June 26, 2007
Contact:  Shannon Murphy, Strong American Schools
(202) 870-1093 – Cell
[email protected]

Former Governors Vilsack and Ray Lead Hawkeye State Kick-Off of National K-12 Education Reform Campaign 

Join A Slate Of Prominent Iowans Supporting “ED in 08”

Des Moines, IA - With its 2008 kick-off event at the Science Center of Iowa, the unprecedented, nonpartisan, $60 million dollar Strong American Schools campaign brings its voice and growing cadre of supporters to the Hawkeye State.  Former Governors Tom Vilsack and Robert Ray join a bipartisan, statewide and national leadership team, along with Iowa teachers, students and caucus-goers with a simple goal: to demand dialogue from all presidential hopefuls on how to improve our schools. 

"We need to set high expectations and require high standards for every school in America,” said Governor Vilsack. “Anything less will not adequately prepare our children for the tough global competition they will face.  Today, we are simply not doing anywhere near enough to raise those expectations or set those standards.”

Today, over 66% of new jobs in America’s economy require a college education, but nearly one in five Iowa high school students drop out and only 64% of Iowa’s college freshmen go on to earn a bachelor’s degree.

“Here in Iowa, we value our position as one of the leading states in helping decide who will have a successful run at the presidency, said Governor Ray. “We understand how important it is to really evaluate the candidates on their policy positions. Today’s event, which brings ‘ED in 08’ to Iowa, is a significant step forward in realizing education reform here in our state and across this country. The commitment made by the Broad Foundation and the Gates Foundation will go a long way toward energizing the public to demand strong American schools.”

“Iowans see these presidential candidates a lot, and they hear a lot about our ‘crisis going on overseas’ or that we have a ‘crisis on our borders,’” said Roy Romer, Chairman of the Strong American Schools “ED in ‘08” campaign. “But America’s schools are in a state of crisis too, with real problems that take real leadership to solve. Today’s debates about Iraq are difficult. But for our children, learning to spell Iraq shouldn’t be that hard,” he added.

Isaiah McGee, a Waukee teacher and City Council member said, “Like most Iowans; I care about education.  I’m a teacher, father, and business owner, and I understand how strong schools are the foundation of our communities and our country.  From now through November 2008, we will ask every presidential candidate how they will fix these problems.  There isn’t just one solution and this isn’t an easy conversation,” he said.

“Next November, I will vote for the very first time,” said Abby Bowman, a 2007 graduate of Johnston High School, who will be attending Princeton University in the fall. “I’m standing with the ‘ED in ‘08’ campaign, to help bring a voice to young people like me who want to hear from the candidates on issues that shape our future.”

To join the “ED in 08” campaign and for more information about “ED in 08” events and a list of the Iowa advisory board members, log onto:  edin08.com 

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