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Obama Schools Americans on Broken Education System

The economy, global warming, the economy, the Middle East, the economy — these are all problems President Obama has on his plate. Next up! Education. Today the president laid out his syllabus for how to fix America's schools. Don't worry he hasn't forgotten about the economy; education is part of the master plan to fix it.

So what does the former professor want to see in American classrooms? Here are some of his principles (not principals):

  • Improved pre-k programs, beginning with $5 billion in funding from the stimulus plan.
  • A reduction in drop-out rates. Obama said: "Don't even think about dropping out." OK then!
  • A call for every American to complete at least one year of higher education or career training.
  • The end to caps on charter schools.
  • Merit pay for teachers, and taking teachers who don't perform out of the classroom.
  • Longer school days. He said: "If they can do that in South Korea, we can do it right here in the United States of America."

How would you grade Obama's plan?


melizzle melizzle 8 years
Some form of merit pay needs to be instituted... not tied to test scores, but there needs to be a way to reward excellent educators. And a longer school day will never be introduced- we value sports and other extracurriculars too much in this country.
Roarman Roarman 8 years
Vouchers give help towards private education based on income. So it would not be free for everyone only the really poor.
I want to know about the basis for merit pay. Do they take into consideration learning disabilities and ADHD? Do they consider that some kids' parents send them to tutoring while others' can't afford it? Are they going to introduce yet another test for teachers to teach to instead of just teaching general information? Starting in third grade in my state, the teachers are forced to prepare students for the state-wide test. That's all they learn! Ridiculous and sad. They have recess twice a week and PE twice a week...but only if it doesn't rain. I fully expect to see another stimulus package to pay for the extended day plan, and another stimulus package to pay for the extra meals that the school will need to serve when the kids are still there at 6 p.m. Yeesh. When does it end? Yes, I'm ranting...and breathless because of it. I think we should check into corporate schools. I've seen shows about them. Need to do more research, though.
Modus-Vivendi Modus-Vivendi 8 years
Wouldn't vouchers still make education free?
Roarman Roarman 8 years
Pre K here is all day because it is private, more of daycare setting you pay weekly for. I believe Pre K should be mandatory, like a grade before kindergarten. I agree that vouchers are not the way to go. Instead of fixing the problem, we are offering a solution to steer away from it. Quality education should be free.
Wow, since we're talking about education, grammatical errors galore, anyone? Sorry...
Taking funding away from public schools to fund vouchers for students to attend private schools does a disservice to those attending the public school system. The money needs to go to funding the public school system and getting those schools up to par. You should not being receiving a better education based on the school you go to. All schools should teach our children to the same level. It is my opinion that private schools should be there for those parents that want religion taught to their children.
KMattes KMattes 8 years
As a teacher, I firmly disagree with merit pay for teachers. We are doing SO MUCH as it is. Students are already being tested to death on material that is way beyond their developmental levels. Of course test scores are going to be low. So "holding teachers accountable" for this is the answer? I don't think so. I am, however, all for longer school days. Where I teach (Hawaii), some days students are only in school for 4 hours! They are released at 12:30. Factor in lunch, recess and transition times, that leaves less than three hours of "learning" time. Extend the day so students can do more than reading and math and test prep all day long!
Grandpa Grandpa 8 years
Obama girls will lose two class mates, when the vouchers go.
Grandpa Grandpa 8 years
The answer lies in vouchers, but look, they are eliminating them in DC, despite the fact it is a proven success.
bluesarahlou bluesarahlou 8 years
My mom's school is actually one of the only ones in town that does full day Kindergarten. And she had a pretty big part in changing it to full day. It doesn't make sense to me either Dave, especially since Kindergarten is such an important year!
UnDave35 UnDave35 8 years
Our prek and K are all day here. That's pretty bad when you only get 1 hour for learning. What's the point?
Roarman Roarman 8 years
We only have 1/2 day K where I live and it's like 2.5 hours. 1.5 of those hours are spent coming in, getting ready to leave, potty, snack and recess. Leaving 1 hour for learning.
bluesarahlou bluesarahlou 8 years
I can only speak for Kindergarten (my mom teaches), but having a full day of school for them has been incredibly beneficial for both the students and the teachers. The kids get more play time (which is just as important as the things they learn), and the teachers have more time to teach. I've never understood why most K days are only half days. It doesn't seem like enough time to do anything!
rachelsmith rachelsmith 8 years
Oh, and NCLB has done nothing but harm to my school, and others. My teachers must teach to the test, quite a bit. Lucky I got a perfect on the test when taking it a year early.
rachelsmith rachelsmith 8 years
Longer school days wouldn't help - I spend 6 hours in class and another four on homework a day (high school) and that is plenty. Year round school would help me learn more, but it would take away the long, homework-free break - in year round school, the teachers can assign homework over the break. Ugh. We need to hold teachers responsible for thier actions. I had and now have at least 2 completely incompetent teachers with tenure - as in, my SCIENCE teacher yelled at our class becuase he couldn't turn on his computer during a power outage. During our electricity unit. And he taught us, almost every day, multiple things that were flat-out wrong. He had so many complaints, but they did no good. I had friends in elementary school who had to sue their teacher for abuse (think racism, physical abuse, etc.), and it wasn't even the first lawsuit, and it took serious, serious accusations to finally get her let go. I go to the best schools in my public school district - prestigious, well-known, successful schools. In a large city.
Modus-Vivendi Modus-Vivendi 8 years
Hmmm. Elementary schools don't typically lose that time, because normally you're in the same classroom all day.
liliblu liliblu 8 years
Modus what about elementary school children? Certain subjects have to be taught for a certain amount of time. Teachers can get into trouble for deviating from the approved cirriculum. That leaves less time for questions and one on one help. I think teachers should have more freedom in the classroom. But NCLB has put an end to that.
momma-tikita momma-tikita 8 years
I agree Modus..I had a block schedule in high school...longer days are not a good idea.
UnDave35 UnDave35 8 years
I'm all for taking teachers who don't perform out of the classroom. When I was an ed major, I shadowed several teachers who told me point blank that some students weren't worth teaching. They weren't going to get it, and don't waste your time trying. I couldn't believe it, since she taught 6th grade.
Modus-Vivendi Modus-Vivendi 8 years
liliblue, it seems like block schedules help. When you go to four classes a day for a longer amount of time, you get more teaching time since you lose less time to transitions between classes, taking attendance, etc.
liliblu liliblu 8 years
I have mixed feelings about the longer school days. Some of the teachers I know say it's hard to cram everything in that they are required to cover. A longer day would help. Since testing has become the biggest measure of learning classes have become overly structured. Recess has been chopped done to about 15 minutes.
CaterpillarGirl CaterpillarGirl 8 years
and Roar, I am not a comment magician to know what was talked about previously.....
bengalspice bengalspice 8 years
My sister is already burned out from school and extracurricular activities .... and now there's a chance she might have to do it all for longer periods of time. The poor child is burned out at 13 ... what is she going to do when she gets to college or starts a full-time job?????
PeachyKeen19 PeachyKeen19 8 years
Well said kscincotta and Roarman :)
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