Education Secretary Takes Cross-Country Bus Tour – Agency Mum on Who’s Footing the Bill

By Penny Starr | September 11, 2012 | 4:42 PM EDT

The "Education Drives America" bus, for the 2012 Back-to-School bus tour run by the U.S. Department of Education. (Photo: Department of Education)

( – Education Secretary Arne Duncan and other “top” officials leave on Wednesday for a cross-country bus tour dubbed “Education Drives America.”

The trip will take federal officials to 100 events in 12 states, beginning in Silicon Valley, Calif., and ending at the Department of Education’s headquarters in Washington, D.C. on Sept. 21.

The Department of Education (DoE) did not respond to questions from about the tour, specifically questions about how much the trip will cost and how it is being funded, details about the bus and whether the bus is the same one used for last year’s back-to-school bus trip.

On Monday, Martha Kanter, undersecretary at DOE, wrote about the trip on the agency’s website.

“We’ll be making stops to listen and to thank students, K-12 teachers, college and university professors, community leaders, business executives and others who have rolled up their sleeves to create and improve the educational opportunities whose quality and diversity will shape our nation’s future,” Kanter wrote.

Kanter’s blog is entitled “Lighting Candles Across America: The Back-to-School Bus Tour,” referring to former First Lady Eleanor Roosevelt’s praise of American inventors and entrepreneurs.

“This national movement to reform and improve education is well underway and gaining momentum each day, encouraged by President Obama and Secretary Duncan,” Kanter wrote.

Education Secretary Arne Duncan. (AP Photo/Pablo Martinez Monsivais)

“One of my responsibilities is to shine a spotlight on the innovators and entrepreneurs on the frontline of America ‘who would rather light a candle than curse the darkness,’ as Eleanor Roosevelt famously urged the generation on whose shoulders we stand,’” Kanter wrote.

A caption under a photograph of the bus, at the DOE website, called it a “sneak peek of the ‘Education Drives America’ bus.”

“The Education Drives America bus has a full tank of gas [and] is ready for the launch of ED’s back-to-school tour,” Cameron Brenchley wrote on the DOE website on Tuesday.

Brenchley encourages readers to follow the tour on Twitter, through the live streaming of parts of the tour on the DOE website, or to sign up for e-mail updates on the tour’s progress.

An interactive map is also posted on the DOE website, allowing visitors to see what event is taking place at what site and which federals officials are participating.

For example, on Monday, Sept. 17, Duncan will join “students, parents, teachers and community leaders” in Limon, Colo., to celebrate Constitution Day.

On Friday, Sept. 21, Duncan “will highlight First Lady Michelle Obama’s ‘Let’s Move!’ campaign” at health screenings for middle and high school students in Richmond, Va.