Tuesday, July 28, 2009

How does Obama's 'Race to the Top' affect my children?

President Obama announced his education reform plan yesterday. His 'Race to the Top' is designed to provide federal grants to schools by linking teacher pay to student achievement, easing limits on charter schools, and setting up national academic standards. By requiring states and districts to compete for the $4.35 billion, Obama hopes that this will "incentivise excellence and spur refurm and launch a race for the top in America's public schools." Concerned with how the US will compete with India and China in the future, Obama plans to start the race now.

What does this mean to you? For now, nothing. If Obama's incentives work and teachers strive to win the grants, your children may benefit from the competition created amongst the teachers/school districts. But for now, the federal government will be mired in politics and committees. So how can you ensure that your children receive a comprehensive education that prepares them for college and/or successful careers? Support your teachers, schools, and president, but you'll need to take your own children's education into your hands. With recent budget cuts in education, guidance counselors have received pink slips so many parents will be responsible for setting up their children's academic plans. Your children need a well-thoughtout program that begins with preschool and ends with 12th grade. Meet with your school's principal to discuss the curriculum framework and what will change with the impending cut backs. Unless you know what your high school requires for graduation and colleges require for admissions, your child may miss important classes and other requirements.

While waiting for educational reform, you can set up an after-school program in your home to give your children the academic skills they need. Assess what your children are learning in school and supplement their education with an enrichment program after school. Merit Academy offers curriculum for parents to use to enrich their children's academic foundations and build necessary skills. Our Educational Consultants can help you assess your children's academic levels and develop individual programs to improve their skills. By taking control of your children's education now, you won't have to worry about budget cuts or educational reform. Support Obama's Race to the Top so that future generations will benefit from it.

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