The executive director of the Federation for Community Planning, John Begala, recently wrote that education should be the top urban priority at the national, state and local levels. In a guest article for The School Administrator, a monthly publication by the American Association of School Administrators, Begala called on all public systems serving children to concentrate on education.
“[O]ne public service is associated with practically every economic, social, public health and civic strength, and its absence or failure is associated with nearly every economic, social, health and civic problem,” he wrote. “That service is public education.”
The problems contributing to education failures – broken homes, mental illness, poor health, crime, abuse and neglect – are beyond the reach of schools, but are addressed by many organizations in isolation from the schools. Begala articulated a need to bind together those efforts with “leadership from school system executives in partnership with public and private health and social service organizations.”
His recommendations include making educational attainment a first priority for local leaders, requiring that any foundation serving children and families support academic success along with its own agenda, developing a system of sharing data between family service agencies and schools, and expanding social services delivered in schools, especially for secondary students. The June 2002 article sums up its message in the title: “It’s Education, Stupid.”
Read John Begala’s article for The School Administrator.
|An Education Election? Poll Reveals National Voter Emphasis on Education
Forty-four percent of adults surveyed in a Gallup Poll last month said education was “extremely important,” placing it among the top three most important issues. In choosing which party in Congress they say would do a better job dealing with education, there was a toss-up – 41 percent said Democrats and 35 percent said Republicans.
While education may still be up for grabs, the other two top issues have already been claimed – Republicans have a clear lead on responding to terrorism and Democrats have a clear lead on protecting Social Security. The poll suggests that education and how the parties shape their message on the issue could determine the 2002 congressional elections.