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Obama Tackles Higher Education Standards: The Low Down on Keeping America Competitive

In a recent speech on education, President Obama unveiled his plan for a complete and competitive American education system. The ambitious undertaking involves Head Start investment, support for charter schools, merit rewards for teachers and increased financial aid for students.

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In the last few decades, very little has been done to solve the many problems that plague the U.S. education system. Test scores have gotten worse, high school graduation rates have fallen and college attendance rates are at an all time low. For the first time ever in America, the current generation is less educated than the generation that came before them.

Instead of becoming more competitive in the global economy, the U.S. has developed a limiting handicap. Our nation ranks 18th among 36 nations when high school graduation rates are considered and 10th in regards to college attendance rates.

Obama's Education Proposals

In March, President Obama proposed a five-pillar plan to create a sustainable economic future for the children of this country. Among his proposals for education:

Invest in Early Childhood Education

Obama would like to quadruple funding for Early Head Start and increase funding for traditional Head Start as well. Obama's proposal will emphasize infant care and early day care. The ultimate goal of the investment is voluntary, universal pre-school for all American children.

Reform No Child Left Behind

Obama has proposed additional funding for the failed NCLB program. Other plans include new assessment methods to track student progress and an improved accountability approach that will provide assistance to struggling schools.

Invest in Charter Schools

Obama would like to provide more funding and support for the creation of successful charter schools. Other plans include shutting down struggling schools and improving accountability among all charter schools.

Recruit and Reward Teachers

Obama has suggested new scholarship programs that will encourage more people to become teachers. Other proposals include salary increases, merit pay for teachers, mentoring programs and various incentives to retain more qualified educators.

Address the Dropout Crisis

To address slipping graduation rates, Obama would like to invest in intervention programs for middle school students. The programs will include mentoring, intensive tutoring and parental involvement.

Make College Affordable

To make college more affordable and attainable for the average American, Obama has suggested a major change to the financial aid process. The change will eliminate the unwieldy FAFSA and make it much easier to apply for student aid.

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