Robert R. Livingston

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John Adams and Thomas Jefferson, our second and third presidents, were fast friends, Founding Fathers, both died on July 4, 1826, and had similar ideas on the need for free public education. The following is from The Pro-growth Progressive, an Economic Strategy for Shared Prosperity by Gene Sperling. Gene was a member of the Clinton administration for 8 years.

“In his Thoughts on Government in 1776, John Adams was emphatic that the government should literally spare no expense to provide equal educational opportunities for all children. He explained that ‘laws for the liberal education of youth, especially for the lower classes of people, are so extremely wise and useful that to a humane and generous mind, no expense for this purpose would be thought extravagant.’ It was of no small consequence that in 1779 Adams wrote into the Massachusetts Constitution, ‘it shall be the duty of legislatures and magistrates, in all future periods of this commonwealth, to cherish…public schools and grammar schools in the towns.’ Thomas Jefferson also made an outspoken commitment to fair starts through equal education, calling for a constitutional amendment guaranteeing free public education in 1806.” Jefferson was President at the time.

As a Founding Father, Jefferson has fallen out of favor in Texas. Adams is still a Founding Father in good standing in Massachusetts. At a future GOP presidential debate, let us ask Romney and Perry their views on Adams and Jefferson and free public education through college as advocated by Jefferson.

Please see Jefferson to miss the cut | Love thy neighbor