- The Washington Times - Tuesday, August 18, 2015

It could be the first serious dialogue they have on the U.S. school crisis. A half dozen Republican presidential hopefuls bustle into Manchester, New Hampshire on Wednesday for the 2015 Education Summit, and organizers hope they leave their standard talking points in the campaign bus and have an “urgent conversation” about the failing state of American schools.

Stepping up for the K-12 bloc: Jeb Bush, Carly Fiorina and Govs. Chris Christie, Scott Walker, Bobby Jindal and John Kasich. The event is sponsored by the American Federation for Children, and The Seventy-Four  — a nonprofit, nonpartisan news site focused on education which takes its name from 74 million, the number of school-aged children in the U.S.

“Last year, 1.3 million children dropped out of school, and U.S. students have flat lined on national and international tests. It’s time to set aside the rhetoric and have a national conversation,” says Betsy DeVos, federation chairman.

There’s a media undercurrent at work too.

“There is no question that for far too long the failing education system in America has not been given the attention a crisis of this nature demands,” notes former CNN anchor Campbell Brown, a co-founder of The Seventy Four and moderator for the forum, staged in a local high school. “This summit is a unique opportunity to ensure education is a national priority as we head into 2016.”

The event will be live streamed online at 8:50 a.m. here . A second summit for Democratic hopefuls will be staged in Iowa in October.

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