“In the 21 century, where the most valuable skill is knowledge, countries that out educate us today will out-compete us tomorrow.”
Ideally government should be the whole population working together for the common good of all our citizens. There are certain things that must be done by us as a nation. Among these are protection, mobility and education. As a people, we have invested heavily in protection with our military, our national, state and local law enforcement. We have built the best transportation system in the history of the world. On our protection and mobility policies we basically agree on as a nation. However, on education we hold great differences. Good Americans hold very different ideas as to the role of government in education.
Education is perhaps the most important investment that we make in our nation. It is on education that we see the most striking differences in the two major parties. From the “Aid to Education Act” and the “Head Start” program of the sixties to the “Education Platform” of the Obama-Biden campaign, the Democratic Party has championed education.
The Democratic Platform promotes educational quality from early childhood to higher education. A few of the highlights are:
·Zero to Five Plan-Learning begins in infancy not at five years old. Obama’s comprehensive “Zero to Five” plan will provide support to young children and their parents. This new plan would support families that need help in insuring that all children are ready to enter formal education by kindergarten.
·Expand Early Head Start-This proven program would be expanded to include child care age children
·Reform No Child Left Behind- The present program which promotes teaching to a standardized test with little or no funding for the schools has not met its promise. The Democratic position is to make the program accountable without killing creativity. The program must be fully funded.
·Math and Science Education as a National Priority- Obama will recruit math and science degree graduates to the teaching profession. He will work to ensure that all children have access to a strong science curriculum.
·Address the Dropout Crisis-Many of our schools are in trouble and need help now. Instead of pushing private school vouchers that funnel scarce dollars away from the public schools, we will support public choice, including charter schools and magnet schools.
·Expand High-Quality Afterschool Opportunities- Obama will double funding for afterschool programs such as the 21st Century Learning Centers program.
·Create the American Opportunity Tax Credit-The Democrats will make college affordable for all Americans by creating a $4,000 tax credit for all Americans.
·Simplify the Application Process for Financial Aid-Obama will streamline the application by enabling families to apply by checking a box on their tax form, authorizing their tax information to be used.
Obama-Biden understands that our investment in education today will determine the future of generations yet to come.