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Obama Speaks on Education
posted by: Alix | September 28, 2010, 02:31 PM   

On the heels of the national dialogue fueled by mainstream media outlets like NBC's Education Nation and Waiting for "Superman", President Obama spoke to NBC yesterday on the state of education across the country.

The president was candid in his assessment of American schools, even fielding questions about his children. When questioned about his daughters' education and whether they would receive the same caliber of education at a D.C. public schools as their $30,000 a year private school, Obama answered, "I'll be blunt with you: The answer is no, right now." D.C. public schools "are struggling," he explained, "[they] have made some important strides over the last several years to move in the direction of reform. There are some terrific individual schools in the D.C. system."

Obama admitted that although as president he could maneuver his children into a high performing public school in D.C., not all parents have that power and that shouldn't hold any child back from receiving a top notch education.

Providing not just a stringent assessment, but a call for change, Obama used the opportunity to advocate for some controversial reforms. Among the changes, Obama advocated for a longer school year, elevating high performing teachers, and removing those teachers who perform poorly.

President Obama asserted, "That (extra) month makes a difference. It means that kids are losing a lot of what they learn during the school year during the summer. It's especially severe for poorer kids who may not see as many books in the house during the summers, aren't getting as many educational opportunities."

Obama pushed for elevating teachers and holding them to a high level of professionalism and respect like in high performing nations such as China. He was also tough on unions and their fight to halt reforms, "Unions should not defend a status quo in which one-third of children are dropping out," Obama challenged. He advocated for organizations to welcome change for the good of students.

Separately Monday, Obama announced a goal of recruiting 10,000 teachers over the next two years in the fields of science, technology, engineering, and math.

What did you think of the President's assessment and ideas?

Comment below.

Comments (3)Add Comment
Let's Deal With the Real Problem
written by Bruce Deitrick Price, October 05, 2010

Ever since John Dewey, the top educators have waged a scorched earth campaign against facts, knowledge, basics, and mastery. Those are precisely what we have to get back to.

I think the President is doing his usually great job of saying, look over there... He's not dealing with fundamentals.

I just put a piece on that argues that most people don't realize how bad things are, nor how long they've been really bad. (See: ) The Education Establishment takes advantage of this.

My plan is: let's get people informed and indignant. That's the only way we'll get improvement.

Bruce Deitrick Price
extend school year and add more teachers
written by Lorie FL, October 04, 2010

I agree the summer vacation should not be as long and the school year should be spread out more. I used to home school my kids in the summer for the reason my son would forget a lot of things. They are ready to go to school after six weeks. And they long for more breaks in the spring to early summer. So if the summer is shorter and more breaks are in the spring, it will work.

Also, there needs to be more reading teachers and schools need to start teaching critical thinking skills. Without improved reading and critical thinking kids don't learn as well.
written by jill.n, September 28, 2010

I completely support a longer school year. And I support higher expectations for teachers.

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