Star Parker

For example, our own U.S.-based high-tech companies cannot find enough qualified Americans to fill their needs, thus they both hire from abroad and also move jobs overseas. Stuart Anderson of the National Foundation for American Policy notes that, over the last four years, quotas for visas for foreign high-tech workers to work in the United States were filled on the very first day of the year. Two-thirds of graduate students at American universities in technical fields are foreign nationals.

How should we be thinking about getting our own people educated?

To start, be honest about much of the reality of low-income communities. Despite increasingly popular rhetoric that the religious right is too focused on family values and not focused enough on poverty, family breakdown is what overwhelmingly causes and perpetuates poverty. The No. 1 challenge in low-income communities is rebuilding families and discouraging behavior, such as promiscuity, that undermines the family and its future.

Once again. Family breakdown leads to economic breakdown. The children in these families most likely will not get educated and will remain poor.

Second, appreciate that widespread family breakdown is already a problem in low-income communities, so it should be a local, state and national priority to seek every creative avenue for getting children from these families on the right path and educated.

In a powerful survey of educational reform in an article in The Wall Street Journal, Sol Stern of the Manhattan Institute quotes two of the nation's top education scholars as saying that "the best hope for education improvement continues to be a maximum degree of parental choice -- vouchers if possible, but also charter schools and tuition tax credits -- plus merit-pay schemes for teachers and accountability systems that distinguish productive from unproductive school principals."

Poor education drives income stagnation, income gaps and loss of American jobs. Shouldn't our presidential candidates start talking about this real problem and what causes it?

Star Parker

Star Parker is founder and president of CURE, the Center for Urban Renewal and Education, a 501c3 think tank which explores and promotes market based public policy to fight poverty, as well as author of the newly revised Uncle Sam's Plantation: How Big Government Enslaves America's Poor and What We Can do About It.