U.S. Secretary of Education John B. King Jr. will visit Phoenix, Arizona, on Thursday, Dec. 15, as part of the final leg of the Education Department’s “Opportunity Across America” tour, which began in January 2016. He will first participate in a higher education roundtable at Phoenix College that focuses on improving outcomes for all students. And later in the afternoon, King will participate in a roundtable discussion at Arizona State University’s Downtown Campus, with local high school students and Latino civil rights community members on the intersections of education, civil rights and immigration.
During the tour, King also will discuss the good work being done in schools and communities across the country, and encourage states to continue building on the progress our nation has made to deliver on the promise of a world-class education for every child. He also will highlight hard work by states, districts and institutions of higher education to move the country forward over the last eight years under the Obama Administration, including:
- High school graduation rates are at an all-time high (83 percent), 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, which 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 expanded Pell Grants and programs like income-driven repayment plans;
- Students and families have greater access to the information they need to make the best choices for postsecondary education—from easier and now earlier financial aid information through the FAFSA to the next generation of college transparency with tools such as College Scorecard
- Hundreds of thousands more children have access to high-quality early education than previously; and
- The Department’s Office for Civil Rights has resolved in excess of 66,000 cases—more than any other administration.
As part of the Opportunity Across America Tour, King has crisscrossed the country this year promoting equity and excellence at every level of education to ensure that all children have the opportunity to succeed; supporting and lifting up the teaching profession; and continuing the Department’s focus on returning America to the top of the rankings in college completion by ensuring more students earn an affordable degree with real value. He has visited El Paso and Houston, Texas; Washington, D.C.; Orlando, Florida; Philadelphia, Pennsylvania; Wilmington, Delaware; Charlottesville, Virginia; Bristol, Knoxville, Chattanooga and Memphis, Tennessee; Harvest, Alabama; Little Rock, Arkansas; Indianola, Mississippi; and Monroe, Baton Rouge and New Orleans, Louisiana.