Tuesday, March 10, 2009

President Obama's five pillars

At a speech this morning, the President described the central importance of education and some key signs that we need to step up our efforts:
So let there be no doubt: The future belongs to the nation that best educates its citizens -- and my fellow Americans, we have everything we need to be that nation. We have the best universities, the most renowned scholars. We have innovative principals and passionate teachers and gifted students, and we have parents whose only priority is their child's education. We have a legacy of excellence, and an unwavering belief that our children should climb higher than we did.

And yet, despite resources that are unmatched anywhere in the world, we've let our grades slip, our schools crumble, our teacher quality fall short, and other nations outpace us. Let me give you a few statistics. In 8th grade math, we've fallen to 9th place. Singapore's middle-schoolers outperform ours three to one. Just a third of our 13- and 14-year-olds can read as well as they should. And year after year, a stubborn gap persists between how well white students are doing compared to their African American and Latino classmates. The relative decline of American education is untenable for our economy, it's unsustainable for our democracy, it's unacceptable for our children -- and we can't afford to let it continue.
To make American education "once more .. the envy of the world" the President offered five priorities he spoke of as "pillars":
  • investing in early childhood initiatives
  • encouraging better standards and assessments
  • recruiting, preparing, and rewarding outstanding teachers
  • promoting innovation and excellence in America's schools (expanding charter schools and changing the school day and year to provide more learning time)
  • providing every American with a quality higher education
The full speech to the Hispanic Chamber of Commerce is available here.

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Updates and data on Kentucky education!