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Obama: Education is a national security issue

In this video from The UpTake forwarded to Education Futures from Bring Me the News, President Obama speaks on the relationship between education and national competitiveness (you can skip the introductions and jump to his talk which begins around 6:20 into the video):

President Obama: “So make no mistake: Our future is on the line. The nation that out-educates us today is going to out-compete us tomorrow. To continue to cede our leadership in education is to cede our position in the world. That’s not acceptable to me and I know it’s not acceptable to any of you. And that’s why my administration has set a clear goal: to move from the middle to the top of the pack in science and math education over the next decade.”

Okay, so science and math education are important, but isn’t building a creative and innovative workforce important, too? Can we create a “race to the top” for creating meaningful innovations in education?

Postsecondary innovation left behind

Higher education has never been in greater need of innovation. So, why stop fostering it? Today, Inside Higher Ed published a chilling article:

[…] the U.S. Education Department quietly revealed this week that the Fund for the Improvement in Postsecondary Education will forgo its main open grant competition. The main reason: The program’s funds have been drained by “special focus” competitions mandated by the Obama administration and by Congressional appropriators, as well as by pet projects imposed on the agency by members of Congress, for the second time in four fiscal years (it also happened in 2005).

[…]

A spokeswoman for the Education Department said on Tuesday that the Web statement about FIPSE had been posted accidentally, and that the cancellation of the competition was a “non-story” because Congressional appropriators, in crafting the department’s budget for the 2009 fiscal year in an omnibus spending bill in February, had essentially left no funds for what is supposed to be FIPSE’s general competition.

Read the full article at Inside Higher Ed…

Hope.

obama

I just returned from Washington, DC, where, although ticketed, I was not able to attend President Obama’s inauguration. I had a purple ticket. That disappointment aside, change and hope are here. Here are some highlights for what the Obama administration is working on for education:

  • Zero to Five Plan: The Obama-Biden comprehensive “Zero to Five” plan will provide critical support to young children and their parents. Unlike other early childhood education plans, the Obama-Biden plan places key emphasis at early care and education for infants, which is essential for children to be ready to enter kindergarten. Obama and Biden will create Early Learning Challenge Grants to promote state Zero to Five efforts and help states move toward voluntary, universal pre-school.
  • Make Math and Science Education a National Priority: Obama and Biden will recruit math and science degree graduates to the teaching profession and will support efforts to help these teachers learn from professionals in the field. They will also work to ensure that all children have access to a strong science curriculum at all grade levels.
  • Reform No Child Left Behind: Obama and Biden will reform NCLB, which starts by funding the law. Obama and Biden believe teachers should not be forced to spend the academic year preparing students to fill in bubbles on standardized tests. They will improve the assessments used to track student progress to measure readiness for college and the workplace and improve student learning in a timely, individualized manner. Obama and Biden will also improve NCLB’s accountability system so that we are supporting schools that need improvement, rather than punishing them.

Read more at whitehouse.gov