The economic storms of recent years have raised concerns about growing inequality and questions about a core national faith, that even Americans of humble backgrounds have a good chance of getting ahead. Most of the discussion has focused on labor market forces like falling blue-collar wages and lavish Wall Street pay.
Today, only those Americans with valued skills and advanced education's are reaping the rewards of the American Dream. What all Americans really want is more equal opportunity for themselves. One reason behind the surge in wealth at the top is the limited access to education that provides well-paying jobs within the global economy.
This race to well-paying jobs is based on one brutal fact: “The high-wage, medium-skilled job is over,” as Stefanie Sanford, a senior education expert at the Gates Foundation, puts it. The only high-wage jobs, whether in manufacturing or services, will be high-skilled ones, requiring more and better education to produce both more high-skill jobs and more high-skilled workers.
In the Race to the Top in schools, Education Secretary Arne Duncan has built on the good works of his predecessor, Margaret Spellings, and President George W. Bush, who put in place No Child Left Behind. Though never perfect, No Child Left Behind was still a game-changer for education reform because it gave us the data to see not only how individual schools were doing but how the most at-risk students were doing within those schools. Without that, educational reform based on accountability of teachers and principals could never start.
The purpose of Race to the Top, Secretary Duncan explained, was basically to say that if we now live in a world where every good high-wage job requires more skill, we need to get as many of our schools as possible educating their students “to college- and career-ready standards,” measured against the best in the world, because that is whom our kids will be competing against. “We have to educate our way to a better economy,” Duncan argues. “The path to the middle class today runs straight through the classroom.”
If you or your children have been adversely affected in pursuing the American Dream, let your voice be heard in the election box and through this petition.
That's why I created a petition to The United States House of Representatives, The United States Senate, and President Barack Obama.
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Source: Thomas L. Friedman in the Sunday Review of The New York Times, October 21, 2012