The Brokaw Plan for Schools: Greatest Generation, Take Two

Tom Brokaw has his own agenda for how to preserve education improvement efforts amid the financial crisis, he told those of us gathered at MoMA this afternoon for the Broad Prize announcement (PDF), in a keynote address over lunch. The Greatest Generation used the Great Depression a launching pad for a surge of domestic programs like the G.I. Bill. But in the intervening years, Brokaw said, Americans’ interest in education declined. “Somewhere along the way we did lose our urgency and common passion about education,” he said.

But he said now is the time for a new great generation to stand up, using the financial crisis as motivation for a soaring effort to rebuild America’s schools. To describe the generation, which he suggested is alive and kicking, he named charter schools and new private schools — as well as his niece, a Teach For America corps member who he said has been living off and on in his Manhattan apartment while working in the New York City schools. He also paid props to Eli and Edythe Broad.

“At a time when we’re flummoxed in America about the place of wealth and the use of it, I would say that Eli and Edythe are models,” he said.

~ Guest blogger Elizabeth Green

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