We are encouraged that President-elect Obama named education as one of his highest domestic priorities. It should be. Education is the engine for the country’s long-term economic success. The federal investment in our schools should be larger and smarter, reflecting a shift from the current “top-down”, micro managerial approach, to one that assists local school districts and states in preparing all students to succeed in the 21st century economy.
NSBA believes President-elect Obama should use the megaphone of the presidency to articulate a national vision for education – one that addresses the correlation between strong schools in every community and the nation’s overall economic health; the critical role that parents, community-based and other groups can play in strengthening schools; and, how the federal government can best help states and local school boards – where the responsibility for educating students rests – in providing our students with the skills, knowledge and tools they will need to be college- and career-ready in the global economy in which we now compete. These elements should be reflected in a new Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA) with an accountability framework that recognizes student academic growth based on multiple measures of learning, not limited high-stakes tests, and acknowledges local decision-making and innovation.
We are optimistic the Obama administration will not “leave the money behind,” and will instead put forward budgets that prove children and their education are a priority: by funding Title I to meet the needs of all eligible students; by making good on Congress’ long-ago pledge to fund 40 percent of special education costs; and by investing in early childhood education programs that make it possible for all children to arrive at school ready to learn.
NSBA Statement on President-elect Obama’s victory
Anne L. Bryant
National School Boards Association Executive Director