Let the Games Begin

August 05, 2008 1 min read

As the world turns its eyes toward China for the upcoming Summer Olympic Games, former W.Va. Gov. Bob Wise has donned a sweatsuit, ready to talk international competition. But in a series of video messages being released over the next two weeks, Wise, the president of the Alliance for Excellent Education, will outline the need for the U.S. to aim to be among the best in the world not just in athletics, but in academics.

In his kickoff message, Wise talks about the “Academic Olympics” and the need for high school students to compete on the world stage.

“We train some of the best, the fastest, and most agile athletes in the world,” he says, standing in front of an image of the Birds Nest Stadium, the site of this Friday’s opening ceremonies for the Beijing Olympics. “But while our U.S. athletes usually bring home gold, silver, and bronze, there’s one international competition this year in which our young people ranked 13th! I’m talking about high school graduation rates.”

I don’t think Wise will get the kind of market share for his broadcasts as NBC will when Michael Phelps tries to add to the six gold medals he has for swimming, or when Shawn Johnson tumbles for the women’s gymnastics team. When you see the video, you’ll know why. But his screen presence aside, he makes his point. If the U.S. saw preparation of young scholars as similarly important as the development of athletic talent, we might make some headway in gaining an international reputation for our education system as well.

The video will be available here on Wednesday morning.

A version of this news article first appeared in the Curriculum Matters blog.

Let us know what you think!

We’re looking for feedback on our new site to make sure we continue to provide you the best experience.


This content is provided by our sponsor. It is not written by and does not necessarily reflect the views of Education Week's editorial staff.
Future of Work Webinar
Digital Literacy Strategies to Promote Equity
Our new world has only increased our students’ dependence on technology. This makes digital literacy no longer a “nice to have” but a “need to have.” How do we ensure that every student can navigate
Content provided by
Mathematics Online Summit Teaching Math in a Pandemic
Attend this online summit to ask questions about how COVID-19 has affected achievement, instruction, assessment, and engagement in math.
School & District Management Webinar Examining the Evidence: Catching Kids Up at a Distance
As districts, schools, and families navigate a new normal following the abrupt end of in-person schooling this spring, students’ learning opportunities vary enormously across the nation. Access to devices and broadband internet and a secure

EdWeek Top School Jobs

Project Manager
United States
K12 Inc.
High School Permanent Substitute Teacher
Woolwich Township, NJ, US
Kingsway Regional School District
MS STEM Teacher
Woolwich Township, NJ, US
Kingsway Regional School District
Speech Therapist - Long Term Sub
Woolwich Township, NJ, US
Kingsway Regional School District

Read Next

Curriculum Theater Educators Struggle to Keep Shows Going Amid COVID-19
Convinced that the show must go on, high school theater troupes are turning to livestreamed shows, outdoor performances, and radio plays.
8 min read
Wearing masks to prevent the spread of COVID-19, students from New Albany (Ind.) High School perform the musical “Bright Star” earlier this year.
Wearing masks to prevent the spread of COVID-19, students from New Albany (Ind.) High School perform the musical “Bright Star” earlier this year.
Photo courtesy of Crit Fisher
Curriculum Letter to the Editor Curriculum as a Lever for Racial Equity
To the Editor:
The special report "Big Ideas for Confronting Racism in Education" (Sept. 23, 2020) highlighted essential ingredients for creating anti-racist schools, including better teacher preparation, expanded anti-bias training, and universal internet access, among others.
1 min read
Curriculum What Should Students Learn in Sex Education? In This State, Voters Will Decide
Washington voters will consider a statewide mandate for comprehensive sex education.
6 min read
sex ed SOC 2
Curriculum Does Social Studies Build Stronger Readers? A New Study Suggests So
Spending 30 more minutes per day on social studies in elementary school is linked with better reading performance by the end of 5th grade, according to a new study.
3 min read