Don's Philosophy

Don's Philosophy

Education has always been, and will continue to be, the foundational equalizer in America. It has lifted millions of people out of poverty, unleashed innovators whose creations have changed the world and built some of the best research institutions anywhere, like the University of Minnesota. We know that children are born into different and, quite often, unequal circumstances. Those circumstances provide privilege to some, additional opportunities for development to some, and an easier path in life for some. Yet, education has proven to be the most prominent and effective means of narrowing those differences and providing every person with a chance to succeed in America.

The promise of giving every child an opportunity to be successful is slipping away. The greatest tragedy is that this isn’t breaking news. We’ve known that this fundamental piece of the American Dream has been in danger for decades, and we’ve done very little about it.

It’s clear that education is at a crossroads in America. This persistent and continuous educational decline has led to severe job skills gap. Nearly every industrialized nation in the world is surpassing our students in reading, math, and science by considerable margins. In an increasingly globalized world, this is unacceptable. Furthermore, this educational decline has led to a measurable decline in economic growth. The achievement gap between U.S. children and children in other countries cost the U.S. economy $2.3 trillion in economic output in 2008 alone. Our education system is not providing young people with the skills to help drive a 21st-century economy. We cannot maintain our global dominance if we continue to see these sub-par educational outcomes.