Shavar Jeffries: Our Next President’s Education Agenda

2016 Election

June 22, 2016

Today in The Hill, DFER’s Shavar Jeffries lays out a progressive education reform agenda for our 45th president. Jeffries calls for our next president to build upon and embrace President Obama’s historic education legacy, noting that “the only candidate prepared to lead on behalf of our kids is Secretary Hillary Clinton.”

An excerpt of the piece is below:

Aggressively raising the bar for our nation’s public schools and students is President Obama’s greatest unsung accomplishment. One of the first decisions for the next President will be whether to expand upon Obama’s legacy – or reject it by surrendering to those regressive interests that seek to roll back accountability for continued improvements in our schools.

No decision will have a greater impact on our nation’s children. Entrance into the 21st century’s competitive knowledge economy requires access to a quality education. But too many of our schools aren’t preparing our children for higher education. Families are trapped in school districts that have underperformed for years, with no high quality options available. And many students who do make it to college are unprepared when they get there.

President Obama boldly challenged the education status quo in launching the Race to the Top competition, promoting accountability, and expanding public school choice. He coupled those reforms with massive investments in our schools, including a nationwide effort to better recruit, prepare, retain, and reward America’s teachers and school leaders. And the results are clear: a record number of children graduating high school, improved student achievement in the lowest performing schools, and more resources being directed into classrooms. The next President can work on behalf of our nation’s families to extend this progress –continuing the strategy of coupling resources and reform – or turn back the clock by weakening accountability and reducing the urgency with which we tackle underperformance and inequities.

It’s clear the only candidate prepared to lead on behalf of our kids is Secretary Hillary Clinton whose record includes decades of public service and a lifelong dedication to fighting for children and families. Dating back to her time in Arkansas, Clinton pushed for higher standards and expanded public school choice. Recently, she made a couple of comments that raise concerns that her support for increased resources and reform for schools and children might be softening, but she has since publicly reassured parents that she continues to embrace these policies. …

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