One of the most notable improvements I've seen since the beginning of this administration is the importance the President has placed on education. I know I'm not alone in recognizing how President Obama and Education Secretary Duncan have changed the tone in the education community. Last Friday, David Brooks used his column in the New York Times to praise the President and the Secretary for their efforts in raising the bar on education reform: partnering with Congress, they have set high standards, and are providing $5 billion in competitive grants to those states that can best demonstrate their commitment to reform. As a result, there's real excitement among the states to put their best education reform foot forward as they gear up for the competition for these grants.
At a time when the U.S. is falling behind other countries in educational attainment, at a time when state budgets are stretched thin, we need to focus more, not less, on strengthening education in our country to enable us to compete in the global economy.