Opening Paragraphs from the Preface of Reinventing Education, Hope, and the American Dream

The golden age of the United States of America, the richest and most powerful nation in the history of the world, is nearing an end according to some forecasters of Twenty-first Century trends. The world is in the midst of unprecedented economic, political, cultural, technological, sociological, and ecological changes that will forever transform human society. One of the drivers of American preeminence has been our systems of public education that gave the United States the most well-educated and productive workforce on the planet. As we enter the second decade of the Twenty-first Century, the U.S. is like a professional sports franchise that has seen the quality of its player development program languish over a period of years. That our competitors in the international arena are placing the education of their children at the top of their priority list while the American educational system remains a relic of times past has tragic consequences for Americans and our way of life.

That many of these nations reject the principles of democracy only heightens the magnitude of an already alarming situation. While the American economy is under relentless attack by emerging economies, its system of core values are eroding from within. Culturally, millions of Americans either have become or are becoming disenfranchised. They have lost hope in the American dream, no longer believe they possess control over their own lives and destinies, and no longer believe their government cares what happens to them. The disenfranchised have given up on even the idea of meaningful employment; they are denied access to quality healthcare for themselves and their children; and, they have been chewed up and spit out by the American educational system.

Education, historically viewed as the ticket to the American dream, is no longer relevant to this burgeoning population of our citizens. For these men and women, education has become a ticket to nowhere. As a result, millions of American parents do not teach their children that education is important and do not infuse their children with a moral compass sufficiently strong to withstand the pressure of an ever more powerful peer group. The children of these parents show up at a school that is dreadfully unprepared for them; arrive with little or no motivation to learn; precious little preparation; and, demonstrate no commitment to cooperate with their teachers or abide by rules of behavior. Then, they repeat the cycle, all over again, when they send their own children off to school a generation later.

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