Obama Introduces Next Overhaul -- Education

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Posted: Mar 13, 2010 10:05 PM
Health care, financial regulation, environmental reform and now education.  President Obama announced his plans today to scrap the George W. Bush-era No Child Left Behind program for national public education.  Using his weekly address to outline plans for education, the president claimed his plan will better prepare students for life after high school and raise standards of teacher proficiency. 

While the nation is wrapped up in the ongoing health care debate, Obama today said he would be sending Congress his proposal and that his budget will include a $1 billion bonus incentive if Congress passes the measure this year.  Politico reports:

Obama’s proposal would toss out the core of the Bush-era law, which calls for across-the-board proficiency from all students in reading and math by 2014, and instead emphasize revamped assessment tools that link teacher evaluations to student progress, and a goal of having students career and college ready upon graduation.

Obama and his education secretary, Arne Duncan, have called the 2014 goal unreasonable, and have said that it led to watered-down standards. Instead, his blueprint calls for a new goal of career and college readiness for all graduating high school students by 2020.

The timing of this announcement interesting, considering Congress is poised to act this next week on an incredibly unpopular health care plan.  This message and its timing suggest the Obama administration is very aware that they are on the losing side of debates taking place at America's kitchen tables these days. 

Stay tuned as details of the president's education proposal emerge.  Obama has already angered his teachers union supporters by backing charter schools and merit pay for teachers. It will be interesting to see how this all plays out among his Democratic colleagues on Capitol Hill.