Obama wants students prepared for college, careers | NevadaAppeal.com

Obama wants students prepared for college, careers

Associated Press

WASHINGTON (AP) – President Barack Obama will urge states to better prepare high school students for college and careers when he meets Monday with the nation’s governors.

The White House said Sunday that Obama will praise governors for working in tandem with his Race to the Top program to reward school systems that raise standards and prove that through tougher student assessments.

The state chiefs are gathering at the White House as they wrap up the National Governors Association conference.

In a release Sunday night, the administration took a swipe at the Bush-era No Child Left Behind Act, declaring that “between 2005 and 2007, various states have lowered their standards in reading and math.”

The release said U.S. education standards are fast falling behind those of other leading democracies.

“Because too many students are not learning the basic skills needed to succeed in college or work while they are in high school,” it said, “the nation sacrifices more than $3.7 billion a year in lost productivity and remedial education costs.”

In addition to supporting ongoing state efforts, Obama will commit an additional $350 million to the Race to the Top challenge to back “state-led partnerships to develop new, state-of-the art assessments aligned to college and career-ready standards.”

Obama’s 2011 budget will call for the reauthorization of the 1994 version of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act, which would require states to meet six tough standards to help high school graduates prepare for college or careers. The administration said schools need to focus on better teacher preparation, improved teaching and tougher student assessments.

The Elementary and Secondary Education Act was first passed in 1965 and has been routinely reauthorized every five years. Its last incarnation was former President George W. Bush’s No Child Left Behind Act. Under the measure, federal money is sent to the states to pay for teacher development, instructional materials, educational resources and promotion of parental involvement.

Obama’s reauthorization:

-Requires the states to “adopt and certify that they have college- and career-ready standards in reading and mathematics” to be eligible for the federal money.

-Establishes a $405 million outlay to help states “align teacher preparation practices and programs to teaching of college- and career-ready standards.”

-Provides grants totaling $400 million to states that adopt tougher student assessment programs.

-Dedicates $1.35 billion to the Race to the Top program in addition to stimulus money for the program.

-Allots $2.5 billion in the 2011 budget to a state grant program to support better teaching and leadership in the schools.