Entries in Learning (3)


Romney Unveils Education Plan

Mario Tama/Getty Images(WASHINGTON) -- Mitt Romney unveiled his education plan on Wednesday, vowing to make sweeping changes to the public education system by expanding school choice by assigning federal money to low-income students who will then, in turn, be able to take that money to a school of his or her choice or use it for tutoring or digital education.

“I’ll be blunt,” Romney said during an address to The Latino Coalition’s Annual Economic Summit. “I don’t like the direction of American education, and as president, I will do everything in my power to get education on track for the kids in this great land.”

Romney, who said students in the U.S. are receiving a “third-world education” where “minority children suffer the most,” outlined Wednesday for the first time the specific steps he would take toward education reform.

“As president, I will pursue a very bold policy of change that will restore the promise of our nation’s education system,” he said, standing in front of a banner that read, “A Chance for Every Child.” “For the first time in history, federal education funds will be linked to the student, so that parents can send their child to any public or charter school of their choice.”

Romney outlined that states would have to provide students with “ample school choice” and that digital schools could not be barred from receiving the federal funds.  Students would be able to take the money to a school outside his or her district, but schools would have to be empowered to address capacity issues should they arise.

Mentioning the Bush-area education plan known as “No Child Left Behind,” Romney said that the legislation “helped our nation take a giant step forward in bridging the information gap,” but was “not without its weaknesses.”

“As president, I am going to break the political logjam that has prevented successful reform of the law,” said Romney.   “I’ll reduce federal micro management, but I’m going to redouble efforts to ensure that schools are held responsible for results.”

Romney’s plans will shift the responsibility of school report cards from the federal level to the state level in an attempt to give parents a clearer understanding of their child’s education. Additionally, Romney said he would consolidate the more than 80 federal programs that focus on teacher evaluation and provide incentives to states that “regularly evaluate” their teachers and reward those who are the most successful in the classroom.

“As president, I will make it my goal to ensure that every classroom has a quality teacher,” Romney said.

In a briefing call prior to Romney’s speech, the campaign’s domestic policy director, Oren Cass, said that the education plan would not involve any new spending.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


Obama to Students: Study Hard for the Good of the Country

President Barack Obama shakes hands with people gathered at Abraham Lincoln High School in Denver, Colo., Sept. 27, 2011. Official White House Photo by Pete Souza (WASHINGTON) -- In his annual back-to-school address, President Obama urged students to study hard and earn a higher degree because the country is counting on them for America’s future prosperity.

“I don't want to be another adult who stands up and lectures you like you're just kids, because you're not just kids. You're this country's future.  You're young leaders.  And whether we fall behind or race ahead as a nation is going to depend in large part on you,” Obama told students at Benjamin Banneker Academic High School in Washington, D.C.

In a subtle pitch for his $447 billion jobs bill, the president also said that he’s “taking every step we can to ensure that you're getting an educational system that is worthy of your potential.”

“We're working to make sure that you have the most up-to-date schools with the latest tools of learning.  We're making sure that this country's colleges and universities are affordable and accessible to you.  We're working to get the best teachers into the classroom as well, so they can help you prepare for college and a future career,” he said.

Promoting the American Jobs Act across the county in recent weeks, the president has argued that increased spending on schools will help increase America’s global competitiveness. Last week Obama also offered states waivers from requirements of “No Child Left Behind” in exchange for enacting certain reforms, including adopting college and career-ready standards and creating an accountability system that reports the lowest-performing schools and the largest achievement gaps.

Noting that the U.S. is now ranked 16th globally in the proportion of young people with a college degree, the president encouraged students to pursue a higher degree so that “you guys will have a brighter future and so will America.”

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio


White House Unveils 'Tools' to Boost College Graduation Rates

Comstock/Thinkstock(WASHINGTON) -- After falling dramatically behind other countries in college completion rates, President Obama is eager for the U.S. to catch up and reclaim the number one spot by adding an additional eight million college graduates in the next eight years. The White House unveiled new competitive grants Tuesday and a set of strategies, or “tools,” to help states reach the president’s 2020 deadline.

“Right now we’ve got an education system that works like a funnel when we need it to work like a pipeline,” Vice President Joe Biden said at a “Grad Nation” summit in Washington where he unveiled the “College Completion Tool Kit,” a 23-page document that offers seven strategies for boosting college completion.

The suggestions in the “tool kit” include aligning high school standards with college entrance requirements, making it easier for students to transfer between colleges, and targeting adults that have completed some college level courses, but never received a degree.

To implement these strategies, which Biden described as “no-cost and low-cost suggestions,” the administration is calling on all governors to hold college completion summits.

The administration is also offering a new “Comprehensive Grant Program,” which will provide $20 million to colleges to implement plans to increase graduation rates.

In addition, the administration proposed $173 million in competitive funds as part of its 2012 budget. The $123 million “First in the World” initiative would support programs that increase completion rates, hold down tuition and accelerate learning. States can also apply for the $50 million “College Completion Incentive Grants” which would reward states for reforms that produce more college graduates.

Currently, the U.S. ranks ninth in the world in a four-way tie for college completion and only 42 percent of young adults in the U.S., ages 25 to 34, have a college degree. To reach the president’s goal by 2020, 60 percent of young adults will need to complete college, meaning the U.S. will have to add an additional eight million college graduates in the next eight years.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio

ABC News Radio