Secretary of Education hits road to focus on our forgotten schools

WASHINGTON, DC: Though he might seem an unlikely PR ambassador, Secretary of Education Dick Riley has hit the road to draw attention to the progress and needs of rural public schools.

WASHINGTON, DC: Though he might seem an unlikely PR ambassador, Secretary of Education Dick Riley has hit the road to draw attention to the progress and needs of rural public schools.

WASHINGTON, DC: Though he might seem an unlikely PR ambassador,

Secretary of Education Dick Riley has hit the road to draw attention to

the progress and needs of rural public schools.



Riley embarked yesterday on a four-day ’Success Express’ bus tour. Not

coincidentally, the trip comes at the beginning of a new school

year.



Riley’s goodwill mission is also designed to showcase the progress being

made in the Mississippi Delta region, once viewed by leading experts as

an education wasteland. This perception, however, is starting to change

as image-conscious leaders of both political parties have come to better

appreciate the link between education and economic progress.



According to Tom Lyon, chief of the news branch of the Department of

Education (DOE), the tour will stop mostly at rural school

districts.



Riley will seek to highlight successes in reading and after-school

programs as well as in the use of technology.



’When people think of education, they think of suburban schools or

inner-city schools,’ said Lyon.



The bus tour is a good vehicle for promoting education, Lyon added,

because ’it presents an opportunity to meet more people. It’s better

than breezing through airports, and most of these towns (on the tour)

don’t even have airports.’



While the DOE considered doing some live broadcasts from the tour, they

eventually discarded the idea due to the cost. Still, the education

trade press will join Riley on his jaunt, along with the national

president of the PTA, governors from both political parties and state

education officials. Among the tour’s sponsors are Alltel, Bell South

and Nokia.



Widmeyer-Baker Group SVP David Frank, previously director of

communications at the DOE, believes there is an acute need to draw

attention to the plight of rural schools. ’They’re less able to get

teachers in courses like math and science,’ he explained, noting that

Riley took a similar tour last year of southeastern states.



’It generated good feelings,’ he said.



Have you registered with us yet?

Register now to enjoy more articles and free email bulletins

Register
Already registered?
Sign in