US Secretary of Education visits EPISD School

Says he has faith in new district leadership

EL PASO, Texas - United States Secretary of Education Arne Duncan stopped in El Paso during his "Back-to-School Bus Tour" Tuesday.

Duncan will be touring schools throughout the Southwest for the next week.

Duncan told an audience it is no mistake he chose to stop and visit an EPISD school. The secretary said he is hopeful with EPISD's new superintendent, Juan Cabrera, and other leaders. Duncan said the city of El Paso needs to "rally" behind the new group with support.

Cabrera said he is in the planning stages of forming a border coalition among superintendents of public school districts from Brownsville to El Paso.  He agreed that all of the school districts share a common and unique problem: finding ways to deal with immigrant students who are not proficient in English, yet must take standardized tests nonetheless.

"Our mission is to accept every kid that walks in this door," Cabrera said. "It doesn't matter how they got to us. But we have to acknowledge that the English deficiency is a problem. So help us solve that, with resources, money, programs, whatever that is."

Tuesday was Cabrera's second day as superintendent of EPISD.

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