While the focus of the political campaigns should be squarely on economic issues, the state of America’s public schools has to be front and center as well. Our economy and schools are inextricably linked to our continued global success and preeminence, because high quality K12 schools can produce the highly skilled workers, innovators, and leaders that a thriving economy needs to sustain itself.
As advocates and practitioners who care deeply about elementary and secondary schools, we assert that there are definite priorities that must be accounted for by every candidate for the highest elected office of our government. And we hope that the candidates as well as the mediators and pundits take note, so that we all collectively do our part to ensure that the academic needs of students across the learning spectrum are addressed.
To prepare our youth for lives and careers in a world that is globally connected across cultures, disciplines, sectors, industries, and professions, our school systems will have to recruit, train, and retain highly qualified teaching professionals. To produce world class schools, the infrastructure and physical capacities of school environments must be substantially upgraded to reflect the technological, educational, and operational demands that are currently overwhelming so many educators.
To address the different learning styles and paces of diverse groups of students, classroom teachers must be given sufficient time and space to employ creativity, flexibility, and innovation in their curricula and classroom pedagogy. While the solutions to these realities may vary, as we effectively respond to these kinds of K12 teaching and learning elements, all of us can begin to see the uniformity and academic excellence across rural, suburban, and urban schools and classrooms that we hope for.