Obama's education proposals under scrutiny

March 14, 2010 12:00:00 AM PST
The "No Child Left Behind" education act is getting a face lift under the Obama administration. The president wants to reset the bar for students and teachers, but many teachers are not lining up to jump on board.

President Obama is calling for all graduating high school students, by the year 2020, to be ready for a career or college.

"We've now fallen behind most wealthy countries in our high school graduation rates," said President Obama.

Obama is now proposing "aggressive measures" for the lowest performing 5 percent of schools.

Like Lincoln elementary school in Richmond, Obama wants the option to replace principals and half the teachers or shut the school down all together. Teachers' unions, nationwide, are calling it top down scapegoating.

"This looks like more of the same blaming teachers for the problems of our schools," said Matthew Hardy of United Educators of San Francisco.

"I think it acknowledges that there are underperforming teachers out there," said parent Denise Montgomery.

Berkeley parent, Denise Montgomery, applauds the effort to "weed out" underperforming teachers because she says they tend to "end up" in underprivileged schools.

"They're not going to have a parent knocking on the door saying "hey, what's going on in here?" Because the parents aren't participating as much in those schools often," said Montgomery.

The president is also proposing a $4 billion increase in education funding. But teachers unions say it lacks baseline funding.

"Our schools are getting radically defunded by the state and you see the impact every day here," said Hardy.

Instead, schools and states will have to compete for much of it with innovative plans and proven success.

"You want improved student achievement. And that means you have to have a plan and show how you implement the plan so that money is not being wasted. Tax payers are tired of their money being wasted," said West Contra Costa School Board Member Charles Ramsey.

But President Obama could have a serious battle with teachers unions who say his overhaul is just another accountability system that still relies on standardized tests and not enough funding.


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