Obama tells states to boost education standards
In a major policy address on education today, President Barack Obama repeated his campaign call to link teacher pay to student performance, and said states with low standards should themselves be held accountable.
"Our curriculum for eighth-graders is two full years behind top performing countries," he said in a speech to the Hispanic Chamber of Commerce. "That is a prescription for economic decline. I refuse to accept that America's children cannot rise to this challenge. They can, they must, and they will meet higher standards in our time."
Obama didn't name the eight states he said were "setting their standards so low that their students may end up on par with roughly the bottom 40 percent of the world."
But he did praise Florida's system of gathering data on student achievement from kindergarten through college.
Obama also called on Congress to provide more money for early childhood education in the form of challenge grants for programs of demonstrable quality. And he called for more support for after-school, extended-day and summer programs that support learning.
The president also had a message for politicians hoping to score points in the upcoming education debate: Cut it out.
"Too many supporters of my party have resisted the idea of rewarding excellence in teaching with extra pay, even though we know it can make a difference in the classroom," Obama said. "Too many in the Republican Party have opposed new investments in early education, despite compelling evidence of its importance."
Tom Marshall, Times Staff Writer