Working Jointly to Create World-Class Schools

Now that our nation’s children are back in school, I will be travelling through six states with this important message: our nation’s long-term economic security is inextricably linked to education. We have to educate our way to a enhanced economy.

The jobs of today and tomorrow will need knowledge workers with some post secondary training, whether it is an associate or bachelor’s degree, or technical training obtainable from a vocational school or community college.

Unfortunately, America has a long way to go before we can truly say we’re educating today’s children to be competitive in the knowledge economy. By many indicators, we’re falling far short.

The Obama administration has a cradle-to-career agenda to support states and districts as they reform their schools and make college more affordable for students. This agenda is intended around key principles, including:

* Creating premature learning systems that align all of their resources to get our youngest children ready for kindergarten.
* Raising standards so they really prepare students for success in college and careers.
* Improving the quality of teaching in the classroom by improving the preparation, professional development, and estimate of teachers and principals.
* And turning around determinedly low-performing schools that have been failing students for decades or even generations.

It’s an aggressive agenda, and we’re backing it up with unprecedented investments in reform. We’ve already made the largest investment in higher education since the GI Bill. We’re creating new incentives for states to align their early learning programs to make certain all children are ready for kindergarten. Through Race to the Top, states have made more progress in reform over the past two years than in the previous decade. And the President has a plan to fix No Child Left Behind by offering states suppleness from its one-size-fits all mandates.

Nevertheless, reform will occur in states and communities. Our job in Washington is to give resources and support for the excellent work happening in states and communities.

That’s why I’m so keyed up about this week’s bus tour. All across the Midwest, members of my team will be visiting communities where elected officials, union leaders, business owners, and teachers are working jointly to transform the lives of children.