(NNPA) - In late July, both President Obama and Secretary of Education Arne Duncan spoke to the National Urban League’s Centennial Conference about what the President called “an issue that I believe will largely determine not only African American success, but the success of our nation in the 21st century — and that is whether we are offering our children the very best education possible.” Right now, of course, the answer is, “no” so President Obama and Secretary Duncan were there to speak about the Administration’s plans for education reform.
American education, which used to be the envy of the world, is in dire straits. The U.S. ranks 21st among 25 developed countries on overall educational achievement for 15-year-olds. Many public school students are struggling; minority children and poor children are struggling most. Too often they fall behind in school and drop out, increasing their risk of entering the cradle to prison pipeline. Staying in school and receiving a quality education are the best deterrents to juvenile delinquency and the surest route towards responsible, productive adulthood.