Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Queen Rania and US Secretary of Labor Hilda Solis stress the importance of investing in education

On September 24, during a Plenary Session titled “Creating Good Jobs and Strong Communities,” Clinton Global Initiative (CGI) participants emphasized the importance of education.

Queen Rania Al-Abdullah of Jordan said education is a priority during elections, but as a less seemingly dramatic issue it slips down the list of priorities when politicians are in office. Queen Rania said, “Education is an issue of life and death. If you educate a child he is 50% less likely to get HIV/AIDS.”

To create a sense of what is needed internationally Queen Rania said, “We need $11 million to get all children in developing countries into education. That’s about what Americans spend on their pets every month.” Queen Rania believes involving the private sector in efforts for improving education is one way to advance this cause. She said we must “understand that education is not just the government’s responsibility. It’s everyone’s responsibility.”

Speaking about the need to focus on education within the U.S. Secretary of Labor Hilda Solis said, “The investment is sorely needed in young people. There are a lot of young adults who don’t have the financial ability to enter a four year college.”

Secretary Solis said investment in community colleges is “one step in the right direction,” but work is needed to “allow for four-year universities to make their tuition more affordable.” Speaking to funders and representatives from non-profits Secretary Solis said, “I would encourage people to reach out to this new administration, especially from the NGO side.”

Innovative approaches are needed throughout the education field. In the U.S. teacher retention and shortages are a major challenge in public schools that can impede young people’s ability to access quality education at a young age and create barriers to future academic success. Innovations in Civic Participation (ICP) is partnering with the National Commission on Teaching and America’s Future (NCTAF) in the creation of alternative pathways to teaching for AmeriCorps members.

This project is aimed at addressing the challenges of teacher shortages and retention in the most challenging schools by tapping an important pool of diverse, talented and committed future teachers—AmeriCorps members whose service focuses on education, children and young people in the most disadvantaged communities throughout the United States.

Given their commitment and experience serving in challenging educational settings, ICP and NCTAF believe that AmeriCorps members are a powerful resource for schools with high teacher shortages and low retention rates, if provided with suitable pathways to obtaining the necessary teacher certification. You can learn more about Pathways to Teaching here.

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