07/31/2012 12:41 pm ET Updated Sep 30, 2012

Not Sexy and He Knows It: The Road to the DNC 2012

In close to a month I'll have a press seat at what will be a fascinating event: the 2012 Democratic National Convention in Charlotte, NC.

Leading up to the DNC, those like North Carolina State Representative Marcus Brandon (D) plan on lobbying for what he says is a major item: education reform.

Brandon, the only openly LGBT member of the North Carolina General Assembly, said that without a solid educational system in place we are doomed for failure.

"Sometimes, Victor, that means we have to cross party lines and stop this fanatic battle with Republicans and Democrats and just think about the people we are representing," said Brandon, who sees the writing on the wall.

Without an adequate educational system in place we can kiss our already quivering economy goodbye.

A recent Harvard study found students in Latvia, Chile and Brazil improving three times faster than students in the United States and further showed students in Portugal, Hong Kong, Germany, Poland, Liechtenstein, Slovenia, Colombia and Lithuania making gains at twice our rate.

For all of the democracy we like to celebrate, we still have an extraordinary troubling issue with our educational system.

"Progress within the United States is middling, not stellar," Paul E. Peterson, Harvard professor and The Program on Educational Policy and Governance director, said in a release.

The study itself reports, "Because rates of economic growth have a huge impact of the future well-being of the nation, there is a simple message: A country ignores the quality of its schools at its economic peril."

Even in the classrooms of my writing-intensive, rigorous college, professors have said that excellence in learning is dropping, which seems to be a trend with incoming college students.

Students are no longer expected to meet high standards in the U.S., which means our nation's children are receiving an inferior education. Clearly, a snowball effect follows from a weak primary education.

By the time students reach an institution of higher education they overwhelm professors with substandard work.

This worries some of the professors I've known in the past four years.

And it concerns me; I care about the future of my country.

Just attending college is not enough. If we are hoping to send students out into the world able to read, write, think critically and globally, and making them job ready on day one, we have a long road to go.

In the words of Elbert Hubbard, "Don't make excuses, make good."

What is most troubling is that political games are being played while our nation's young people suffer in the classrooms. As Brandon said, "We are going to have to lay aside our political differences if we ever hope to get anything done."

So while the DNC will offer the thousands (including myself) who are attending debate on many sexy issues, I hope there are others like Marcus Brandon with the bigger picture in mind.

Stay tuned.

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