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Obama Sells Race to Top, Early-Childhood Education in State of the Union

Education Week (01/28/14) Klein, Alyson; McNeil, Michele; Cavanagh, Sean

During his State of the Union speech, President Barack Obama urged Congress to expand preschool to more four-year-olds, bolster job-training programs, and ensure that post-secondary education is more effective and accessible. He said, "As a parent as well as a president, I repeat that request tonight. But in the meantime, 30 states have raised pre-K funding on their own. They know we can't wait." Indirectly, President Obama defended the Common Core State Standards, while directly defending the Race to the Top program that helped states adopt the standards. "Teachers and principals in schools from Tennessee to Washington, D.C., are making big strides in preparing students with skills for the new economy-problem solving, critical thinking, science, technology, engineering, and math. ... It requires everything from more challenging curriculums and more demanding parents to better support for teachers and new ways to measure how well our kids think, not how well they can fill in a bubble on a test. But it's worth it-and it's working." The president hinted that the U.S. Department of Education could issue new rules to prod states to ensure poor and minority students get access to as many high-quality teachers as their peers.
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