Strong American Schools is a nonpartisan public awareness and action campaign offering a voice to every American who supports “ED in 08.” Our goal is to ensure that the nation engages in a rigorous debate and to make education a top priority in the 2008 presidential election. We hope that candidates will offer genuine leadership rather than empty rhetoric and tell voters how they intend to strengthen America’s schools so all students receive the education they deserve.
America’s students are losing out. The world is changing, jobs are evolving, and far too many students are simply not being prepared to be successful adults:
- Seventy percent of eighth graders are not proficient in reading—and most will never catch up.
- Every year, more than 1 million students drop out of high school.
- Many of those who do graduate are not ready for college, for the workplace and for life.
Education is primarily a state and local responsibility. But this is an American problem that affects us all. We are all responsible for our public schools. And the future of our nation depends on whether we can come together to meet this challenge head on.
We want a serious nationwide debate on education reform where every presidential candidate addresses three priorities that hold great promise for improving education:
- Agreeing on American education standards
- Providing effective teachers in every classroom
- Giving students more time and support for learning.
The campaign will not support or oppose any particular candidate for public office or any political party. Nor does it take positions on legislation.
Strong American Schools is a project of Rockefeller Philanthropy Advisors. The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation and the The Eli and Edythe Broad Foundation, two of the largest philanthropic organizations in the world, have provided grant funding for Strong American Schools.
Roy Romer, the former governor of Colorado and most recently superintendent of the Los Angeles Unified School District, is our chairman and lead spokesman.
Our budget is estimated to be up to $60 million over 18 months.
Strong American Schools and the ED in 08 campaign are the successors to the STAND UP campaign launched in 2006.