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.


Evaluation matters: How a new study changes how we think about teaching

There’s no one obvious way to measure effective teaching, and it’s a conundrum that has been facing teachers, education leaders, and policy-makers alike. But determining how to collect information and use it to meaningfully measure teachers’ performance is a necessary next step to ensuring that every student has access to excellent teachers. The newest and most comprehensive research on good instruction released Tuesday by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation provides unprecedented insights about effective ways to measure teaching. And as the 113th Congress determines its agenda for education, members should consider these findings as they debate the reauthorization of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA).


A call for practical curriculum in higher education

The various hierarchal levels in a corporate business, business mergers, countless statistical formulas for probability, and of course accounting are a few of the topics covered while working on my bachelors in Business Management. Important material you might suggest. Good to know, possibly. My response to that is, “I want a refund”.  What my college overlooked in their curriculum was that little of the previous topics just mentioned held as much weight as the most significant priority in all profit-based industries, that is being able to sell. More specifically, without the ability to be successful as a salesperson in any sector of business, relatively little of the rest proves to be beneficial. Regretfully, this was never a major emphasis in my undergraduate course work, yet something learned outside of this context.


Let's talk to each other about STEM

In Washington, legislators continue to hear from executives and investors in the science-based industries including biotech, healthcare, engineering and, particularly, technology, about the need to expand the number of H-1 visas granted to foreign-born STEM workers. Foreign workers are necessary, we are told, for their businesses and the United States to stay competitive. These conversations, and the related congressional hearings, have become a standard part of the STEM conversation in Washington. The result is congressional action (and inaction) on looking at the STEM problem as a shortage that can (or cannot) be fixed through immigration reform. This addresses an immediate need but does little to develop our own national human resource.


Reforming the GED

As our economy steadily improves and we look ahead to the next four years, it’s time to turn our attention to solving the intractable problem of long-term unemployment. Reforming the General Educational Development exam – better known as the GED – is one of the most promising pathways to getting this done.