What’s Matt Damon Thinking?? (Aug. 22, 2013)

I appreciate Matt Damon’s acting and many of his movies. He’s a talented actor. But when it comes to improving schools in California and the nation, I don’t know what he’s thinking! Matt Damon made news recently for his opposition to required student testing, even though this testing helps us measure the quality of the education we are providing our children.

Bi-partisan education reform is based on the simple notion that all children should be able to perform at their grade level in English and in math. President Obama, former President George W. Bush, the late Senator Teddy Kennedy, Sen. John McCain and numerous other leaders from both major parties have embraced this reform as key to improving education in our nation. The bottom line is that America’s education system is failing our kids – particularly the neediest. Our children deserve so much better.

It caused quite a lot of controversy when it was revealed that despite Mr. Damon’s statements on keeping the status quo in education, his own children weren’t even enrolled in public schools in Los Angeles. I believe in public education – my children all graduated from excellent public schools in Southern California. But too many children don’t have that opportunity.

What can we do? It’s up to all of us to challenge the education status quo. I urge you to join me in supporting groups like Students First. I hope you’ll visit their website – www.studentsfirst.org – to learn more about them and their crucial efforts. Students First is led by Michelle Rhee, former head of the Washington, D.C. school system, who received national attention for the progress she made in that troubled school district. Board members of Students First include Bill Cosby, Connie Chung, and business leaders from companies such as Starbucks.

Another worthy group is Educators 4 Excellence, an independent teacher-led organization that works “to ensure that the voices of classroom teachers are included in the creation of policies that shape our classrooms…” Visit their website – www.educators4excellence.org – to learn more and also consider supporting them.

These are just two of many groups working to make a difference in improving our schools. You can too. Thank you.