This editorial appeared in The Miami Herald.
President Barack Obama wants to rewrite the national playbook on public education – and if he gets his way America could turn the corner, finally, on educational achievement. Success will depend on how well Mr. Obama runs the gantlet on each side of the political divide.
At the outset, he starts from an excellent foundation of having smart ideas, a balanced approach and the right person in the Department of Education to get the job done. America needs this plan to work. Intellectual capital has never been more important in a shrinking world, and America has been losing ground to countries that invest more in education and get better results.
In a speech this week, Mr. Obama laid out a plan based on competition, high standards in the classroom and accountability at all levels, students and teachers most definitely included. This approach differs, meaningfully, from No Child Left Behind under President George W. Bush in that it departs from an excessive focus on testing. The Obama plan challenges the entire educational system. It welcomes competition, promotes creativity, punishes failure while rewarding success and understands the lasting value of an early start.
Unlike the underfunded No Child Left Behind, this plan invests billions, including $5 billion for Early Start and Head Start programs.
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