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Education Saves Lives

August 10, 2012 by Patrick Kobler

“Education saved my life.”

Spoken by The George W. Bush Institute’s Education Pioneer Monique Gray, these four simple, yet powerful words set the tone for a discussion among some of the top education reformers in Dallas, centered on ensuring that every child receives a quality education. Moderated by Kerri Briggs, Director of Education Reform for the George W. Bush Institute, a clear theme immediately emerged from the dialogue - a child should not have to “get lucky” in order to have an opportunity for success.

In this country every child should be given an equal opportunity to learn, no matter his or her life circumstances. Panelists agreed that to realize this goal, we must begin by finding ways to recruit individuals to the field of education who possess the mindset that any child can succeed if given the proper tools.  Once recruited into high need schools, effective state and district school systems must replace outdated regiments to empower these individuals who hold the grit necessary for positive change to occur.

A final element of empowerment discussed by the panelists was the need for getting everyone involved in the effort to improve America’s schools.  From parents to students, business owners and community members and for those living in rural, suburban and urban settings, improving education is every American’s duty. For too long, children from lower-income homes have had to “get lucky” to prosper.  The Bush Institute, in collaboration with its many partners, seeks to change this unfortunate reality and looks forward to bringing all to the table in this effort.

Friday’s panel on Education Reform in Dallas capped off an exciting week of initiatives happening throughout the Bush Institute Education Reform community.  Earlier in the week, Education Pioneers and Teach For America alumni attended a roundtable with President Bush.  The event was energetic and filled with lively conversation. A reoccurring point throughout the meeting was the need for accountability within America’s schools.  Accountability works.  Its instilment in education has provided for a narrowing of the achievement gap that exists between white students and their minority peers.  We must hold our schools accountable for properly educating every child; the stakes are too high not to.

Other topics discussed included recent results from the Global Report Card, President Bush’s steadfast belief that a leader should be more concerned with what is right than what is popular, and the need for young talented individuals to be recruited into the field of education. Whether it is over a thousand miles away in Boston, Massachusetts or within its own backyard, the Bush Institute is committed to ensuring that children do not have to “get lucky” to receive an excellent education. 

As was so poignantly spoken this morning, education saves lives.  It is the mission of the Bush Institute to improve public education for every American student because to be truly free, one must not be bound by ignorance.

The Bush Center would like to thank the following individuals and organizations for participating in Friday’s panel on Education Reform in Dallas: Yasmin Bhatia, CEO, Uplift Charles Glover, Chief of Human Management, Dallas ISD Alexandra Hales, Interim Executive Director, Teach for American Dallas Fort-Worth Michael Horne, Founding School Leader, KIPP Dallas Fort Worth Rosemary Perlmeter, CEO, Teaching Trust George Tang, COO, Educate Texas Todd Williams, Execute Director, Commit!

This post was written by Patrick Kobler Program Coordinator for The Alliance to Reform Education Leadership (AREL) at the George W. Bush Institute.  Patrick is a Teach For America alumnus and former student body president of Southern Methodist University.