Friday, September 12, 2008

DFER press release: Obama: It's Time To Get Real On Reforming Education

Here's the press release from Democrats for Education Reform, highlighting our long-standing support for Obama:

Obama: It's Time To Get Real On Reforming Education

Joe Williams, executive director of Democrats for Education Reform, issued the following statement today following Sen. Barack Obama's education remarks in Dayton, Ohio:

Senator Obama today offered an urgent call to all of us – Democrat and Republican alike – to take responsibility for bringing our nation's public education system into the 21st Century.

For too long, we Democrats have not allowed ourselves to even talk about some of the messy issues surrounding the improvement of our schools, while Republicans in office have done nothing but talk. Millions of our nation's children have slipped through the cracks in the process. If Democrats don't more fully engage on issues like assuring high quality teaching, increasing the supply of accountable schools, and embracing the tools of innovation to arm our students for success, it simply won't happen.

This is one of the reasons members of Democrats for Education Reform have enthusiastically backed Senator Obama's candidacy since our first meeting with him in New York City in 2005. We saw that the Senator was a leader capable of getting this nation to think big, to imagine the kind of schools our children truly need to be competitive in the rapidly-changing global economy, and to break past the political gridlock holding back the most promising innovative reform ideas. This is also why we have pushed relentlessly within the Democratic Party to support the kind of change in our public schools that Senator Obama has outlined.

Senator Obama called today for doubling the federal investment in successful public charter schools (from $200 to $400 million), creating an "innovative schools fund," and shifting the focus of the federal government from mere compliance to performance and investing in what works.

Change is indeed happening on our side of the aisle. We used to be the party that wouldn't even admit that we had any ineffective teachers in some of our classrooms, much less a party that was realistically engaged on the issue of ensuring that every one of our children has access to a great teacher in a great school. We were the party that wanted more of everything yet offered few assurances that children would ultimately benefit.

We applaud Sen. Obama for advancing a new vision for federal education policy which is so strong on equity, accountability, and performance.


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