Education Secretary Arne Duncan set out Wednesday on a three-day bus tour across the Rust Belt manufacturing region. His message is that education can help revitalize the economy in distressed areas that had been dominated by industries such as coal, steel and the production of cars.

Duncan was met by a marching band at an elementary school in Pittsburgh. He used the setting to showcase how teachers' unions have collaborated with district managers to improve education.

At a stop at an early learning center in Erie, Pa., Duncan said in tough times there's even more of a need to invest in education. Later, he planned to meet with faith leaders in Cleveland.

His bus tour also will take him to Indiana, Illinois, Michigan and Wisconsin.