U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan kicked off his three-day Great Lakes bus tour here, in a city he calls a national model for school reform, the Huffington Post reports.

“It wasn’t a coincidence that we wanted to start this bus tour in Pittsburgh,” Duncan told a gymnasium full of students, teachers and parents at Martin Luther King Elementary School. “I know you’ve had some tough conversations behind closed doors. But I know what you’re doing collectively is also a model for the country.”

Pittsburgh was just the first stop on Duncan’s back-to-school tour, which will roll through Pennsylvania, Ohio, Michigan, Wisconsin and Illinois…

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staff and wire services reports