U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan launched his “Strong Start, Bright Future” back-to-school bus tour yesterday in New Mexico. The tour includes several stops in New Mexico before heading to Texas, Arizona, and California.
New Mexico is a 2012 Race to the Top-Early Learning Challenge winner, receiving a total of $37.5 million to develop and support a system of early learning and development.
The kickoff event took place Monday the Santa Fe Children’s Project Early Learning Center where
Secretary Duncan toured classes and hold a town hall on the critical importance of expanding
early learning programs. From Santa Fe, Secretary Duncan traveled to Emerson Elementary in Albuquerque.
There, he highlighted successful turnaround efforts aimed at transforming low-performing schools into sites of educational excellence. ED’s School Improvement Program has invested up to $2 million per school to improve more than 1,300 low-performing schools. Day One of the bus tour, yesterday, concluded in Polvadera, north of Socorro, where Secretary Duncan toured Midway Elementary and hold a town hall-style meeting about education in rural areas, the use of technology to enhance teaching and learning, and the President’s ConnectED initiative to connect 99 percent of the nation’s students to high-speed Internet.
Socorro is serving as a model to other rural school systems that seek to bring Internet enabled educational technology to students, teachers, and families. Due to the district’s
partnership with the New Mexico Institute of Mining and Technology, a cell tower on top of a mountain now brings wireless Internet to Midway and its sister schools.
Secretary Duncan will make an additional stop at Columbus in southern New Mexico today, before moving on to stops in west Texas.
At stops along the tour, Secretary Duncan will discuss how investments in education are critical to our country’s future, and how state and local reforms are delivering encouraging results. The theme of “Strong Start, Bright Future” speaks to the importance of starting the school year off right and providing all our children with high-quality preschool to prepare them ultimately for success in college and careers.