America’s security put in peril by our failing education system 

Today, Washington is so focused on expanding the size and influence of our federal government at the expense of taxpayers that they are overlooking one of the greatest security risks facing our nation — our failing education system.

Our broken education system is failing America’s children while countries around the world, our own global competitors, are making dramatic strides in educating their future work forces.

The consequences to this failure cannot be underestimated. A 2007 study from Columbia University revealed the scope of the consequences of simply failing to earn a high school diploma.

High school graduates are healthier and more productive. They are far less likely to be dependent on government social services. In tax dollars alone, a high school diploma translates into upwards of $150,000 in the lifetime contribution of one person.

Looking at the results coming out of our current education system, I cannot help but be deeply alarmed. As detailed in the New York Times, Congress heard testimony this week from education experts on the state, national, and international level as part of the culmination of a yearlong effort by state leaders to establish new academic standards.

The personal and economic benefits from a strong education system are clear. The moment we can no longer keep up, we will have surrendered our national prosperity and security.

Our country now faces a decision regarding the proposed standards, which encompass achievement goals in English and math from kindergarten through 12th grade. I am pleased that governors and local educators took the lead on his project, but we must walk a careful line as we move forward in establishing protocols for our education.

So long as federal taxpayer money goes to schools across the country, the government is right to demand accountability. But when federal control threatens to stifle the creativity and productivity of our local schools, we must step back and return power to our communities.

Our children’s future, our country’s future, must never be a political pawn in the government’s all-too-familiar gambit for more control.

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Michael Reagan

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