Having just completed a brutal round of jousting in the interest of public education reform during the Texas legislative session, I have a renewed appreciation for the obstacles we face in achieving meaningful systemic change in our education delivery system. I am reminded of a recent quote from Rice University President David Leebron, which he calls “Leebron’s Law”: “The longer you postpone addressing a problem, the more expensive, complicated and politically difficult it will be to solve. And therefore, the more unlikely it is that you will actually solve it.” This is where we find ourselves in public education reform in this country, and we are at a tipping point that can go either way—we will either muster the political will to achieve transformational change, or we will continue to drift toward competitive mediocrity. It is encouraging at least that serious national leadership is finally recognizing the urgency of the crisis, as evidenced by the recently announced collaboration between Eli Broad and Bill Gates and their respective foundations, which have launched a massively funded effort called “Ed in ‘08” to make serious education reform a leading agenda item in the 2008 elections. Meanwhile, in Texas, in spite of all the best efforts of our statewide coalition of reform-minded business leaders, the recent legislative session produced very little (about a 3 on a scale of 1-10) in terms of advancing the cause of K-12 reform and, in fact, we were forced to spend much of our effort in defending many of the reforms of the past decade, particularly the accountability system. However, we realize that reform is a never ending effort and we are committed to continuing the fight, in which we need and would appreciate your help. Visit us at www.texaseducationreform.org.
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