Education has long been a passion of U.S. Education Secretary Margaret Spellings, stretching back to the 1980s, when she worked in the Texas Legislature. While serving as chief domestic policy adviser to President George W. Bush, she was an architect of the 2001 federal No Child Left Behind Act. Its goal is for all children to become proficient in math and reading by 2014.
In 2005, the same year she became education secretary, Spellings convened the Commission on the Future of Higher Education to look at how to improve post-secondary institutions. Spellings is the first mother of school-age children to serve as education secretary, and only the second woman to be appointed to the post. In her final few months on the job, much of her time has been devoted to shoring up support for the No Child Left Behind law.
Q. Does the United States need to create world-class schools in every community, and, if so, why?
A. Absolutely, emphatically, yes. And why? Because we pride ourselves on being the center of innovation and creativity, and that has brought us the Internet and other technologies, but we are at risk of losing that. Our country has gotten more diverse [in terms of poverty and children learning to speak English as a second language], so some of the work is more challenging. More education is necessary for everybody. We have to pick up the pace. No Child Left Behind is about that.