RATIGAN, HOST "THE DYLAN RATIGAN SHOW": U.S. Education Secretary, Arne Duncan, and it's a pleasure to see you again.
DUCNAN: Thanks for having me Dylan.
RATIGAN: Describe to me the difference between the country that has the political will to demand no more bad schools and how the citizens in that country behave and a country that claims to want good schools and yet perhaps doesn’t actually have the political will. .
DUNCAN: We have to awaken our public to demand much better. Let me give you a prime example. When the president visits South Korea which has some very, very high performing schools. He’s always, asking about education, what's working what’s not. He asked the president of South Korea, what's the biggest education challenge your nation faces and this is a very high performing country.
President of South Korea said immediately, the parents are too demanding. Even my poorest parents demand a world class education for their children and I have to import thousands and thousands of teachers to teach my children English because parents demand it. Dylan I wish parents in our country – I think we’re getting to that point you guys are helping to create this movement. Parents in this country have to demand the best for their children and have to create the political will and the political climate where failure is unacceptable.
RATIGAN: So when we look at--there's so many things to be frustrated about in this country right now. This just one of them. How do we channel the frustration? How do people that are watching this show and reading these statistics, take this frustration and channel it to where it's beneficial to the solution as opposed to just going in screaming at their teachers, screaming their government screaming at their husband, whatever it is.
DUNCAN: And that perpetuates the problem. Two concrete things, every adult, every parent can do today, first, education has to be an issue that folks vote on. And whatever political party whatever you want to do as we go to these elections in November, every single candidate should be able to justify what they're doing to not perpetuate the status quo, but to drive education reform in this country.
Education is usually when people are voting it's like six, seven, eight on the list. And we're paying a huge price for this. So as we go into these elections in November, everybody should be voting with a real sense in my mind as to where that candidate stands.
Secondly, everyone has to be part of the solution. You hit on it. That neighborhood school. Whether or not you have children, go knock on the door. See if you can help tutor after school. So if you can help coach.
So if you can be a mentor. We can’t just admire the problem from the sidelines, everybody has to step up and be part of the solution in their community.
RATIGAN: How do you get out of the us and them concept and get back to the us concept of education?
DUNCAN: I think it’s very simple, when adults fight, children lose. Like in a family. So all of us, parents, teachers, unions, superintendents, principal principals, all of us have to have one, a single minded laser like focus on what's the right thing to do to help every single child fulfil their tremendous academic and social potential. Adult issues, adult egos, adult silos, adult ideology and politics have to go to the side. Single minded focus. We have to education our way to a better economy.
RATIGAN: Am I wrong that the problem is not that we don't spend enough money that we don’t have enough money because I look at the statistics.
There's money everywhere, but the problem is exactly what you just described.
DUNCAN: We need to invest—and let me be clear we can not invest in the status quo. We have to invest in reform. We have to continue to drive systemic change. Our dropout rate is unacceptably high. Our high school graduation rate is unacceptably low. And far too many of our high school graduates aren’t prepared for college and careers. What you’re seeing around this country, is this what we're calling a quiet revolution.
States raising standards, higher bar, college and career ready standards for everybody. States figuring out how to get the hardest working, the most committed teachers in the communities that need the most help.
There's a wave of reform moving. We need to invest in that, not perpetuate what exists today. It will not get out country where we need to go
RATIGAN: Secretary Duncan thanks for sharing a little bit of the story with us, appreciate it. .
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