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For Immediate Release

Kerry-Ann Hamilton
Media Relations Manager


Education Secretary Arne Duncan and Talk Show Host Tom Joyner Visit Howard University

Photos by Justin D. Knight
L-R Howard University President Sidney A. Ribeau, Education Secretary Arne Duncan and Tom Joyner engage Kweku Sumbry, a sixth grade student at the Howard University Middle School of Mathematics and Science (MS)² .

WASHINGTON (February 26, 2009) - Arne Duncan, Secretary of the U.S. Department of Education, underscored the need for a solid education for all Americans, particularly those in urban public schools and Historically Black Colleges and Universities during his visit to Howard University today.

The visit showcased the Tom Joyner Teacher Certification Scholarship Program made possible by a $100,000 award to the University from the Tom Joyner Foundation. The teacher certification scholarships are awarded to teachers in the Howard University Middle School of Mathematics and Science (MS)² who are completing teacher licensure requirements through an alternative certification program delivered by the School of Education faculty.

“I think what Howard is doing is phenomenal,” Duncan said. “I think all HBCUs [Historically Black Colleges and Universities] have a critical and unique role to play as they have done an excellent job at nurturing students and ensuring that they succeed.”

The Secretary, Mr. Joyner, and Thomas Joyner, Jr, Foundation President and CEO, met with Howard University President Sidney A. Ribeau. They were joined by Leslie T. Fenwick, Ph.D., Dean of the School of Education and Alvin Thornton, Ph.D., Interim Provost and Chief Academic Officer before visiting the Howard University Middle School of Mathematics and Science (MS)² .

“We are thrilled that one of Secretary Duncan’s first campus visits is to Howard and our Middle School of Math and Science,” Ribeau said. “We engaged Secretary Duncan about our research and model programs, and we certainly look forward to more dialogue as the University continues to address the tough challenges facing the nation and the world.”

Avery Coffey, 11, welcomed Secretary Duncan to (MS)² , which houses 300 students in grades six through eight. Head of School Sue P. White and CFO Yohance Maqubela took the group on a tour of the school. They met students and teachers, including Kimberly Worthy, the 2009 D.C. Teacher of the Year, who also participates in the Tom Joyner Teacher Certification Scholarship Program.

Worthy’s students told the Secretary about their aspirations for the future and lauded their teacher for being challenging, but fun.
(MS)² opened its doors in the fall of 2005 as the first charter school established by a University in the Washington metropolitan area. By providing a curriculum that is competitive, and by improving the quality of teachers through professional development programs, Howard University is fully engaged in preparing youngsters for a rapidly changing economy and a workforce that is increasingly dependent on a knowledge of science, technology, engineering and mathematics.

Secretary of Education Arne Duncan engages Howard University students.

Secretary Duncan also acknowledged the challenges facing the nation's historically black colleges.

“It is important that our HBCUs not only survive, but thrive,” Duncan added. “We are planning to make significant investments in higher education by making more Pell Grants available, and grants to the states as part of our commitment to make college more affordable and accessible.”

The teams from the Department of Education, the Tom Joyner Foundation, and the White House Initiative on HBCUs also met with Howard University students including freshman Britney Wilson, who was the 2008 recipient of the inaugural Tom Joyner Foundation Full Ride Scholarship.

Secretary Duncan was also met by a contingent of students from the Chicago Public School System who currently attend Howard University. Duncan served as CEO of the Chicago Public Schools from June 2001 through December 2008 becoming the longest-serving big-city education superintendent in the country. He implored them to use their summer and winter breaks to go back to their communities in Chicago and encourage other young people to pursue a college education.

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