Tick tock. Did you realize that every hour of the school day, 857 U.S. students drop out? If not, the College Board is looking to educate you about this growing crisis in American education. To dramatize their point, they staged a massive ‘show and tell’ by arranging 857 empty desks on the National Mall in Washington, DC recently. Their mission: to get education reform on the national political agenda.
The desks are just part of a new campaign, DON’T FORGET ED! According to a recent report,it is slated to include a full page ad in the New York Times, public service announcements, a website, social media and direct mail. The initiative marks a landmark for the College Board, an association that represents over 6000 educational organizations, but has always steered clear of political waters. However, don’t expect the testing-behemoth to endorse any candidates; this is strictly a campaign to inform and rally the American public.
Education has not been a big issue in a presidential contest since 2000, in the Bush/Gore dust-up. And while both President Obama and former Governor Romney have addressed the issue, it is not expected to be a game changer in the 2012 election. Both candidates face deep divides in their own parties on education policy, and ultimately the federal government exercises limited control over public schools. This authority lies with the states and local groups like schoolboards.
However, the folks at Policy Mic, a bipartisan online platform for Millennials, have picked up on the DON’T FORGET ED! campaign, and released their laundry list of issues they feel should be on the agenda during the 2012 elections:
Back on the Mall, college students circulated among the visitors, gathering signatures of DON”T FORGET ED! petitions. When asked what made her make the trip from New York to Washington to stand in the hot sun with a clipboard, one young woman cited the fact that thesteep sticker price keeps too many people from pursuing a college education.
“This is supposed to be the land of opportunity,” she said.