Statement from The Education Trust on President Obama's speech at the National Urban League Centennial Conference

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Publication date: 
July 29 2010


WASHINGTON (July 29, 2010) – President Obama captured the essence of what’s at stake for our country when he said earlier today, during a speech at the National Urban League’s annual convention, “If we want success for our country, we can't accept failure in our schools.”

As a nation, we can no longer accept schools in impoverished communities that fail their students year after year, when we know that no middle-class neighborhood would ever tolerate it.

We can no longer accept evaluation systems that deem virtually every teacher in a school to be excellent, while half of our black and Hispanic fourth graders possess reading skills that are below basic.

And we can no longer accept tired, old excuses about why we can’t make things better and expect more from our schools.

Today, the President made clear that his Administration stands firmly on the side of students, especially our most vulnerable students. There should be no confusion about what is at stake. Generations of students have been failed by our school systems—as they waited for adults to get comfortable with change—and our kids can’t wait any longer.

That is the premise of the Race to the Top. The great promise of this competitive grant program is its ability to drive meaningful, powerful improvements to boost student learning. Catalyzing sweeping policy changes from Connecticut to California, Race to the Top has led state after state to commit to the hard work necessary to ensure that all children get the kind of world-class education they need and deserve. 

The President is right: The status quo isn’t working for any of our students. We have to do better. We have to change our education system so that gaps in achievement and opportunity no longer exist and so that all students aim high. The Education Trust applauds the Administration for its unwavering commitment to these twin goals.

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