Friday, November 14, 2008

Obama and Our Schools

Nick Kristof with a great article calling on Obama to focus (and spend political capital) on education reform:

So let’s break for a quiz: Quick, what’s the source of America’s greatness?

Is it a tradition of market-friendly capitalism? The diligence of its people? The cornucopia of natural resources? Great presidents?

No, a fair amount of evidence suggests that the crucial factor is our school system — which, for most of our history, was the best in the world but has foundered over the last few decades. The message for Mr. Obama is that improving schools must be on the front burner...

...No family underscores the power of education more than Mr. Obama’s. His father began as a goat-herd in a remote village in Kenya, but his studies carried him to the University of Hawaii. And Mr. Obama himself has ridden the education escalator to the White House.

So Mr. Obama, let’s give others the chance to board the escalator that you and your father enjoyed. Let’s pick up where we left off in the 1970s and mount a national campaign to make high-school graduation truly universal, and to make a college education routine.

November 13, 2008
Op-Ed Columnist

Obama and Our Schools

President-elect Barack Obama and his aides are sending signals that education may be on the back burner at the beginning of the new administration. He ranked it fifth among his priorities, and if it is being downplayed, that’s a mistake.

We can’t meaningfully address poverty or grow the economy as long as urban schools are failing. Mr. Obama talks boldly about starting new high-tech green industries, but where will the workers come from unless students reliably learn science and math?

The United States is the only country in the industrialized world where children are less likely to graduate from high school than their parents were, according to a new study by the Education Trust, an advocacy group based in Washington.


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