On July 29, 2010 at the National Urban League’s Centennial Convention, President Obama delivered a candid address on education reform, challenging critics of his “Race To The Top” Program by calling the status quo “morally inexcusable” and “economically indefensible.”
”It’s an economic issue when the unemployment rate for folks who’ve never gone to college is almost double what it is for those who have gone to college. It’s an economic issue when eight in 10 new jobs will require workforce training or a higher education by the end of this decade. It’s an economic issue when countries that out-educate us today are going to out-compete us tomorrow.
“Now, for years, we’ve recognized that education is a prerequisite for prosperity. And yet, we’ve tolerated a status quo where America lags behind other nations. Just last week, we learned that in a single generation, America went from number one to 12th in college completion rates for young adults. Used to be number one, now we’re number 12.
“At the same time, our 8th graders trail about eight — 10 other nations — 10 other nations in science and math. Meanwhile, when it comes to black students, African American students trail not only almost every other developed nation abroad, but they badly trail their white classmates here at home — an achievement gap that is widening the income gap between black and white, between rich and poor.
“We’ve talked about it, we know about it, but we haven’t done enough about it. And this status quo is morally inexcusable, it s economically indefensible, and all of us are going to have to roll up our sleeves to change it.”