Tuesday, September 9, 2008
Obama outlines his education proposals
(Barack Obama speaks about education in Dayton, Ohio, Tuesday.)
There weren't a lot of new ideas from Barack Obama Tuesday during an education speech in Dayton, Ohio. The headline was his support of doubling to $400 million the amount of federal aid for charter schools. Otherwise, he mostly emphasized proposals he has made in the past.
Among the initiatives he highlighted:
--Heavier investment in early childhood education. He is pushing to expand federal aid for pre-school programs.
--College tax break. Obama wants to offer a $4,000 tax credit for students willing to commit to community or military service after college.
--New teachers. He wants to recruit new teachers to the profession using service scholarships
--Replacing bad teachers. Obama said there should be a way to remove bad teachers from the profession, but said he was open to a variety of ways to do that.
--Pay for performance. He repeated his admiration for programs, such as on in Dayton, that gives extra pay to teachers who demonstrate high performance.
--Longer school days. He hinted that the U.S. may have to consider instituting a longer school day, pointing to other nations that have it.
--Graduation rate. Obama pledged to make the U.S. No. 1 for high school graduation rate. (I noticed he didn't pledge to make the country No.1 in the world for test scores.)
--College level courses. He said he wants to increase by 50 percent the number of high school kids taking college level or AP courses.
--Innovative school funds. He wants special funds targeted to support schools trying new ideas.
--New charter accountability. In addition to giving more money to charter schools, Obama called for stricter accountability to shut down bad charter schools.
--After school and summer school. Citing China he said if other nations can offer these programs, the U.S. should find a way to do the same.
--New classroom technology. Obama said he wanted to improve school technology by adding new tools like video "smart boards" and student laptops to classrooms.
--Paying for it all. Obama said all this could be paid for by redirecting the cost of just a few days in Iraq
--Testing. He was critical of "teaching to the test" and called on teachers to be a part of an effort to create "new assessments" for the future.
--Accountability. Obama called for "parent contracts" in which parents would promise to do their part to help their kids in school and promised an annual address to the nation to discuss progress toward education goals.
This post also appears on my education blog, Get on the Bus.
(Image credit: Jan Underwood, Dayton Daily News)