Education in 2008!

This is the campaign being spearheaded by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation and the Eli and Edythe Broad Foundation to make education a key priority issue in the presidential elections for 2008. With a war chest upwards of $60 million dollars, this is the largest single-issue advocacy campaign ever seen. What’s more appealing is that the campaign is not seeking to endorse a presidential candidate or even take stances on legislation. It simply wants to make sure education is a top priority on our national agenda.

The campaign is focused on three priorities that they think will make the greatest impact on American Education. They include, setting American education standards, effective teachers in every classroom and more time for support and learning. No one can disagree with these goals and I think the fact the campaign is non-partisan puts more pressure on the candidates to address educational issues in a more substantive way.

To be sure, I want to help this debate along as I know many readers of this site are passionate about the need to improve education. For starters, the responsibility for education largely lies with states. And because states (unlike the federal government) have to balance their budgets, you find that when the economy is down, you have situations like we do in Michigan where our Governor just announced a statewide cut of $125 in per-pupil funding. School quality should never depend on local economy. This disparity ties into the funding disparities we see due to local districts funding their schools based in large part to local property tax revenues.

For these reasons, I think educational funding should be a federal entitlement package, free from political meddling and accounting maneuvers.

Teachers should make more money, period.

It should be much easier for working professionals to teach part-time or be teacher assistants. Many people I know love and have a heart to teach but work another career. I don’t think it should an all or nothing proposition.

Direct service providers should have offices set up in the schools so that students and parents can get the tools they need to make their home life more conducive to learning.

That’s just off the top. But what do you think of the Education in 08 Campaign and where do you see room for improvement in education?

Stay up fam,

Brandon Q.

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