U.S. Deputy Secretary of Education and Other Senior Department Officials will Visit St. Louis as Part of 2012 Cross-Country Back-To-School Bus Tour Promoting Education

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As part of the U.S. Department of Education’s third annual back-to-school bus tour, Deputy Secretary Tony Miller, joined by other senior Education Department staff, will visit the St. Louis area on Wednesday, Sept. 19, for school events that will highlight education successes and engage communities in conversations about school reform, college affordability and completion, community involvement and the link between education and jobs.

“America’s future is directly linked to the quality of education that we provide our children, young people and adults,” said U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan, who began the tour on Wednesday, Sept. 12, in Redwood City, Calif. “Education is the key to a vibrant middle class, strong national security and our global economic competitiveness.”

Duncan and his enior leadership team are crisscrossing the country through Sept. 21, leading a series of events highlighting the theme that Education Drives America. Besides St. Louis, some of the other stops include Sacramento, Calif.; Reno, Nev.; Cheyenne, Wyo.; Denver; Topeka, Kan.; Kansas City, Mo.; Evansville, Ind.; Lexington, Ky.; Charleston, W.Va.; Roanoke, Va.; Richmond, Va.; and Washington, D.C.

Miller will host a town hall with community leaders, representatives of faith communities, school officials and students at 12:30 p.m. at Harris-Stowe State University, recent recipient of a more than $1.5 million Strengthening Historically Black Colleges and Universities grant from the Department. He will discuss college access and affordability, and highlight the Department’s efforts to support communities, states and local schools to reduce dropout rates and increase the academic success of African-American students. Miller also will address the importance of increasing college graduation rates of minority students as part of the Administration’s efforts to meet the President’s national goal of once again leading the world in college completion by 2020. John Wilson, executive director of the White House Initiative on Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs), and Brenda Girton-Mitchell, director of the Department’s Center for Faith-Based and Neighborhood Partnerships, will join Miller for the town hall. A media availability will follow.

In addition to the town hall, Department of Education senior officials will travel across St. Louis on Sept. 19 for a number of other events outlined below.

For live, up-to-the-minute updates from the road, follow the Education Drives America tour on Twitter using the hashtag #edtour12, or visit the Department’s bus tour blog. To receive media advisories, press releases, notifications about postings to the blog, and other special updates during the tour, subscribe to the Department’s new Education Drives America e-mail updates by clicking here.