Barack Obama’s Top Ten P-20 Education Accomplishments
As President Obama’s time as Commander in Chief of the Unites States of America comes to an end, many people are wondering how he’ll be remembered throughout history. What accomplishments did he make? How did he impact our country? When Obama was first sworn into office in 2009, education was one of his top priorities. As such, here are the top 10 accomplishments that he made in the field of education.
1. Race to the Top
Race to the Top is an initiative that the Obama Administration created to promote education reform at the state level. It had states compete for grants by working to raise standards, facilitate student progress reporting, provide greater teacher support, and utilize more effective teaching strategies. Over $4 billion was given to 19 states within the first year alone.
2. Elementary and Secondary Education Act Revisions
To improve K-12 student performance tests, the Obama Administration set aside $330 million for revisions to the Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA), which was originally passed in 1965 by President Lyndon B. Johnson. The changes to the tests were based on the latest psychometric research. ESEA also looked for ways to help ESL students, increase students’ college and career readiness, and improve the effectiveness of teachers.
3. Healthy Hunger-Free Kids Act
As First Lady, Michelle Obama focused on children’s nutrition. She encouraged schools to serve healthier lunches. In conjunction with her, the Obama Administration passed the Healthy Hunger-Free Kids Act. This legislation allocated about $4.5 billion to help schools serve nutritious and healthy lunches. It also doubled the number of fruits and vegetables served and ensured that only whole grains are offered to students.
4. Every Student Succeeds Act
When Obama took office, he recognized that No Child Left Behind (NCLB) had merit, but its execution was flawed. So, he worked with a group of Democratic and Republican Congressmen to create the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA). ESSA aims to increase accountability in schools and provide the necessary interventions to improve schools throughout the nation.
The legislation transfers some of the power regarding education from the federal government to state and local governments. And although it kept standardized testing for students in kindergarten through 8th grade, it only made it mandatory for high school students to take the test once.
5. College Scorecard
With the increasing number of college graduates bogged down by student loans, Obama wanted to find a way to help students and parents find schools that would give them the most for their money. To do this, he created College Scorecard with the input from college students and their families.
College Scorecard factors in several things that are important to students and their parents, such as the average amount of debt that students have after college and the average amount that they earn after graduating. The website allows people to search for colleges based on the program, degree, college size, location, and other factors. Then, they can compare several colleges to determine which one will give them the best value for their money.
6. Educate to Innovate Initiative
When Obama first took office, he wanted to push for more science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) opportunities for students. He hoped that through the Educate to Innovate initiative there would be more college graduates in these fields. By investing in the Innovation Fund and working with the Department of Education and National Science Foundation (NSF), he anticipated an increase of 100,000 more STEM teachers each year.
7. Preschool for All Initiative
The Preschool for All initiative works in conjunction with the Head Start program to prepare young children for elementary school. With $75 billion allocated to it, this initiative provides learning opportunities for students before they even reach preschool through home visits from nurses, social workers, and other professionals who can provide educational support. The Preschool for All initiative also provides preschool for children from low-income and middle-income families.
8. Maternal, Infant, and Early Childhood Home Visiting Program
The Maternal, Infant, and Early Childhood Home Visiting Program was created under the Affordable Care Act. It allocated about $1.5 billion for home visits to families in need of health care and early education interventions. One of the main goals of these home visits is to prepare students for school by getting them the professional assistance that they need.
9. College Degree Attainment
As president, Barack Obama hoped to ensure that college students received the education they desired without accruing large amounts of debt. To do this, he enlarged the amount of federal support that students can receive by increasing the number of Pell Grants awarded, offering the Education Tax Credit, and decreasing student loan interest rates.
10. Summit on Community Colleges
In 2010, Obama also held the White House Summit on Community Colleges. He aimed to improve community colleges and provide grants for people seeking technical training or job-driven training opportunities. By doing this, he hoped to enable more people to get the training needed to attain better employment.
When Obama first took office in January 2009, education was a top priority. Through these accomplishments and others, he was able to impact education throughout the United States of America and bring about positive change for students.