President Barack Obama today made it clear that he understands what it will take to make our public schools, as he put it, "the envy of the world." In his speech before the U.S. Hispanic Chamber of Commerce, the president called for providing all Americans with a comprehensive, competitive education that begins in early childhood and extends through their careers.
So, of course, the chattering classes immediately concocted a food fight between the Obama administration and America's teachers.
What? You don't see a reason for a fight here? Well, neither do we. The only fight we're engaged in is the one for our children, and we think that the road map the president has laid out is the right one.
So, make no mistake, chattering classes, there is a difference between the last eight years of education policymaking and what occurred today -- namely that teachers' voices will be a part of developing solutions. (And can you imagine if we took all the energy used to divine and contrive political battle lines in this country, and instead used it to help teachers and their unions help kids?) As with any public policy, the devil is in the details, and this time around teachers will play a role in fleshing out the details of President Obama's plans.
The AFT stands ready to work with the president to make America the leader in public education. And we are grateful that, in Barack Obama, we have a president who is ready to work with us.