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In the past weekend, two more debates came and went, marking two more wasted opportunities for the Republican presidential candidates to address education reform. In an increasingly competitive global economy, finding a better way to educate future American generations is a topic that warrants serious discussion.
In all of the Republican debates combined, I have only heard one lousy question asked about education reform, met with the usual beige, non-committal stock responses, something like, “Education is important... Blah blah…the kids are the future … mumbles mumbles…our schools need fixing… did I mention I love kids?”
For all the talk about the economy, jobs and foreign policy, why is education reform continuously ignored? Every year, more American kids can’t read, can’t solve simple math without using a calculator, and are dropping out of high school at alarming rates. America does not have the luxury of ignoring the empty chairs in the classroom anymore.
We need a comprehensive set of questions targeting all levels of education, K-12 and beyond. Topics are endless; the education system is a mess. It’s time to tackle out-of-control spending on education, the failure of “No Child Left Behind,” the charter school debate, school choice, tenure reform, merit-based pay, home schooling, and more. Let’s ditch the feel-good blanket political statements and get down to brainstorming innovative and specific solutions.
I propose a GOP presidential debate centered solely on education. Questions should be asked not by the media but by experts and experiences professionals in the field of education, teachers, administrators, education experts and the most importantly students and parents.
The media may be partly to blame for the lack of coverage in the battle for comprehensive education reform, but we are no better for allowing our candidates to ignore the issue. Our children’s education is too important to sit back and allow the mainstream media and others to ignore. So next time you have the opportunity to ask any question of any politician, why not consider asking one about education? Until “we the people” demand our officials be held accountable for our education system and its failures, we can’t expect much of anything to change.