President Barack Obama on education reform

While this is a Canadian site, I have to congratulate U.S. President Barack Obama. Who would have thought that it would be a democratic president who would say what so many of us have wanted to hear for so long?

He wants to recognize and reward excellence in teachers. He puts the responsibility for learning on teachers and students alike. And, he sees the need for measuring student achievement on methods that, not only test for rote math and literacy skills, but also creative thinking and problem solving — so that our children and grandchildren are ready for tomorrows world.

And, last but not least, President Obama apparently sees the benefit of parents having choice when it comes to how they want to educate their children — including setting up charter schools where and when needed.  

Here then, in his own words, is what the President said on education on CNN (note pause between videos) and in print from the White House website:

The President explained why, on education in particular, we cannot afford to wait, noting that even within a few years America will see a different reality: ‘By 2016, four out of every ten new jobs will require at least some advanced education or training.’

The President pledged to end pointless partisan finger-pointing, and to ensure that new investments also came with new reforms.” 

He pointed to deep commitments both in the recovery act and his budget proposal, while also telling the audience that ‘It is time to start rewarding good teachers and stop making excuses for bad ones.'”

He proposed four pillars of reform:

  1. Investing in early childhood initiatives like Head Start;
  2. Encouraging better standards and assessments by focusing on testing itineraries that better fit our kids and the world they live in;
  3. Recruiting, preparing, and rewarding outstanding teachers by giving incentives for a new generation of teachers and for new levels of excellence from all of our teachers.
  4. Promoting innovation and excellence in America’s schools by supporting charter schools, reforming the school calendar and the structure of the school day.”

 Well, one hopes Prime Minister Stephen Harper and the Conservative government in Ottawa and all the provincial and terroritial premiers — especially Ontario Premier Dalton McGuinty — are paying attention. One also hopes that the Ontario Progressive caucus and possible leadership contenders are tuned into this issue because, without a doubt, this opens up a Pandoras box for Ontario’s Liberals.

Update: Another link has been provided by Educ8m with thanks. Check it out here. It apparently has the full text.

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