Obama refuses to budge on Race to the Top education reforms
Many critics of President Obama's Race to the Top education reforms come from core constituencies of his own party. Mr. Obama took a stand for Race to the Top in a speech Thursday.
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Obama had been pushing for $10 billion to save education jobs as part of a broader emergency spending bill, but when one proposal would have paid for it by trimming money for Race to the Top and other reform-based grants, he threatened a veto, and the jobs money was removed. Now it’s unlikely the administration will find another vehicle in Congress to get that jobs funding passed, Mr. Jennings says. It also appears that any rewriting of the nation’s education law, currently known as No Child Left Behind, will also have to wait for the next Congress.Skip to next paragraph
In Pictures Inside President Obama's White House
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Obama told the crowd today that “charter schools aren’t a magic bullet, but I want to give states and school districts a chance to try new things” – and then replicate what works.
He cited the Mastery charter schools in Philadelphia, where the level of proficiency in reading and math more than doubled in two years and violence dropped by 80 percent. “If [those schools] can do it, every troubled school can do it, but that means we’re going to have to shake some things up.”
Race to the Top has also encouraged dozens of states to adopt voluntary national standards designed to ensure that high school graduates are ready for college and a career. That’s important, Obama said, because some states had watered down standards to avoid having too many schools fall under the sanctions of No Child Left Behind. “I do not want to see young people get a diploma but they can’t read that diploma,” he said to applause.
Obama called for parents to take more responsibility, too. Improving education, he said, will take better schools and more parental engagement, a collective commitment and a personal commitment. And students themselves, despite the serious barriers they face, have to do their part, he noted.
“Our kids need to understand nobody’s going to hand them a future. And education’s not just something [where] you tip your head and they pour it in your ear.” he said, leaning his head to one side to demonstrate. “You’ve got to want it.”
- As Race to the Top competition intensifies, so do education reforms
- Uniform education standards: Momentum grows as more states sign on
- Study: On average, charter schools do no better than public schools