The Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA) was last reauthorized in 2002 as No Child Left Behind (NCLB). Although the NCLB has sparked many controversies due to its tests and the time spent on test preparation vs. time spent on education in other necessary areas of learning, it did shed light on the achievement and opportunity gap in our nation’s schools.
Students should be able to face the future when leaving school and they should have the best opportunity during their early education through their High School years. It should not depend on where they live, their family income or their circumstances.
In America, education is an equal opportunity. It should be.
The question for a High School student should not be, “Can you read?” That should be an expectation in elementary school and middle school. To be competitive in the world, the U.S. needs to ask more of its students which means the educational system needs to be more innovative, diverse and competitive itself, always moving forward.
Can U.S. students form an opinion about something they just read and justify their opinion? Can they create solutions when faced with problems? Are they prepared for college? Do they know what is going on in the world around them? Students of today are leaders of tomorrow, business owners, doctors, scientist, inventors, parents, and teachers. It is up to today’s leaders, teachers and society to help prepare them for their future.
On February 17, 2009 President Obama signed the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009.
The ARRA provides $4.35 billion for the Race to the Top Fund, a competitive grant program designed to encourage and reward states that are creating the conditions for education, innovation and reform. Click the above link to read more about how this Race to the Top fund is expected to change education.
Although some programs come in and seem to work while others don’t and some bills can easily get passed through Washington while others get held up or turned down, the fact is not everything goes as planned or as promised.
During the 2008 campaign, Obama reached many college students. One of the goals he proposed was to raise the $1800.00 tax credit for college students to $4000.00. However, through the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009, the existing law currently has the tax credit set at $2500.00 for college students.
As of July 1, 2010 all new federal student loans will be originated through the Direct Loan program, instead of through the federally-guaranteed student loan program. The Direct Loan program is a more reliable lender for students and more cost-effective for taxpayers. This bill will increase the maximum annual Pell Grant, expand the Perkins Loan Program, simplify the application process for federal student aid and boost support for community colleges.
The United States has continued to lose ground in education worldwide over the last 20 years. For the U.S. to gain this ground back, students must be able to do more than just basic studies. They need to be able to use those skills and apply them to real life situations, show the ability to think, reason and problem solve. The educational system needs to provide them the atmosphere to grow and learn.
Students need the ability for further education and the desire to pursue higher goals. Family and community involvement, with the help of schools, will better promote an environment in which a student is able to seek support and focus on their studies.
By being involved in local schools, school districts and knowing what is going on with upcoming pieces of legislation, a person can vote on important matters that will be in effect for many years to come. Education is the key to the future.
“Education is the most powerful weapon which you can use to change the world.” Nelson Mandela