The children who comprise Generation E are America’s most scarce and precious resource. This Essential group of Americans must be the best educated generation in American history. Even if our friends in India and China educate only ten percent of their population, they will not be giving us leeway to sort out and discard any member of our Generation E. The need to guide each Generation E boy and girl to his or her highest potential is not just about ensuring American prosperity. The potential for creating a better world exists in each one of these children. None of them are expendable. Clearly, American educators must prepare all sixty million members of Generation E for the essential role they will play in keeping our nation and the world strong.
Thankfully, America’s teachers are uniquely well suited for this task. We are a part of the American value system which is replete with stories of individual acts of courage. Our collective history is reflected in stories of rugged pioneers risking all to move their families across a continent to a better life, immigrant families abandoning hopeless futures by crossing oceans to realize their dreams in a new world, poverty stricken, jobless men of the Great Depression era being fed and cared for by the families of strangers who were barely able to feed themselves, the sacrifices of courageous soldiers who gave their lives to save others, and civil rights protestors who withstood much more than police dogs and fire hoses to ensure the promises of liberty would be granted to all our citizens. The stories of American heroism in the face of difficult odds are countless and true.
And now, American educators can add their names to the list of citizens who have stretched beyond old limitations to create new and better worlds; worlds that have benefited not only Americans, but countless citizens of our planet. Educators are as essential as the children of Generation E in guaranteeing a promising future for America. In the Sarasota County, Florida school district, teachers who are working to acquire the special set of skills needed to guide Generation E students are called Next Generation teachers. Perhaps we should call these teachers Now Generation, because our children need them right now.
The leading edge of Generation E will enter high school this fall. What is in store for them in high schools across America? Have secondary educators made the reforms Bill Gates so passionately outlined in his 2005 address to U.S. Governors? We are nearing the end of the first decade of the 21st Century. The alarm bells are ringing now. The time to act is now.