A Re-Constituting of American Education?

Check out Ed. policy veteran, Chester E. Finn’s recent article in the National Review, A Constitutional Moment for American Education?National Review logo_weekend A senior fellow at Stanford’s Hoover Institute and president of the Thomas B. Fordham Institute, not to mention a former professor of Education and Public Policy at Vanderbilt and numerous high level posts in the White House and Dept. of Ed, Finn’s invitation to think outside the box was particularly refreshing.  

During that time, the 13 colonies concluded their war of independence, forged the Articles of Confederation, and, when that didn’t work, drafted and fine-tuned the Constitution. The world, I think, has never seen a more fecund or consequential period of governmental and political invention combined with test-driving, tweaking, and careful nurturing.

American education today finds itself in a similar period of challenge. But can we muster the imagination, leadership, and persistence to devise a different and better arrangement?

Finn sees 4 main elements as requisite for a true re-invention of the American educational system: Imagination, Statesmanship, Courage and Adapatation. His recalling the earliest history of this country reminded me of Obama’s final remarks in his Inaugural Address...

So let us mark this day with remembrance of who we are and how far we have traveled.  In the year of America’s birth, in the coldest of months, a small band of patriots huddled by dying campfires on the shores of an icy river.  The capital was abandoned.  The enemy was advancing.  The snow was stained with blood.  At the moment when the outcome of our revolution was most in doubt, the father of our nation ordered these words to be read to the people: “Let it be told to the future world…that in the depth of winter, when nothing but hope and virtue could survive… that the city and the country, alarmed at one common danger, came forth to meet [it].”

America:  In the face of our common dangers, in this winter of our hardship, let us remember these timeless words.  With hope and virtue, let us brave once more the icy currents, and endure what storms may come.  Let it be said by our children’s children that when we were tested we refused to let this journey end, that we did not turn back nor did we falter; and with eyes fixed on the horizon and God’s grace upon us, we carried forth that great gift of freedom and delivered it safely to future generations.


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