Afghans are moving forward

The Afghanistan orchestra that recently appeared at the Kennedy Center represents the future of our country. A future based not on hatred and war, but on a life full of harmony and joy promoting the highest human values of tolerance, culture and education.  

While extremists and others are trying to tear us apart, these youth are demonstrating the wishes of the Afghan people and the future they envision for themselves complimenting one another and working together to create a strong Afghan voice combining Eastern and Western tools while appreciating the international director assisting them with taking the best of the Western culture and merging it with the Afghan culture in a beautiful collaboration. 


Politics, not reality, dominate Obama’s preschool appeal

At first glance, it may seem curious that a state President Obama lost by 8 percentage points got a shoutout in this week’s State of the Union, but there Georgia was, in all her glory.
On a day deemed ‘Georgia Day’ by Governor Nathan Deal, a celebration of James Oglethorpe’s initial landing, the commander-and-chief recognized the state for its lauded Pre-Kindergarten program, which provides free preschool for children in the state.
Obama used the example to call for universal preschool for all children, through the federal government “working with” the states.
He’s following that up with a trip to Atlanta, where it’s largely expected he’ll tout the Pre-K program yet again.


Head Start leading in early education

Earlier this week, President Obama delivered his State of the Union address before a Joint Session of Congress. In a speech outlining many of his priorities for America, the president identified early childhood education as a critical investment to make in our children. Not only do children perform better in school after early education, they go on to lead richer lives and achieve greater success. We know now that the early years of life are critical to cognitive and social development, and we applaud President Obama’s choice to emphasize the economic growth we can guarantee with stronger early education investments.
Presenting a bold plan that could transform the nation's education system, the president made clear that all children should have access to early education. Those of us who have dedicated our lives to providing early learning services to at-risk children agree wholeheartedly.


Private sector's role in higher education must continue

In Tuesday's State of The Union address, President Obama reasserted his support for rebuilding the middle class, doubling down on his promise to create more jobs and get America’s economy back on track. With 12 million people unemployed, another 2.5 million under-employed and millions more suffering from prolonged economic stagnation, the President’s remarks are welcome. 
During the address to the nation, the president said, “Every day, we should ask ourselves three questions as a nation: How do we attract more jobs to our shores?  How do we equip our people with the skills to get those jobs?  And how do we make sure that hard work leads to a decent living?"


Ensuring a strong manufacturing future

One year ago, President Obama set the tone for his national security focus when he stated that “we will focus on a broader range of challenges and opportunities, including the security and prosperity of the Asia Pacific.”  This strategic rebalancing – after a decade of counterinsurgency efforts -- will require new capabilities. To support our nation’s warfighters and allies around the world, we are constantly engaged in developing more innovative ways to meet the challenges posed by the battlefield of the 21st century.


Why school choice works

This School Choice Week, you’re bound to see lots of criticism directed at K-12 public education. It’s been common knowledge that America’s public schools are failing ever since 1983’s A Nation at Risk provoked the modern education reform movement with spine-chilling lines like, “If an unfriendly foreign power had attempted to impose on America the mediocre educational performance that exists today, we might well have viewed it as an act of war.” But, thirty years later, politicians and administrators still can’t grasp why exactly our public schools are losing the education battle and why school choice can win the war.


To grow the economy, invest in early childhood education

In Washington there is much discussion about how to address the nation’s long-term fiscal situation, but very little about how to grow the economy and ensure we are meeting the needs of the next generation of Americans. To achieve both of these objectives, Congress and the administration should start the new year by making a strong investment in high-quality early childhood education.


Charter schools, homeschooling and online learning all key to better student performance

With the Elementary and Secondary Education Act and the Carl D. Perkins Career and Technical Education Act up for reauthorization this year, Congress has the opportunity to do more than just tweak the failed policies of the past -- it can bring meaningful, lasting reform to a broken system. As our leaders examine the best road to take, let’s remind them that there’s more than one option for reform.

National School Choice Week provides an excellent opportunity to explore the multitude of education solutions being employed around the country and invest in approaches with proven results. Students participating in school choice programs graduate at significantly higher rates than those attending public schools, and students and parents are more satisfied with their experience.


Bring more virtue, not dollars to education

The average cost of building a new school in the U.S. is about $18 million. Los Angeles recently spent nearly $600 million for a school designed to teach 4,000 students. These huge sums beg a question: Do expensive schools improve the quality of education?

A hundred years ago, a gifted educator named Booker T. Washington eloquently gave us the answer: It depends on the lessons being taught there.


School choice: 49 million students still without options

Heidi and Frank Green used to worry about their daughters while they were at school. The Clarksville, Indiana couple was concerned about bullying, cursing, large class sizes, a revolving teaching staff, and a general lack of attention for students.

Thankfully, the Greens say their lives have changed for the better as daughters Gillian and Emma are now eager to attend school. Today they are getting quality instruction at their new Catholic school thanks to a voucher program adopted in Indiana two years ago.

“School choice should be everywhere,” said Mrs. Green. “Parents should be able to decide what’s best for their kids.