A Good Education Idea Off Air

We sometimes have the most interesting discussions off the air at cable talk shows. Last night, Tucker Carlson, Pat Buchanan and I got into a pretty important back-and-forth on education, with Tucker citing Barack Obama’s comments about family responsibility.

We all agreed that it was easier for Obama to bring up the role of parents, particularly fathers, in their kids’ education. His personal experience and his race bring attention to the comments he made in Selma, Ala., over the weekend.

So why aren’t all of us focusing more on education in our society today? Here are some pretty disturbing facts about today’s ninth-graders: Only 68 percent of them will graduate with their classmates from high school. Of those that do graduate, 75 percent will go on to college.
Good news, except that over 40 percent of them will leave college by the end of their first year. Bottom line: Only 18 percent of today’s ninth-graders will graduate from a four-year college within six years.

Our society is changing and the old Horatio Alger notion of working your way up from sweeping the shop floors to being president of the company is a long-ago myth. Those involved in manufacturing being able to get high-paying jobs, with generous benefits, without an
education, is also going by the boards.

It is time we have a national debate about how best to truly improve education, prepare more kids for college and provide families with the financial help they need to achieve those goals.

We need to double the number of college graduates in a generation. Republicans, Democrats, Whigs and Greens…we should all be able to agree on that. Then we should figure out how we can get it done.