U.S. Education Secretary visits KC metro

U.S. Education Secretary visits KC metro
Published: Sep. 6, 2023 at 1:01 PM CDT
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KANSAS CITY, Mo. (KCTV) - A week-long, multi-state road trip with the U.S. Secretary of Education made stops in Kansas and Missouri Tuesday.

U.S. Secretary of Education Miguel Cardona said the tour showcases the many ways schools, families, and communities are doubling down on accelerating students learning.

“We know public schools are the great equalizer and what I saw here, it really put faces to the ‘Raise The Bar’ strategy,” he said. “We really need to support this, we need to support our public schools, we need to support parents, our educators. Ultimately all that goes to our students.”

The Back-To-School Bus Tour: Raise The Bar initiative highlights academic and mental health programs to recruit and support educators. It’s funded by President Joe Biden’s American Rescue Plan providing resources to K-12 schools, colleges, and universities to re-open schools post-pandemic.

But still, changes need to be made to ensure students’ success.

“We’ve normalized reading achievement at 40% mastery and that’s unacceptable. When I talk about ‘Raise The Bar’, we need to raise the bar. Our students should be leading the world. Right now, we rank somewhere in the 30s compared to other countries -- that’s unacceptable.”

Cardona and Kansas Governor Laura Kelly headed to the state capital first at Topeka Center for Advanced Learning and Career to learn about their recovery efforts. They also got the chance to check out the Brown vs. Board of Education historic site.

They headed east to join Federal Communications Chairwoman Jessica Rosenworcel at KU to officially kick off the bus tour and celebrate 50 years of the TRIO program, which is a range of federal programs to help identify students facing disadvantages and giving them the tools to put them on a positive trajectory.

The day ended in KCMO at the Mattie Rhodes Center alongside U.S. Representative Emanuel Cleaver.

Cardona hit on the aspect of rural vs. urban success and trials during this time. He said he noticed a great divide when looking at internet access for rural schools when schools came back to school during the pandemic. He said urban areas have their own struggles, but the overall reason for this tour is to discuss what can be done moving forward.

“We’ve also normalized disparity in achievement in many of our urban centers and many times in our urban communities, the resources are not the same and our students are not achieving at their potential. So, at the end of the day, they’re all kids and parents want the best for their kids.”

READ MORE: Education News