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In Florida and around the nation, students of all grade levels are struggling more than ever after years of pandemic-interrupted learning. Those thinking of pursuing college face mountains of debt and often uncertain prospects. And math and English proficiency, troubling at every level, seem to go lower with the older grades, an indication that we may be losing childrens’ interest and engagement as they move through the system - or, put in other words, we’re letting our kids down.

Too often, the hot button topics and polarized debates around education are missing the deeper questions. While politicians argue on and on about who should pay for college, few talk about why costs keep spiking so fast, or what value a four-year degree really has in tomorrow’s rapidly changing economy. While we debate rules around parental interventions and choice, we neglect too often the students most in need of educational help - those without strong support systems at home. And while we worry about tests and metrics, we lose sight of the ways that our score-driven, rigidly top-down education system fails to create students that actually want to learn.

The foundation that we build for our children is the foundation that we build for our future, and we owe it to them to build a good one. That means applying critical thinking, big-picture vision, and effective problem solving to how we better Florida education, so that the state’s students can gain those skills and more.