Earlier this summer, 857 desks were placed on the National Mall in Washington D.C. They represent the number of students who drop out of school every hour of every school day each year.
Now, a 6-foot-tall stack of $1.5 billion fake hundred dollar bills sits on a sidewalk near the New York Stock Exchange on Wall Street, representing how much money the economy would gain if the dropout rate of students were reduced by 1 percent.
Both installations are part of an initiative by the College Board to get people talking about education during the presidential campaign. Dubbed “Don’t Forget Ed,” they want to raise awareness on what their website calls a crisis in America.
“It’s my future that they’re messing with. This election is going to make a really big difference to me…If it’s not about education, then it’s not about me,” said Merone, a student featured in one of the campaign’s videos.
Don’t Forget Ed encourages Americans to get involved through social media sites, signing a petition, and talking to others about the issue. In a presidential campaign focused on tough subjects like the economy, health care, and the budget deficit, the College Board doesn’t want education to be left behind in the debate.
The College Board encourages a bipartisan debate and does not endorse political parties. They don’t cite specific policies they would like to see implemented, but encourage more money to be spent by the federal government to be allocated to education spending. Don’t Forget Ed’s role is to put education on the forefront in debates between presidential candidates.
Some statistics from their website:
- 70% of 8th graders can’t read proficiently and most will never catch up.
- U.S. students rank 25th in math and 21st in science compared to students in 30 industrialized countries.
- Those with only a high school diploma are about twice as likely to be jobless than college graduates.
To get involved, go to their website, dontforgeted.org, or post concerns on Facebook or Twitter using the hashtag #dontforgeted. Can the country turn these alarming trends around? Don’t Forget Ed thinks so. They want their voice heard and are calling on the presidential candidates to remember the state of education in America – and how it needs some serious reform.