The Time to Reach across the Aisle for School Children Starts Now

With the 2012 elections over, I would like, on behalf of ASCD, to congratulate President Obama on his victory. President Obama, I know that with the campaign behind you, you will work to serve all Americans regardless of political affiliation, and ASCD stands ready to assist you. In addition, I want to offer congratulations to the new and returning members of Congress. We stand ready to help you as well.

A new day has dawned. It is a day without the clamor of political advertisements, without talking points, without swing state polls. We’ve reached a period of relative calm as elected officials transition from campaigning to governing.

But I hope this calm period does not last long. We absolutely cannot afford to wait to reform education in our nation.

What we need now is for the President and Congress to look beyond partisanship and shake free of the gridlock that characterizes Washington, D.C. Though some of our government leaders have changed, ASCD’s bipartisan commitment to supporting the success of each learner remains steadfast, and my staff and I will continue to work toward achieving the objectives of our 2012 Legislative Agenda.

As I stated Monday in my blog post for CNN, education has remained under the radar during the presidential campaign and that is a good thing. Education is an issue that should unite Americans, not divide us. The time for substantial education reform is now.

In the coming term, we need action, real action. In addition to the items on ASCD’s 2012 Legislative Agenda, we need a reauthorized Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA) and an alternative to the fiscal cliff of sequestration that avoids further harm to school budgets. These imperatives can only be achieved by elected officials and other policymakers around the country working together across party lines, without animosity, and without politics.

We need to do what is good for the kids, and we need to do it starting today.

Dr. Gene R. Carter is a veteran educator with experience as a private and public school teacher, public school administrator, superintendent of schools, and university professor. Before joining ASCD in 1992, Dr. Carter served for nine years as the superintendent of schools in Norfolk, Va., where he succeeded in reducing the dropout rate, built partnership programs with the private sector, implemented a districtwide school improvement program, established an early education center for 3-year-olds and their parents, and implemented a regional scholarship foundation for public school students. He has written numerous articles and book chapters concentrating on educational issues and topics and is the coauthor of "The American School Superintendent: Leading in an Age of Pressure" (Jossey-Bass Inc., 1997).