Education and the New Administration

Kim CarterUncategorized

by Katie O’Neal

Though education was largely absent from the campaign trail, President-elect Brack Obama did not forget education completely…

A few campaign promises:

  • Add billions a year to federal education spending

    • $18 billion in new spending on preschool and K-12 programs

    • $10 billion of this amount would go to help states develop preschool programs

  • “Recruit an army of new teachers”

    • Provide scholarships to college students and professional from other fields who agree to pursue careers in teaching

    • Start a residency program to recruit 30,000 new teachers through a process that combines coursework with working closely with a current teacher

  • Reform teacher pay models

    • Finance programs to pay bonuses to teachers who act as mentors or work in hart-to-staff schools in urban and rural areas

    • Underwrite federal efforts to experiment with performance-based pay for teachers

  • Double federal funding for charter schools

    • $400 million per year to charter schools

    • Supports school choice but opposes federally financed vouches for use at private schools

  • Work to rebuild NCLB

    • Said in the past that the “goals of the law were the right ones,” particularly the goal of narrowing the achievement gaps between minority and white students, however, he believes the mandate has been drastically underfunded

    • Improve the quality of tests used – rather than focus on the results of standardized tests, Obama would like to move towards tests that measure higher-order thinking skills

In an interview with CNN in late October, Obama identified education as a top priority but ranked it 5th – after the economy, energy independence, a health-care overhaul, and tax cuts for the middle class. Indeed in the face of an economic recession, the Obama administration may have a very difficult time generating support for such ambitious education spending.