight years, highlighting the progress made to expand opportunity across the nation and the groundwork laid for continued momentum.

President Barack Obama entered office in 2009 with a comprehensive vision for improving our education system to advance our children’s opportunity and success. That vision included efforts to address the dropout crisis, improve student achievement, and increase graduation rates; expand equity in education through stronger schools; ensure all students achieve high standards that prepare them for college and career; and grow innovation and investment in what works, while safeguarding the right of all students to a world-class education.

Thanks to the hard work of educators, state and local leaders, communities, parents, families, and students, the nation has made significant educational progress over the last eight years. High school graduation rates are at an all-time high, and the dropout rate has decreased—with all groups making progress, and students of color closing gaps. The nation has a new education law, the Every Student Succeeds Act, passed with bipartisan support and signed by President Obama in December 2015 that offers the chance to reclaim the promise of an excellent, well-rounded education for every student. More states have implemented their own unique plans for education reform and school turnarounds. More individuals now have access to programs to offset the rising costs of higher education, including expanding Pell Grants and making student debt more manageable. More students and families have access to the information they need to make the best choice about college—from easier and now earlier financial aid to the next generation of college transparency with tools like College Scorecard. And more students have access to pre-K, free community college, and computer science classes.

To build on our prosperity and competitiveness as a nation, the Administration has worked diligently to make a positive difference for students and to continue the work to deliver on the promise of a world-class education for every child.

Below are preliminary details of bus tour activities. Additional details and exact timing for each site will be released the day prior to the announcement. Each event will include a press availability with King and local leaders.

To RSVP for stops on the tour, please email [email protected].

Follow the bus tour on social media at #OpportunityTour.

TOPIC: Rally to celebrate eight years of expanding opportunity across America and bus send-off
WHEN: Monday morning, Sept. 12
WHERE: Front Courtyard, Lyndon Baines Johnson Department of Education Building, 400 Maryland Ave., S.W., Washington, D.C.

TOPIC Investing in Innovation (i3) and Computer Science for All
WHEN: Monday afternoon, Sept. 12
WHERE: Buford Middle School, 1000 Cherry Ave., Charlottesville, Virginia

TOPIC: ConnectED
WHEN Tuesday morning, Sept. 13
WHERE: Vance Middle School, 815 Edgemont Ave., Bristol, Tennessee

TOPIC: America’s College Promise
WHEN:Tuesday afternoon, Sept. 13
WHERE: Pellissippi State Community College, Knoxville, Tennessee

TOPIC: Teacher Leadership and Lifting up Educators
WHEN: Tuesday afternoon, Sept. 13
WHERE: Battle Academy, 1601 Market St., Chattanooga, Tennessee

TOPIC: Criminal Justice Reform and Second Chance Pell
WHEN: Wednesday morning, Sept. 14
WHERE: Limestone Correctional Facility, 28779 Nick Davis Rd., Harvest, Alabama
NOTE: As this event is at a correctional facility, protocols on media RSVPs to follow in more detail

TOPIC: College Scorecard and FAFSA
WHEN: Wednesday afternoon, Sept. 14
WHERE: Craigmont High School, 3333 Covington Pike, Memphis, Tennessee

TOPIC: Preschool for All
WHEN: Thursday morning, Sept. 15
WHERE: Pike View Early Childhood Center, 441 McCain Blvd., North Little Rock, Arkansas

TOPIC: Promise Neighborhoods
WHEN: Thursday afternoon, Sept. 15
WHERE: Carver Elementary School, 404 Jefferson St., Indianola, Mississippi

TOPIC: Race to the Top and teacher leadership
WHEN: Thursday evening, Sept. 15
WHERE: Sallie Humble Elementary School, 3800 Westminster Ave., Monroe, Louisiana

TOPIC: Visit with Baton Rouge educators and students impacted by flooding
WHEN: Friday morning, Sept. 16
WHERE: University Terrace Elementary, 575 W Roosevelt St., Baton Rouge, Louisiana

TOPIC: College access, affordability, and completion event
WHEN: Friday morning, Sept. 16
WHERE: Louisiana State University, Baton Rouge, Louisiana

TOPIC: Turning around struggling schools
WHEN: Friday afternoon, Sept. 16
WHERE: Cohen College Prep, 3520 Dryades St., New Orleans, Louisiana