The biggest challenge my EducationF1rst initiative faces is one of momentum: America is not, and never has been, an intellectual culture. We do not, however much we might protest, live in a nation that treasures teaching and learning. On the list of things that we care about, education falls well to the south of things like entertainment and sports. Worse, in Instant GratificatioNation there is little tolerance for long-term solutions. We want it, we want it now, and if you don’t give it to us you will be out of business.
On the learning front, America is an object at rest, and objects at rest tend to remain that way until acted on by some force. The good news is that if we’re able to set our society in motion, that momentum then becomes something we can leverage in our long drive toward a sustainable culture of education.
While EdF1rst will generate meaningful results within the scope of my first term, the full impact of our efforts won’t be seen for perhaps a generation. Does this doom our project? Are Americans incapable of voting for the long-term future of their children? Maybe, but the stakes are too high for us not to try. We must be willing to play to the historians, not the pundits.
Over time, we must transform America into a genuine culture of learning. Families must believe, as mine did, that education is their best hope for a sustainable future, and they must be willing to act forcefully and meaningfully on this conviction. Children must grow up in homes where commitment to education is an assumption thatâ€™s embedded in the very DNA of family and community life. In neighborhoods where teachers are revered. In classrooms that are safe and nurturing. In a nation that values you for what you know, what you can do, how you can contribute.
In order for this to happen, we need a multi-pronged strategy that address both reality and perception.
- Our schools must show results in ways that families and communities can recognize, and quickly laying in the infrastructural reforms described elsewhere in my platform will be a critical first step.
- We will develop an innovative multi-channel public information campaign that stresses the benefits of the EdF1rst initiative and highlights its successes. This initiative will leverage every creative tool at our disposal, including both traditional broadcast and innovative social media channels.
- We will utilize Internet and mobile technologies to establish advocacy communities to encourage hands-on investment in the educational process.
- We will recruit spokespeople and success stories from across the entire spectrum of American life to promote the long-term benefits of a genuine commitment to learning.
- We will ensure that our communications efforts are two-way, dynamic and thoroughly interactive.
We must never lose sight of the fact that as society evolves, so also must our educational programs. We will never stop revising, growing and improving, and we will never stop asking our citizens to help us understand how this might best be accomplished.