During his State of the Union address, President Obama underscored the importance of education to America’s future success and called for a new law to replace the No Child Left Behind Act in 2011. In response, Bob Wise, president of the Alliance for Excellent Education and former governor of West Virginia, made the following statement:
“President Obama made ‘winning the future’ the theme of his State of the Union address, but that requires quick federal action to change an education system that often lives in the past.
“Far too many of America’s high schools were designed for a time when the nation could afford to have large numbers of students drop out of high school. In today’s information age economy, however, the nation needs the contributions of every student and every student needs an education that prepares him or her for college and career. By 2018, more than 60 percent of job openings will require workers with at least some college education.
“No Child Left Behind has driven gains in the early grades and highlighted large achievement gaps between students, but it has largely ignored a high school dropout crisis that claims more than one million students every year. That makes it a compact disc in an iPod world-it’s still around, but is in desperate need of an upgrade.
“The president made repeated calls for Democrats and Republicans to work together for the betterment of the nation. In today’s highly political environment that’s no easy task. But the journey of a million miles begins with one step. It is my belief that education reform, which has traditionally been a bipartisan issue, can be that first step.”
The Alliance for Excellent Education is a Washington, DC-based national policy and advocacy organization that works to improve national and federal policy so that all students can achieve at high academic levels and graduate from high school ready for success in college, work, and citizenship in the twenty-first century. For more information about the Alliance for Excellent Education, please visit www.all4ed.com.