Statement from William E. Oberndorf, Chairman of the American Federation of Children:
I will always consider it to have been one of the greatest honors of my life to have known and worked with George Shultz who passed away on Saturday at age 100.
I came to know George because of school choice some twenty five years ago. George believed then, as he did right up to his death, that the country was in great peril because traditional public schools were not adequately educating our youth. He also believed that giving parents choice was the only way to make the public school monopoly responsive to parents and their children. As an economist, George Shultz understood the power of markets. As a humanitarian, he saw the tragedy of what occurs when people are not able to realize their full potential.
George Shultz was a pragmatist. However, once he became intellectually committed to something he was seldom deterred from trying to make it happen. Whether it be ending the Cold War or reducing nuclear arms, George thought about big ideas and then sought to put those ideas into action. How fortunate we were that education choice was one of those ideas he was so firmly committed to. As we honor the passing of this truly great man, let us resolve to commit ourselves with all our energy to the mission of education equality for all of America’s children. In doing so, we will help to ensure that the spirit of George Shultz, and all that he stood for, lives on.