New students. New staff members. In many states, you’re implementing new standards that come with even higher expectations and greater accountability. And in too many places, you and your teams are doing it all with less money. So I wanted to write as this new school year gets under way and thank you.
Here in Washington, I’m starting my fifth full school year as Secretary of Education. My job comes with its own challenges, but one of its great benefits is the vantage point I have to observe and support the great progress that’s happening in American education. We have a lot to celebrate, including the highest high school graduation rate in three decades and more young adults attending college than a decade ago.
Yet we have a long way to go. Too many young people—and especially too many students from low-income and vulnerable populations—aren’t participating in that success.
This week, I will visit early learning centers, schools, a community college, a university, and a military base in four Southwestern states. The theme of this year’s back-to-school bus tour is “Strong Start, Bright Future,” reflecting the importance of starting the school year with energy and focus, investing in early education for our youngest learners, and remaining committed to reforms that better serve our students and support our educators. I invite you to follow along online and hear what some of your colleagues are doing toward our shared goals. (If you’re a hashtag user, this trip is #EDtour13.)