Yesterday, President Obama announced a plan to revamp the
nation’s education system in a speech before the United States Hispanic Chamber
of Commerce–a group afflicted by historically low educational achievement
levels among minority youth.
While many are focusing on the president’s calls to expand investment
in charter schools and performance pay for teachers, plans that have met with
opposition from some teachers’ unions and public schools advocates, I’m
choosing to highlight–you guessed it–geographic elements of the proposal.
Obama’s language was replete with references to the global
economy and nationalistic appeals to prepare students for competitive success. He
stipulated the specific goal of leading the world in graduation rates by 2020,
citing this attainment as critical in a 21st century environment where
the growth in communications tools like the internet has brought opportunity to
many and helped level the playing field.
“Let there be no doubt,” Mr. Obama said. “The future belongs
to the nation that best educates its citizens — and my fellow Americans, we
have everything we need to be that nation (as quoted in the NY Times).”