Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Speak Up

The White House, Washington

Good morning,
The state of the American education system today is unacceptable. As many as one quarter of American students don’t finish high school. We've fallen to ninth place in the proportion of young people with college degrees. The quality of our math and science education lags behind many other nations.
For the sake of the next generation, and America's economic future, this has to change.
Providing our nation's students with a world-class education is a shared responsibility. We can't out-compete the rest of the world in the 21st century global economy unless we out-educate them. It's going to take all of us -- educators, parents, students, philanthropists, state and local leaders, and the federal government -- working together to prepare today’s students for the jobs of the 21st century.
That's why I want to hear from you. As President Obama's chief advisor on domestic policy, I focus much of my time on education reform. As part of the White House’s new Advise the Advisor program, I've posed a few key questions for parents, teachers and students to answer so we can get a sense of what’s working in your communities -- and what needs to change.
Take a minute to let me know what you think:
The good news is that we're making progress and seeing improvements around the country already, focusing on our own Three R's: responsibility, reform and results.
Take Miami Central High School, where the President and I traveled on Friday. Several years ago, Miami Central was struggling. Achievement was lagging at the school, and morale was down. Graduation rates hovered at just 36 percent.  But the Miami Central community came together. They set high expectations, and they did the hard work to reform their school. They've turned around their performance -- academic achievement is improving, and graduation rates have improved by nearly 30 points. Miami Central is now well on its way toward providing college and career readiness for its students.
Today, we're visiting TechBoston Academy, a great example of private-sector, non-profit and higher-education partners working with communities to help prepare students with the knowledge and skills they'll need to succeed in college and careers. At TechBoston Academy sixth grade through twelfth grade students learn by using technology in their classrooms. Thanks to strong partners, TechBoston students have access to a 21st century curriculum, early enrollment in college classes, and an extended day program to provide enrichment and to deepen learning in core subjects.
These schools in Miami and Boston are just two examples of success. I'm looking for feedback from more all-star schools, as well as your strategies and challenges to reform our education system. 
As I mentioned earlier, education reform is a shared responsibility for all of us, and it's one that we at the White House take very seriously.
Melody Barnes
Director of the Domestic Policy Council
P.S. If you're passionate about education issues we've set up a special email list focused on education  that will offer more frequent updates on the topic moving forward:

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