The future of our nation and the long-term health of our economy is tied to what actions we take across this nation to drive educational opportunity and achievement for all. This week, we’ll lay out (in our capacity as private citizens) specific descriptions of Barack Obama’s education plan, policies, and investments along with straightforward comparisons to what John McCain has proposed.
The starting point is Senator Obama’s deep, personal commitment to student achievement and educational equity that we have personally seen in his educational policymaking and speeches, in school visits, and in candid conversations with young people, educators, business leaders, and parents. Barack Obama’s own words best describe his commitment and his assessment of current results in American education. After describing the consequences of several disturbing educational statistics Obama says, “This kind of America is morally unacceptable for our children. It’s economically untenable for our future. And it’s not who we are as a country. We know there are great American schools that are beating these odds and proving that the color of your skin or the size of your parents’ bank account shouldn’t determine your educational achievement. Now it is our responsibility to make sure that every American school ensures all kids can reach the American dream.”
Barack Obama’s deep personal commitment to children and education has led him to offer a comprehensive and specific education reform plan including an $18 billion annual investment to be described in postings later this week. His plan and approach to education is guided by the following 10 underlying principles — i.e., the guiding stars of his education plan.
10 PRINCIPLES DRIVING BARACK OBAMA’S PLAN FOR EARLY CHILDHOOD, K-12 EDUCATION, AND HIGHER EDUCATION
1) Ensure school readiness by ensuring that every child has access to affordable quality preschool and early childhood education.
2) Drive excellence and professionalism in the education profession with an effective teacher in every classroom – transforming teaching into a profession that is consistently focused on results, offers meaningful and regular opportunities for learning and growth, and offers increased responsibility and more pay in exchange for teaching excellence and gains in student achievement.
3) Ensure equity in our investments — including incentives to help attract our best teachers and principals to the schools that need them most and extended learning time after school and in the summers for our students who need it most.
4) Make a national commitment to turn around our lowest-performing schools including by investing in what works.
5) Support meaningful public school choice including access to quality public charter schools.
6) Close the achievement gap and preserve and improve the measures of accountability that keep us focused on and progressing toward that goal. This includes working with our nation’s governors, states, educators, and others to ensure high quality assessment systems that measure growth, critical thinking, college readiness and give real-time feedback.
7) Leverage an expanded commitment to national service and AmeriCorps to improve our schools — including volunteers, corps members, educators, former military personnel, and social entrepreneurs of every age and background.
8) Ensure that all children have health care coverage and promote our children’s physical heath and nutrition.
9) Ensure that no high school graduate is prohibited from attending college due to financial hardship including covering the first $4,000 of tuition and fees for most students in exchange for their service to community or our nation.
10) Call on parents to take greater responsibility in their children’s education – to be partners in helping our young people become disciplined students and committed citizens.
Guestbloggers – Jon Schnur and Mike Johnston