President Barack Obama’s new educational policy has been a major boost to every high school student’s aspiration, who has been preparing for a college. This new approach to public education has been embraced by the new Government in an attempt to recognize every student’s relentless efforts with preparing for a college or university to pursue higher levels of education.
The announcements made by the President have already created ripples in the world of education in US with lots of assumptions and predictions. The new educational policy has been receiving mixed reviews from all quarters – while some of the educational experts are finding this as a progressive step for the overall betterment of America’s educational standards, others of the opinion of dismissing it downright as ‘too ambitious’ or another political ploy. Whatever, be the outcome in the long-term, it is undeniable that presently the new policy seems to be largely prospective for any student preparing for a college. Shifting from the previous law, No Child Left Behind, introduced by President George Bush, the new policy is a significant step that bears many promises for high school students preparing for a college.
In a joint session of Congress, President Obama revealed his views on the future of higher education in America. The goal is to inspire all Americans to pursue different streams of education even beyond high school. The goal is ambitious, no doubt, some even finding it impossible. Some statistics can provide a true picture of current status of higher studies in America. Only two out of every five Americans are now preparing for a college degree with two or four year course. Millions of Americans are still struggling to cope up with the high school curriculum, resulting in a drop-out among every four students.
High school degrees are no longer guarantee enough that the students are ready for colleges. Preparing for a college seems to be a far-away dream particularly for the minority and the low-income groups. Amidst 90% of the total students, belonging to low-income groups, who have plans to continue with a college, less than half are actually preparing for a college. These figures are quite disturbing from the American perspective of higher education.
In the opinion of Barack Obama, the primary issue that must be addressed, is increasing rate of failures in the high schools. So he wishes to address the problem from the roots by initiating the process of preparing for a college from the beginning. He feels, that getting the students in the public high schools, on a proper preparatory track is the only effective way of spreading higher education.
The President promised parents and students that his administration will now focus only on making up for the lost academic ground against students of other nations. Plans are there to make better arrangements of faculty and stuff in the improved schools of US. Obama’s administration unveiled a plan to overhaul the previous education law, namely the No Child Left Behind Law as introduced by the then President George Bush. The previous system, according to the new government, has been more of a hindrance, rendering more than one-third of US schools as failures and poor academic standards in the last decade.
In the proposed new law, education authorities look forward to shift from penalizing schools for not meeting benchmarks. Instead to encourage the students in preparing for a college, the focus would be on rewarding progressive schools. Schools that are particularly concerned with helping poor and minority students in preparing for a college, have secured primary importance.
The blueprint of the proposed changes also has accommodations for subjects like science, social studies, arts, history etc, apart from reading and mathematics, that are essential for an egalitarian approach towards preparing for a college. Moving away from formula-oriented funding, first time in 45 years, the White House has proposed a $4 billion boost in federal education expenses to provide better provisions for preparing for a college.
A few aspects highlighted in the new law are:
- By 2020, each and every graduating high school student would be essentially preparing for a college. It would be a major shift from the current system that aims at making all students perform in reading and mathematics at the grade levels by 2014.
- Reward high-poverty schools that are promoting an environment to encourage the students in preparing for a college, with money and flexibility. Plans are there to make these schools model for other low-performance schools in poor-income neighborhoods.
- Take aggressive measures against the lowest-performing institutions like replacement of the principals and teaching staff, suspending the schools etc.
- The previous name, No Child Left Behind is likely to be dropped. The new law is not associated with a rigid rule of punishing schools for not satiating benchmarks. The new shift of focus on efforts to encourage more students in preparing for a college needs a new name.
Helping students in preparing for a college is the only way to promote higher education which would eventually prosper American society with more productive citizens.