President Obama called on Congress today to send him a bill to reform education before the start of the next school year.
Speaking at a middle school in Arlington, Virginia, the President set out his ambitions for reforming No Child Left Behind—the Bush-era education policy—and for ensuring that every child graduates high school with the skills and knowledge they need to succeed at college and in the 21st century workplace.
It’s the right thing to do for our economy, because the best jobs program out there is a good education. The best economic policy is one that produces more college graduates. And that’s why, for the sake of our children and our economy and America’s future, we’re going to have to do a better job educating every single one of our sons and daughters—all of them.
The goals of No Child Left Behind were the right goals: Making a promise to educate every child with an excellent teacher—that’s the right thing to do, that’s the right goal. Higher standards are right. Accountability is right. Shining a light on the achievement gap between students of different races and backgrounds, and those with and without disabilities, that’s the right thing to do.
But what hasn’t worked is denying teachers, schools, and states what they need to meet these goals. That’s why we need to fix No Child Left Behind.
[W]e need a better way of figuring out which schools are deeply in trouble, which schools aren’t, and how we get not only the schools that are in really bad shape back on track, how do we help provide the tools to schools that want to get even better to get better.
We need to make sure some of our best teachers are teaching in some of our worst schools. We need to reward schools that are doing the difficult work of turning themselves around. We’re going to have to take a series of steps across a broad range of measures to not only target our most troubled schools, but also raise expectations for all our schools.