Fact Sheet: Expanding the Promise of Education in America

Fact Sheet: Expanding the Promise of Education in America

“In a global economy where the most valuable skill you can sell is your knowledge, a good education is no longer just a pathway to opportunity, it is a pre-requisite. That is why it will be the goal of this Administration to ensure that every child has access to a complete and competitive education – from the day they are born to the day they begin a career.”

- President Barack Obama

Address to Joint Session of Congress, February 24, 2009

Providing a high-quality education for all children is critical to America’s economic future. Education has always been the foundation for achieving the American dream, providing opportunity to millions of American families, newcomers, and immigrants. Our nation’s economic competitiveness depends on providing every child with an education that will enable them to compete in a global economy that is predicated on knowledge and innovation.

Progress toward this goal requires a race to the top to reform our nation’s schools. It requires holding schools accountable for helping all students meet world-class standards aligned to the demands of the 21st century workforce. It requires solutions for schools to close the achievement gap, and strategies to accelerate the learning of those that are the furthest behind. It requires new reforms to promote effective teaching and attract the best and brightest into the profession. It requires a national strategy to confront America’s persistent dropout crisis, and strengthen transitions to college and career.

President Obama’s agenda will improve outcomes for students at every point along the educational pipeline.

Early Education: A Strong Foundation for Success

Research demonstrates that the years before kindergarten comprise the most critical time in a child’s life to influence educational outcomes. It’s time that our nation make the early investments that will transform lives, create opportunity and save money in the long term

· President Obama is committed to helping states develop seamless, comprehensive, and coordinated “Zero to Five” systems to improve developmental outcomes and early learning for all children.

· In the 2010 budget, Early Learning Challenge Grants will encourage states to raise the bar on the quality of early education, upgrade workforce quality, and drive improvements across multiple federal, state, and local funding streams.

· Incentive grants to states will support data collection across programs (Head Start, child care, Pre-kindergarten, and other early learning settings), push for uniform quality standards, and step-up efforts for the most disadvantaged children.

K-12: Fostering a Race to the Top

To excel in the global economy, we must adopt world-class standards, assessments, and accountability systems to upgrade the quality of teaching and learning in America’s classrooms.

· The President encourages an end to the practice of low-balling state reading and math standards, and will promote efforts to enhance the rigor of state-level curriculum to better foster critical thinking, problem solving, and the innovative use of knowledge needed to meet 21st century demands.

· He will push to end the use of ineffective “off-the-shelf” tests, and promote the development of new, state-of-the-art data and assessment systems that provide timely and

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