Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Melody Barnes, The White House to me - Education

I want to share this letter with all of you as it directly affects your kids:

Dear Friend,

On Monday, President Obama gave a speech on education reform, addressing challenges that need to be tackled if we're going to out-educate the rest of the world. In a global economy that's more competitive and connected than ever before, we need to invest our time and resources to ensure our Nation's children are ready for the jobs of the future. As you'll see, the President laid out how we can all work together to ensure that every child gets ahead:

If you haven’t heard of "No Child Left Behind," reach out to a teacher you know, and ask about it. This major education legislation has inspired heated debate since it passed in 2001, and most experts agree it needs to be improved.

The President's speech on Monday details reforms to the legislation that will ensure we not only leave no child behind, but also that we help every student get ahead, including:

  • A flexible and focused accountability system that promotes shared responsibility, college and career readiness, and rewards achievement.
  • Support for reform and innovation at the state and local level that will empower both principals and teachers.
  • New efforts to drive resources and reform to the Nation's persistently low-performing schools and those with the greatest achievement gaps, and to ensure there is a great teacher in every classroom and a great principal in every school.

You'll also hear the President talking about the importance of a bottom-up strategy for reform. We need to get the best ideas bubbling up from states, educators, and parents across the country, and then replicate them in places that need help.

That's why I asked for Americans' ideas on education reform last week, and the feedback has been terrific.

Thousands of responses show broad consensus that the responsibility for our kids' educations begins at home – that parents are taking the time to expand on the lessons learned in the classroom and that teaching fundamental values is irreplaceable. As Wilbur from Nebraska put it:

What works for any school is a high level of involvement by both parents and teachers. Technology is great but the level of involvement by parents and teachers make great schools. The plan should be how to get parents move involved in their children's education.

As the President said in his speech, over the next 10 years, nearly half of all jobs will require something more than a high school diploma. In the long run, there is no better economic policy than one that invests in our children’s future. Nickolaus from Virginia points out:

Students spend too much time sitting and listening to lectures, and they have too little time doing hands-on projects with modern tools and diagnostic systems. America's future depends on hands-on engineers and technologists, and we need to do more to encourage students in these fields.

When we finish reviewing all of the comments, we’ll post a follow up on the White House website. In the meantime, I hope you’ll take a few minutes to watch President Obama's speech.


Melody Barnes
Director of the Domestic Policy Council

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