Obama: What are the Next Steps in Education Reform?

By Hope Gillette, Voxxi

President Barack Obama put an emphasis on education reform during his first term as president, and as he prepares to start off his second term, many people are wondering what the next education goals will be.

According to Education News, the President has a number of initiatives yet to be implemented, and he will push for more education reform allotments within the budget. With debt at an all-time high, however, experts feel there will be little windfall in the form of government funding.

Some purposed education reforms for 2013 include:

  • $1 billion in funding for a college “Race to the Top” program
  • $55 million dollars to fund the “First in the World” college program which encourages productivity in the classroom
  • A 7 percent increase for research grants
  • Funding for paid internships for low-income college students
  • $8 billion plan to encourage colleges and business to work together to train students in high-demand areas
  • Stricter rules for all for-profit colleges
  • Denial of certain grants for for-profit colleges
  • An $85 increase to the maximum Pell grant amount, to $5,635.
  • A 15 percent spending increase for the federal work study program
  • A 390 percent increase in funds allocated for teacher education, particularly those teaching math and science.

Education reform starts now

The 2013 education proposals are just the beginning of what the Obama Administration would like to see change in the country’s school system.

Change.gov, the Office of the President-Elect, lists the primary goals for the Administration as:

  • Zero to Five Plan, which focuses on early care and education for infants
  • Expanding the Early Head Start and the Head Start programs
  • Increasing access to high-quality childcare for working families
  • Reforming the No Child Left Behind law
  • Closing low-performing charter schools
  • Supporting high-performing schools
  • Making math and science education a national priority
  • Addressing the dropout crisis
  • Expanding high-quality after school programs
  • Supporting college outreach programs
  • Increasing the number of college credit courses available nationwide
  • Supporting transitional bilingual education efforts
  • Increasing teacher incentives to encourage teaching in high-demand areas
  • Holding teachers to stricter standards
  • Providing teacher incentives to retain teachers
  • Reward teachers who excel in the classroom
  • Introduce a tax credit which ensures all United States residents receive up to $4,000 of college education free
  • Simplify the process of applying for financial aid
  • Creating special support system for students with disabilities

“At this defining moment in our history, America faces few more urgent challenges than preparing our children to compete in a global economy,” said a statement on Change.gov. “The decisions our leaders make about education reform in the coming years will shape our future for generations to come. Obama and Biden are committed to meeting this challenge with the leadership and judgment that has been sorely lacking for the last eight years.”

This article was first published in Voxxi.

Hope Gillette is an award winning author and novelist. She has been active in the veterinary industry for over 10 years, and her experience extends from exotic animal care to equine sports massage. She shares her home with four cats, a dog, a horse, and her tolerant husband.

[Photo by The White House Flickr feed]

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