Thursday, November 4, 2010

Education in the Obama Era, Part I

"America will not remain true to its highest ideals—and America's place as a global economic leader will be put at risk...if we don't do a far better job than we've been doing of educating our sons and daughters; unless we give them the knowledge and skills they need in this new and changing world."
-President Barack Obama, March 10, 2009

The American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA, or Recovery Act), which President Obama signed into law on February 17, 2009, provided a total of $98.2 billion in funding for the Department of Education. One month later, he outlined five pillars for reforming our schools that are guiding both the implementation of the Recovery Act and the President's fiscal year 2010 budget request for the Department of Education:

1. Investing in early childhood education and expanding access to quality childcare.

2. Challenging states to adopt world-class college- and career-ready academic standards and assessments.

3. Recruiting, preparing, and rewarding effective teachers.

4. Promoting innovation and excellence in America's schools by expanding charter schools, extending learning time, and turning around low-performing schools.

5. Increasing the number of people pursuing higher education and earning a postsecondary degree or certificate.

In this six-part series, we will look at each pillar, asking difficult and necessary questions of our lower-level involvement to ensure that the aforementioned is realized.

Since Obama took office we have seen:
-Sir Ken Robinson's "Schools Kill Creativity" has been downloaded 4 million times.
-In its 4th week out, indie film "Waiting for Superman" made over $4 million dollars.
-Anti-gay bullying spotlighted after teen suicides.
-DC Schools Chancellor Michelle Rhee resigned after 3 years due to lack of support for her reform efforts.

What do we do as average Americans?

(Read the entire FY 2010 Education Budget Summary HERE.)