Last night President Obama unveiled a new blueprint for an America Built to Last, that gives hard-working, responsible Americans a fair shot. Education plays a key role in the President’s Blueprint, and includes the following details:
- Forge new partnerships between community colleges and businesses to train and place 2 million skilled workers.
- Reform job training and Unemployment Insurance to help put more Americans back to work.
- Keep students in high school by calling on every state to do what 20 states have already done: require students to stay in school until they graduate or turn 18.
The President is asking for a new competitive program that will challenge states and districts to work with their teachers and unions to transform the teaching profession by:
- Reforming colleges of education and making these schools more selective;
- Creating new career ladders for teachers to become more effective, and ensuring that earnings are tied more closely to performance;
- Establishing more leadership roles and responsibilities for teachers in running schools; improving professional development and time for collaboration among teachers; and providing greater individual and collective autonomy in the classroom in exchange for greater accountability;
- Creating evaluation systems based on multiple measures, rather than just test scores;
- Re-shaping tenure to raise the bar, protect good teachers, and promote accountability.
Take steps to hold down college costs for middle-class families:
The President called on Congress to help keep college costs within reach for middle-class families by:
- Keeping tuition from spiraling too high: The President is proposing to shift some Federal aid away from colleges that don’t keep net tuition down and provide good value.
- Preventing student loan interest rates from doubling: The President called on Congress to stop the interest rate on subsidized Stafford student loans from doubling on July 1 of this year, so young people don’t have as much debt to repay.
- Doubling the number of work-study jobs: The President wants to reward students who are willing to work hard by doubling over five years the number of work-study jobs for college students who agree to work their way through school.
- Permanently extending tuition tax breaks that provide up to $10,000 for four years of college: The President is proposing to make the American Opportunity Tax Credit permanent, maintaining a tax cut that provides up to $10,000 for tuition over four years of college.