You may know that I started professional life as a teacher. So yesterday it was a pleasure to spend an afternoon back in the classroom as part of Teach For America Week.
And the kids in Ms. Voskuil's 7th grade reading class at Hart Middle School were great. They were enthusiastic about their work, and they asked a lot of interesting questions. A lot.
Ms. Voskuil's advice had been to "get them rolling," and they sure did get rolling. These kids are thinking about a lot of things, way more than we give them credit for. They are interested in President Obama. They are interested in their government.
I talked with the class about the safety mission of our DOT. But my fundamental message was simple: learn to read and do basic math as well as you can. Because when I was a 7th grader I'm pretty sure I never imagined I'd be Secretary of Transportation. Most kids don't know where they'll end up or what jobs they'll be doing. Mastering basic skills allows them to be prepared to seize any opportunity that comes their way.
Look, we need to position our kids for success. America cannot afford to deny any of its kids educational opportunities. We've all heard the expression that "a chain is only as strong as its weakest link." Well, a world-class education is the way we strengthen young Americans and prepare them to achieve.
And I can assure you that Ms. Voskuil's class is on its way to achievement.