We Are Not Quitters


“We are just students trying to become lawyers, doctors, congressmen like yourself, and one day president so we can make a change to not just the state of South Carolina but also the world,” wrote 8th grader Ty’Sheoma Bethea in a letter to President Barack Obama and Congress. “We are not quitters.”

When the president shared the student’s letter and her appalling experience in a Dillon, S.C., middle school during his address last night before a joint session of Congress, his message was clear: our students won’t quit on their education and neither should we.

During his speech, the president articulated his vision for the country’s future prosperity and included investments in education as one of the three pillars on which that prosperity depends. He then challenged not just educators and lawmakers but also students, families, and communities to take responsibility for making the U.S. education system the best in the world.

“Such ambitious goals begin with comprehensive support for the whole child,” wrote ASCD Executive Director Gene Carter in response to the address. “That is why we are enormously pleased that the president is making it his administration’s mission to ensure that every child in the United States has access to a complete and competitive education.”

ASCD’s advocacy efforts have long focused on addressing the priorities for education outlined by the president, including the urgent need to end the high school dropout epidemic and the need to support career ladders and other incentives for teachers and school leaders, which aim to recruit and retain the best and brightest, particularly in high-need schools.

The association applauds the president’s inclusion of education as a critical component in his blueprint to improve the nation and will not quit when it comes to ensuring education policies that support what is best for our kids. At the ASCD Annual Conference in March, we will introduce the 2009 ASCD Legislative Agenda, which will guide our work toward meeting the president’s challenge.

What do you think of the president’s goals for education? Will the country be able to meet them?


To be notified when the 2009 ASCD Legislative Agenda is published online, sign up to be an Educator Advocate. You will also receive regular updates when Congress is in session and alerts telling you when your voice can make a difference for kids.


  1. Obama’s administration’s mission to ensure that every child in the United States has access to a complete and competitive education, is a bunch of bull. The public school system is broken. If we truly want children in the U.S. to receive a COMPLETE AND COMPETITIVE education we nee to use a voucher system where parents can send their children to the school of their choice. Private education, be it Catholic, Christian,etc.is becoming out of reach due to our economic crisis and at the same time is the BEST education children can receive.
    President Obama’s plan doesn’t include THESE CHILDREN. Therefore, he ISN’T truly promising what he says he is.

  2. I agree that we can continue to improve the education of all children in this country and around the world. I am just tired of hearing how taking money from those of us who have worked the public schools (and getting it done) and giving it to charters and private schools is going to improve the system. Improvement comes through authentic accountability and high standards for all_not through bashing the public school system via increased unfunded regulation all the while allowing for non-traditional public schools to have flexibility and less accountability.

  3. “One of the methods used by statists to destroy capitalism consists in establishing controls that tie a given industry hand and foot, making it unable to solve its problems, then declaring that freedom has failed and stronger controls are necessary.”
    —Ayn Rand, 1975
    The educational system has become beggars for federal handouts. We won’t quit begging, that is for sure.

  4. I am glad to hear the words “complete” and “competitive” added to describe education. Under NCLB, I do not believe we could adequately use those words to describe education.
    It is now time for us to begin dialogue to define what “complete” and “competitive” mean. In my opinion, NCLB uses old paradigms. We cannot go back in time.
    With the revolution of world technology and interconnectedness of world and national economies, we have to change our paradigms of what “complete” and “competitive” means. We have to look at global educational standards, and define the skills, attitudes, and civil responsibilities our students need to compete in our world and our nation.
    The standardized tests we currently have are based an old Literacy 1.0 paradigm that no longer suffices. Accountability must be redesigned.
    The Whole Child is a beginning, and that needs to be expanded now as well. Will it cost money? Yes, it will, and I am tired of hearing the conservatives preach that now is not the time. Redefining education for the future of our nation is urgent. Now is the time to define and fund!
    Barbara Faler
    Retired school administrator, school board member, and EDA college instructor

  5. Sheryl -I’m not sure where you live, where you can declare the Catholic or Private schools are the BEST. They are not here in the Chicago Area. The only reason some have higher test scores is that they do not regularly accept or include students with disabilities or English Language learners in their scores. Even with that huge advantage, their scores are frequently not that much better. Additionally, test scores only indicate success in a small part of a child’s whole education and the public schools offer a wider curriculum. If people WANT their children to go to private schools, they should want to pay for it. We provide, after all, a free and appropriate education to all children. We can’t be giving money to some which would then have a detrimental effect on All the others. Let us use the money wisely to enhance the education of all of our children.


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