Our education system is meant to give all Americans a chance to succeed. It should allow individuals to achieve their dreams while building a better future for our country. But today our system is falling short.

A Crisis for Our Kids

In America today, more than a quarter of our students fail to graduate high school in four years.1 Even worse, based on the results of college readiness exams, less than 25% of our graduates are ready to attend a college or university.2

Rather than helping level the playing field, our education system promotes inequality. Our schools are twice as likely to pair poor and minority students with brand new teachers and almost four times more likely to suspend black students than white students.3

Over the last decade, the problem has gotten worse.  The achievement gap between low-income and wealthy students has grown significantly.4 Just as alarming, we still see large achievement gaps by race and ethnicity.5 Fewer than one in five African-American fourth graders is proficient in reading6 and Latino eighth graders are less than half as likely to be proficient in math as their white peers.7

The failure of our system does not stop with inequality. Even our strongest schools are unable to compete globally. Our top students rank below even average students in Shanghai and our best performing state, Massachusetts, ranks lower than 16 other developed nations in math.8

The education crisis is real and it puts our kids’ futures at risk.

A Crisis for Our Nation

This problem doesn’t just impact our kids’ futures—it impacts the future of our country.

American schools aren’t preparing enough scientists, mathematicians, and engineers to staff our military and intelligence agencies.9Almost half of our young adults are ineligible to participate in the armed forces because they dropped out of high school or don’t have the basic academic skills necessary to be admitted.10

There are also significant economic consequences. Today’s economy is lagging and unemployment is high. If graduation rates don’t improve dramatically, the U.S. economy will be short three million college-educated workers by 2018.11

If we want the American economy to fully rebound and the U.S. to remain a world leader, we must work together to fix this broken system.

Finding the Solution

The problem might seem severe but we know that great schools and great teachers can change outcomes for our students and for our nation. In many states and communities around the country, reforms are already working and kids are seeing the benefits.

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Citations

1 http://www.cfr.org/united-states/us-education-reform-national-security/p27618
2 http://www.cfr.org/united-states/us-education-reform-national-security/p27618
3 http://www.edtrust.org/sites/edtrust.org/files/AfricanAm%20Booklet.pdf
4 http://www.edtrust.org/sites/edtrust.org/files/Glass_Ceiling_0.pdf
http://www.edtrust.org/sites/edtrust.org/files/Glass_Ceiling_0.pdf
6 http://nces.ed.gov/nationsreportcard/subject/publications/stt2013/pdf/2014464NP4.pdf
7 http://www.edtrust.org/sites/edtrust.org/files/TheStateofEducationforLatinoStudents_EdTrust_June2014.pdf
8 http://educationbythenumbers.org/content/top-us-students-fare-poorly-international-pisa-test-scores-shanghai-tops-world-finland-slips_693/
9 http://www.cfr.org/united-states/us-education-reform-national-security/p27618
10 http://www.cfr.org/united-states/us-education-reform-national-security/p27618
11 http://www.edtrust.org/sites/edtrust.org/files/AfricanAm%20Booklet.pdf