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Transforming and Improving American Education: A Memo to President-elect Obama

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Publication Date: December 2008

Publisher(s): Heritage Foundation (Washington, D.C.)

Author(s): Dan Lips; Jennifer A. Marshall

Special Collection: Presidential Advisory

Topic: Education (Education policy and planning)

Keywords: School choice; Education reform; Presidential transition

Type: Brief

Coverage: United States


President-elect Obama, your comments during the campaign show that you recognize the urgent need to transform and improve American education for the 21st century. American students' reading scores have remained relatively flat since 1970. In 2007, 33 percent of fourth graders and 26 percent of eighth graders scored "below basic" in reading. Millions of children are not receiving a quality education in American schools. In many of the nation' s largest cities, less than half of all children are graduating high school. Nationally, on both test scores and graduation rates, an achievement gap still separates disadvantaged and ethnic minority children from their affluent and non-minority peers.