I wish I could have taken parents and politician from around the nation to an awe inspiring event held last week in Forest Lake, Minnesota. More than 500 parents, grandparents, educators, kids, and community leaders packed a gym to dedicate the conversion of a former hospital and clinic into the beautiful home of Lakes International Language Academy – a three-year-old charter public school.
Nary a conversation seems to occur on world globalization and progress without a mention of the famous Thomas Friedman book, “The World is Flat.” I cannot do it justice in these few short words I have to offer, but suffice it to say that the World is Flat is a tome on how boundaries and borders no longer matter to the creation of wealth, progress, and human industry that once seemed confined to a nation’s territory. Indeed, the world’s flattening has given us customer service from India, and a challenge to American industry and competitiveness that has never been seen before.
Ask any Mayor what his or her top priority is for the long term health of his or her city, and much more often than not they will say improving the quality of public schools. Mayors understand that a city cannot thrive with broken or even sub-par public schools. In too many of the nation’s urban areas students have a less than 50-50 chance of even finishing high school and educational achievement in the nation’s great cities remains far too low.