“Race to the Top” Competition & The American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009

Barack Obama will always have his supporters and critics, but one thing remains clear to me, he governs strongly from a position of deep principles, beliefs, and a sense of justice.

What this means is that I find his beliefs about energy, health care, and education to be pervasive throughout the way in which he governs.

The American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 makes good on his promise to the country to take education seriously.

It provides about $100 billion dollars for early childhood, k-12, and post-secondary education.  The act also delineates four guiding principles:

  1. Spend funds quickly to save and create jobs.
  2. Improve student achievement through school improvement and reform.
  3. Ensure transparency, reporting, and accountability.
  4. Invest one-time ARRA funds thoughtfully to minimize the “funding cliff.

(Please see the The American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 website for information about the categories of funds and schedule for distribution.)

The language of these four guiding principles are very aligned with the president’s belief in a transparent and accountable government.  The fact that the fourth principle indicates that funds should be allocated “thoughtfully” is also pointedly characteristic of the president’s character.

I personally familiarize myself with this act because I believe it highlights the direction that public education will be taking now and in the future.  Emphasis on transparency, reporting, and accountability means that as teachers, the demands placed on us to quantify student achievement and progress will make more sense.

In addition, specific reforms and changes that we are seeing taking place in schools are not simply change for change’s sake, but a result of federal mandates to do something effective to reverse the direction American schools have taken in regards to student achievement and global competitiveness.

Below, President Obama speaks on July 24, 2009 about education and the new “Race to the Top” competition to get states to implement school reforms that produce real results.

The following are two benchmarks he highlights in his speech:

  1. High Standards & Assessments – Common Set of Standards & Assessment
  2. Are outstanding teachers being placed in classrooms? – Link teacher’s performance to student’s performance – “Great teachers are the bulwark of America.”  Yes!!

Leave a Comment Starter:  Watch this video COMPLETELY.  THIS IS A VERY IMPORTANT VIDEO AS IT TOUCHES ON ISSUES IMPORTANT IN EDUCATION AND OUR SCHOOLS TODAY!!  Please comment with your response to this video!

Just two of my favorite quotes from this video:

  • “cradle to the classroom, from college to careers.”
  • “success should be determined by by results, and data is a powerful tool to determine results.  We can not ignore facts and we can not ignore data”

Visit the White House website, President Obama on “Race to the Top”, for this video and others in regards to pressing issues in America and in American education.

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