In a major economic speech this Sunday, Democratic presidential candidate Sen. Barack Obama made clear that improving America's education system is one of his top economic priorities. The speech is noteworthy for the direct connection Obama drew between education and economic progress. Equally noteworthy, Obama laid out an education agenda that combines significant new investments--including a proposed $10 billion investment in early education programs--with reforms like charter schools and teacher pay for performance. Last week David Brooks criticized Obama for being "all carrot, no stick," talking in greater detail about the education investments than the reforms he'd support, and challenged Obama to support "real reform." In reality, as we discussed last week, improving education takes both investment and reform. We'd like to see more details about some of the reforms Obama discusses--particularly his proposals to hold education schools accountable and streamline certification, as well as how he would ensure quality and accountability for early educaiton programs he proposes investing in. But by spotlighting education reforms, along with investment, at the center of a major economic speech, Obama appears to be answering Brooks' challenge.