February 22nd, 2010
12:34 PM ET
13 years ago

Obama pushes governors to improve nation's schools

Washington (CNN) - President Barack Obama urged the nation's governors Monday to improve public education by offering states financial incentives to do so.

"This year, as a condition of receiving access to Title I funds, we'll ask all states to put in place a plan to adopt and certify standards that are college- and career-ready in reading and math," Obama said. Title I refers to the programs set up by the U.S. Department of Education to distribute funds to schools with a high percentage of students from low-income families.

"Once you've got those standards in place, you will be better able to better compete for funds to improve teaching and upgrade curriculums," he said in an address at the White House.

School districts that begin preparing educators to teach to higher standards will then compete for $4 billion in a program he calls Race to the Top.

Schools that embrace reforms, raise achievement and respond to student needs will be helped, he promised.

U.S. schools rank ninth in the world in math and 11th in science, Obama said. He lauded Massachusetts educators for having "upped their game" so that the state's students now tie for first in the world in science.

But, he said, "some states have actually done the opposite." Between 2005 and 2007, under the No Child Left Behind program, 11 states lowered their standards, he said. "That may make those states look better relative to other states, but it's not going to help our students keep up with their global competitors," he said.

Obama urged that politics not be allowed to get in the way of improving education. "We're tired of arguments between the left and the right, between reformers and teachers unions," he said. "We want to figure out what works and we want to make sure we're giving you the resources you need to implement what works."

Obama listed government efforts intended to put college education within the reach of working Americans - increasing Pell grants, continuing a $2,500 tax credit for four years of college tuition; beefing up education benefits provided to veterans under the GI Bill; and working to ease students' debt burdens by reforming the student loan program.

"If we can come together and do all this in Washington and statehouses and across party and ideology, we're going to raise the quality of American education," he said.

Filed under: Education • President Obama
soundoff (44 Responses)
  1. walleye

    Back to Basics is whats needed. Every boy should wear a shirt and pants. Girls a skirt or slacks. No more halter tops, butt-hugging pants, or blue jeans and the like. Order should be restored in the class room. Anyone not complying will need to bring their parent(s) in the next day and explain why their child is behaving badly. If parents dont show up, the police are sent to get them. A clear understanding of basic Math, English, Science and Social Studies would be required before being sent on to the next grade. No gum chewing. Eliminate soda and candy machines and bring back nutritional lunches. As far as eliminating the last year of high school, extend the school year and do away with all the time off that teachers/students get throughout the term.

    February 22, 2010 01:56 pm at 1:56 pm |
  2. Steph

    Gee SocialsimBad, I don't remember underwater basket weaving being in the new public-private partnership to improve math and science instruction (aka – the basics). You must have spent too much time reading Dubya's college transcripts.

    February 22, 2010 01:57 pm at 1:57 pm |
  3. Average American

    I just listened to it Mark in Manhattan, and he said ask. It only sounds like ax to your racist ears. Hopefully, there's some medication you can take for that! Moving on.....

    February 22, 2010 01:59 pm at 1:59 pm |
  4. aproudmemberoftheunpatrioticmob

    They need to get rid of the unions. Did you see what it takes to fire an incompetent NYC school teacher? Check that contract out sometime. There is another Obama lie, charter schools worked for DC and he got rid of them to curry more favor and money from the corrupt teachers union. That is Obama, he has invited more members of the SEIU, the corrupt orangization that runs ACORN to the White House than he has Republicans. You dope smokers picked a real crook as your president.

    February 22, 2010 02:00 pm at 2:00 pm |
  5. rick

    No Child Left Behind has messed up the schools.

    February 22, 2010 02:03 pm at 2:03 pm |
  6. MatthewDetroit

    Barack is a liar with empty promises.

    Why did he stop the program in Washington DC that allowed poor children to go to the same school as his girls.

    He cancelled the Vouchers program and it hurt them.

    Why not let parents choose and why not allow vouchers for schools.
    Why should parents be chained to public schools that dont work.
    Maybe we should privatize the schools and get the goverment out of managing them.

    I dont see Barack sending his girls to public schools...nor any of the politicians in washington for that matter.

    February 22, 2010 02:05 pm at 2:05 pm |
  7. MatthewDetroit

    Barack is a joke.

    Unless it starts with Goverment RUN.... he is not interested.

    The guy is a pure and simple idealogue of Socialism and Communism. It is who he is pure and simple.

    Anyone that doubts it should look up socialism and communism.
    If you doubt it further look up the tapes on you tube and how he does not believe in our constitution.
    He does not like the way it is written. He wants more power to the goverment and it is against what our founding fathers declared...

    February 22, 2010 02:07 pm at 2:07 pm |
  8. Pittsburgh voter

    How about pushing parents to improve their childrens behavior and academic performance. Stop counting on the schools to be responsible for your children and take back that responsibility yourselves.

    February 22, 2010 02:09 pm at 2:09 pm |
  9. obama = hypocrite


    Why did Obama take away the voucher program from the poorest areas of DC?

    February 22, 2010 02:11 pm at 2:11 pm |
  10. strong

    Why bother improving schools at this point. The damage is irreversable.

    Public schools = Government run institutions.

    February 22, 2010 02:16 pm at 2:16 pm |
  11. MissouriCitySchools

    I Agree with "Socialism". Start with the top heavy administrations at these schools.

    I live in Missouri the STL Public Schools spend their funds on making their downtown offices technical savvy and nice offices while pretending to help those kids. Do you guys know the district spent thousands on upgrading their website and marketing for a failing district. They want to add more students to classrooms while refusing to put in extra teachers and tutors in the failing schools but they claim they want the students to achieve. What a bunch of crap from these “bully’s”. All the while they continue to treat the “teachers and students” like crap. Now students are dealing riding the bus with students from other schools cram in like jelly, longer ride to school all because the district has wasted money on nonsense, so they had to eliminate many busses because they are so called cash scraped . These buffoons need to go – they are not interested in educating the students, they are interested in making sure they offices have the highest grade of technology while the classrooms have none!

    Also, I agree the “No Child Left Behind” act needs to be revamp (kids should not be passed along, if they are not performing in their appropriate grade level). Too many children are left behind in (reading and math b/c of this craziness). Top heavy and clueless! Talking about wasteful spending, they pay checks need to be cut until all schools are performing at appropriate grade level.

    We can't blame the teachers all the time...some is the top heavy administrators who make decisions that do not affect them or their children who are in private schools or they don't live in the district that they are drawing a paycheck from......

    February 22, 2010 02:24 pm at 2:24 pm |
  12. Brandon

    Out school system is awful. So bad that my sister a sophomore, we pulled her out and is home schooling her and putting her in college courses.

    February 22, 2010 02:26 pm at 2:26 pm |
  13. M-in-MI

    What Obama really wants is global indoctrinating programs like the United Nations heavily influenced International Baccalaureate program that are the latest thing in rich elitist school systems. Race To The Top funds force the schools accepting the money to adopt programs meeting international benchmarks. To date, the only agency with accepted international benchmarks is UNESCO. I openly admit I have a grave dislike for Obama and his brand of socialism but more and more I have run into liberals, democrats and leftists who are increasingly uncomfortable with this guy. RIP America: 1776-2008.

    February 22, 2010 02:30 pm at 2:30 pm |
  14. proud mother and sister of a soldier

    @socialismbad..a bold statement I agree with.
    Teachers are in the unique position of quarrantteed jobs, best health and retirement benefits. They demand more in both while the very people who have to pay their salaries are loosing homes and jobs. I say it is time to make education everyones priority ...parents, students and teachers and not keep throwing more money into a poor system. It is time to give salary raises based upon performance. Right now they are overpaid for the actual days they work.

    February 22, 2010 02:36 pm at 2:36 pm |
  15. Jeff Spangler, Arlington, VA

    I believe the President is barking up the wrong side of the educational tree in scolding educators. Students with limited cultural and social abilities who have parents detached from the educational process do not learn. Focus instead on old school discipline for a change.

    February 22, 2010 02:40 pm at 2:40 pm |
  16. Dodd Democrat...

    This is both good and bad.

    It's unfair to the schools and the children to make this a requirement if the deadline is too close. It would have been better to let them know that this would be a requirement for the following year.

    By giving them such short notice, what we are going to get are a bunch of plans that have been rushed and not given the necessary thought and debate that will be needed if we want them to be successful.

    February 22, 2010 02:41 pm at 2:41 pm |
  17. Kat

    Our schools started downhill when we dumbed them down to meet the needs of the politically correct and lowered the test standards so a lot of ignorant kids could keep up.

    February 22, 2010 02:42 pm at 2:42 pm |
  18. mary

    I was educated in Europe and I can tell you that their school system is superior to ours here.
    We tend to lower standards.
    Also education starts at home. If you push your kids to do better they will.
    Our teachers unions are strong and once teacher gets into school system no matter how bad they are they are protected.
    Education should be our #1 priority.

    February 22, 2010 02:53 pm at 2:53 pm |
  19. Dar

    This isn't always the teachers fault that students are doing as well as they should be doing, the students have to want to do well and study. Most kids cant get their cell phones off the side of their head long enough to read their school books.
    This also has to do with the parents. Parents must be involved with their childrens learning, the problem is that most parents just wait to see the report card and then start yelling and screaming that this is the teachers fault that their lazy kid isnt learning anything.
    But Odumbo always has the answer: MONEY, thats all it takes is money and Odumbo is going to make sure that his UNION buddy's are going to get their fair share of the wealth.

    2010/2012 REAL Change is coming

    February 22, 2010 02:54 pm at 2:54 pm |
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