This week, I drove from my home in Atlanta to Nashville to testify in front of the Tennessee State House and Senate regarding the “Education Pays” act, an innovative learning program sponsored by Rep. Brian Kelsey. I am president of the board of directors for The Learning Makes a Difference Foundation, which has been piloting a similar program in Fairburn, Ga.
The “Learn and Earn” pilot is not complete, but it has already shown signs that it has effected positive change. Last month, when I visited the program, I met a middle schooler who told me “I was failing.” The key word was “was.” He was no longer failing. A parent told the middle-school principal that this program has turned her child around – the child now wants to attend classes and “wants to learn.”
Now that’s success – one student at a time.
It is spring (and hope does spring eternal) – time to move from dreams to deadlines, from talk to action. Real impact happens one person at a time – one solution at a time.
David Brooks’ recent column in the New York Times, titled “Throughly Modern Do-Gooders,” noted “Bill Gates … came to dinner with journalists in Washington last week. He looked utterly bored as the conversation drifted to presidential campaign gossip. But when asked about which programs produce higher reading scores, the guy lit up and became a fountain of facts and findings.”
Talk is not the goal and Government is not the solution. It does not make sense to send our money to Washington so that someone there can decide where it should be spent. Instead, we should each look at our own communities and direct our time and money to people we can help – one person at a time.
Instead of talking about our differences, let us make progress by working together. Instead of dwelling on post-racial, post-gender or post-partisan politics, maybe we should move towards post-political action.
I admire, commend, extol, honor and applaud our nation and its people, while recognizing each is flawed. Working together, our nation can become more prosperous and a more perfect union. Take your dream, give it a deadline and get to work.
God bless America, the land that I love.
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