Condoleezza Rice, the Thomas and Barbara Stephenson Senior Fellow on Public Policy at the Hoover Institution and a professor of political science at Stanford University, and Joel Klein, CEO of the Education Division at News Corp and former chancellor of the New York City Department of Education, discuss the critical importance of the role of education in the United States. Klein and Rice lead the Independent Task Force on US Education Reform and National Security, sponsored by the Council on Foreign Relations. “While our political leanings may be different, our careers have taught us that education is inextricably linked to the strength of this country and our leadership in the international community,” stated Rice and Klein.
They talk about how US schools need to improve their systems to compete with other nations. “Yet, although the United States invests more in education than almost any other developed nation, its students rank in the middle of the pack in reading and toward the bottom in math and science. On average, US students have fallen behind peers in Korea and China, Poland and Canada, and New Zealand. This puts us on a trajectory toward massive failure.” (Rice and Klein) They stress that we need to provide our students with a strong foundation of knowledge to prepare them for the Foreign Service, the intelligence community, and the armed forces.
Rice and Klein met a year ago with leaders in education, politics, business, academia, and the armed forces and diplomatic communities to assess the nation's educational challenges in the context of national security. Based on that meeting, they offered three recommendations to strengthen the core value system of US education to compete successfully on a global scale. The three recommendations include “implementing educational expectations and assessments in subjects vital to protecting national security, making structural changes to provide all students with meaningful choices, and launching a ‘national security readiness audit’ to hold schools and policy makers accountable for results and to raise public awareness.” (Rice and Klein)
By implementing these recommendations, the United States can become a stronger, more educated nation that can compete in the global arena. According to Rice and Klein, “We embarked on this project because we believe the crucial question for our generation is whether, on our watch, the American dream becomes the American memory. We hope and believe that if the country refocuses and reprioritizes, the American dream can be sustained for future generations.” (Rice and Klein)
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