How Ted Kennedy’s Death Reminds Us What He Did For Education

Like many individuals of my generation, (and in any generation for that matter), Barack Obama’s presidency was the first real occasion (and hopefully not the last) in which I found myself invested and engaged in politics.  Sure I rallied up the previous years for democratic presidents of the past, and sure I was a campaign manager in college who helped my friend run and win the Student Association presidency at GWU, but I was never as involved as I was for Obama’s campaign.

It is through this amazing period in our history that I came to know and appreciate Senator Edward “Ted” Kennedy. There are many people who I speak to in casual conversations, however, who are affected very little with the news of Ted Kennedy’s passing. This is understandably so, because again, if it weren’t for my following and supporting Obama’s presidential campaign even before it was “hip” to do so, I would not feel such a sense of sadness for Ted Kennedy’s passing.  Michelle and Barack Obama expressed a similar sentiment in their White House statement.

I will always remember Ted Kennedy for this moment:

This was a significantly HUGE moment in Barack Obama’s candidacy; one which helped to propell him on to win the presidential election.  This speech occurred during the primaries when competition between Hilary and Barack was beyond hot, and HIllary, not Barack, was supposed to be the “chosen” one, and thus in the Kennedy Dynasty’s favor.

In any case, since this is an education blog, I wanted to highlight a few of the many contributions Kennedy made to education.  He was a highly respected individual with strong bipartisan tendencies; someone so significant to the history of senators and “good people everywhere” that the health problems that proceeded his death gave pause to the entire Congress, the country, and the world–a feat not easily earned.

According to the article, “What Ted Kennedy Did for Women”:

“In 1972, Ted was a big champion of Title IX of the Education Amendment which said that, “No person in the United States shall, on the basis of sex, be excluded from participation in, be denied the benefits of, or be subjected to discrimination under any education program or activity receiving Federal financial assistance.” This is the law that requires that women’s sports get equal funding to men’s in public schools. So if you played high school softball, thank Ted.”

According to the article, “World leaders pay tribute to Ted Kennedy”:

“British Prime Minister Gordon Brown said: “Senator Edward Kennedy will be mourned not just in America but in every continent. He is admired around the world as the Senator of Senators. He led the world in championing children’s education and health care, and believed that every single child should have the chance to realise their potential to the full.””

According tot he article, “Ten Things Ted Kennedy did for Latinos”


In March of this year, Senator Kennedy co-sponsored the Development, Relief and Education for Alien Minors Act, a bill that would allow immigrant children who were raised in the US to attend state-run universities, apply for financial aid and attain citizenship.”

And finally, while I can not say that I’ve vetted the following website (nor do I want to invest the time to do so), this website seems pretty thorough in terms of creating a comprehensive listing of Ted Kennedy’s moves on education issues over the years.  Visit the On the Issues website to see Ted Kennedy on Education.

RIP Ted.  It’s long past time for each one of us to take up the causes of education.  We can never just rely on one person to lead and fight the battle.

Leave a Comment Starter:   What other politician or notable public figure has irreversibly changed education in America or abroad?  How and why did he or she do so?


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