Next stop on the road to the White House: Education reform?

Panelist Reed Galen, Dennis Su, Shannon Murphy and Victoria Hallebo

The latest discussion in USC Annenberg’s “Road to the White House 2012: Politics, Media and Technology” event series focused on educational policies and its effects in the upcoming presidential election.

The panelists included Reed Galen, managing director of Mercury Public Affairs; Shannon Murphy, deputy controller of communications at the Los Angeles City Controller’s Office; Victoria Hallebo of the USC College Democrats; and Dennis Su from the USC College Republicans.

Regardless of whether or not education issues divide Democrats and Republicans, both sides agree that educational policies need to be reformed because of the country’s poor performance, the speakers said.

Murphy indicated that this is an issue of concern because the U.S. will be unable to remain competitive in the world economy if it does not have an educated work force to support it.

Galen concurred with Murphy’s statement and expanded upon the dangers of an uneducated workforce.

“In addition to the economy aspect, there is a sociological issue,” he said. “How many thousands of kids on an annual basis drop out of LAUSD? They go somewhere. There’s no opportunity for them because they can’t get a job. Eventually, there’s going to be millions and millions of angry young people in the country,” he said.

The panelists also commented on the Dream Act, which would allow illegal immigrant children educational benefits currently offered to citizens.

Su, who spoke positively of Texas Governor Rick Perry’s support of the bill, said that the proposal makes a lot of sense.

“If we are spending millions of dollars in the education of illegal immigrants from K-12, it make sense for them to go to college and become productive members of society,” Su said.

The entire panel agreed that educational reform is necessary and that new policies are vital in the upcoming election.

“There is no silver bullet in education reform; it’s the biggest issue that we have,” Murphy said.

The next “Road to the White House 2012: Politics, Media & Technology” event features journalism professor Richard Reeves and a discussion on presidential leadership.

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