"A world-class education is the single most important factor in determining not just whether our kids can compete for the best jobs but whether America can out-compete countries around the world. America's business leaders understand that when it comes to education, we need to up our game. That's why we’re working together to put an outstanding education within reach for every child"
-PRESIDENT BARACK OBAMA, JULY 18, 2011
Providing a high-quality education for all children is critical to America’s economic future. Our nation’s economic competitiveness and the path to the American Dream depend on providing every child with an education that will enable them to succeed in a global economy that is predicated on knowledge and innovation. President Obama is committed to providing every child access to a complete and competitive education, from cradle through career.
Focus on Early Childhood Education
The years before a child reaches kindergarten are among the most critical in his or her life to influence learning. President Obama is committed to providing the support that our youngest children need to prepare to succeed later in school. The President supports a seamless and comprehensive set of services and support for children, from birth through age 5. Because the President is committed to helping all children succeed – regardless of where they spend their day – he will urge states to impose high standards across all publicly funded early learning settings, develop new programs to improve opportunities and outcomes, engage parents in their child’s early learning and development, and improve the early education workforce.
Reform and Invest in K-12 Education
The President will reform America’s public schools to deliver a 21st Century education that will prepare all children for success in the new global workplace. President Obama’s Commencement Challenge, Race to the Top, fosters critical thinking, problem solving, and the innovative use of knowledge to prepare students for college and career, helping America win the future by out-educating our competitors and achieving his goal of having the highest proportion of college graduates in the world by 2020.
President Obama will push to end the use of ineffective, "off-the-shelf" tests, and support new, state-of-the-art assessment and accountability systems that provide timely and useful information about the learning and progress of individual students.
Teachers are the single most important resource to a child’s learning. President Obama will ensure that teachers are supported as professionals in the classroom, while also holding them more accountable. He will invest in innovative strategies to help teachers to improve student outcomes, and use rewards and incentives to keep talented teachers in the schools that need them the most. President Obama will invest in a national effort to prepare and reward outstanding teachers, while recruiting the best and brightest to the field of teaching. And he will challenge State and school districts to remove ineffective teachers from the classroom.
Charter Schools: The President believes that investment in education must be accompanied by reform and innovation. The President supports the expansion of high-quality charter schools. He has challenged States to lift limits that stifle growth among successful charter schools and has encouraged rigorous accountability for all charter schools.
Restore America’s Leadership in Higher Education
President Obama is committed to ensuring that America will regain its lost ground and have the highest proportion of students graduating from college in the world by 2020. The President believes that regardless of educational path after high school, all Americans should be prepared to enroll in at least one year of higher education or job training to better prepare our workforce for a 21st century economy.
To accomplish these overarching goals, the President is committed to increasing higher education access and success by restructuring and dramatically expanding college financial aid, while making federal programs simpler, more reliable, and more efficient for students. The President has proposed a plan to address college completion and strengthen the higher education pipeline to ensure that more students succeed and complete their degree. His plan will also invest in community colleges to equip a greater share of young people and adults with high-demand skills and education for emerging industries.