On Thursday the NAACP released “Finding Our Way Back to First: Reclaiming World Leadership by Educating All America’s Children”, the organization’s new education report that the organizations says identifies the best practices for educating America’s children.

It is the first time in nearly a decade that the NAACP has put forth a comprehensive education agenda.

“If America is going to lead the world in this century the way we did the last, we must lead the world again in education,” stated NAACP President and CEO Benjamin Todd Jealous. “‘Finding our Way Back To First’ is the road map for our activists, the communities they serve, and the nation as a whole. Our proposition is simple: if every public school does what the best schools do, every child will be able to get a great education. The NAACP has pushed America towards greatness before, and with this plan as our guide our army of advocates will do it again.”

The report highlights four areas for proactive education reform to ensure that, upon graduation, all American students are college ready and/or career ready. These areas of reform are: effective teaching; prekindergarten preparation; targeted spending; and expanded time for learning.

“By every measure our children of color are behind. We get to where we are by working hard, but we have to give our children more time and we have to level the playing field,” stated Secretary of Education Arne Duncan, who offered remarks at the press conference launching the report. “We have one common enemy, and our common enemy is academic failure.”

“The strategic, targeted investments outlined in the NAACP report will generate positive education outcomes for all of our nation’s students, particularly the less fortunate among us,” stated Dick Riley, former U.S. Secretary of Education and former South Carolina Governor.

“We cannot talk about advancement in America without talking about our young people and education,” said Alma J. Powell, Chair, America’s Promise Alliance. “The simple truth is that preparing young people for success and ‘finding our way back to first’ is about much more than what happens inside the classroom, it takes the interest and investment from all of us. When we meet the needs of the whole child we are one step closer to preserving the promise of America.”

The NAACP’s report also draws a connection between our ability to successfully educate students of all socio-economic statuses and our strength in the global economic marketplace.

The NAACP will share the report with activists at its over 1200 units across the country to use as a resource for education advocacy in their communities. The report will also be shared with other leading advocacy groups like Gamaliel, a non-partisan, faith-based organization that empowers ordinary people to effectively participate in the political, environmental, social and economic decisions affecting their lives.

Real improvements to our education systems start with parents and community activists demanding more than the status quo for delivering quality education,” stated Ana Garcia-Ashley, Executive Director of the Gamaliel. “As activists, it is our responsibility to lift up these reforms and be the catalysts for change in our communities.”

“To fulfill its promise of greatness, this nation must adopt reforms that result in success for the vast majority of the country’s young people, rather than a fortunate few,” stated NAACP Education Director Beth Glenn. “The NAACP and its hundreds of thousands of members will continue to advocate for proactive education reform until our nation finds its way back to first.

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