Obama Announces New Education Goals

8 years 2 weeks 4 days ago Monday, September 27 2010 Sep 27, 2010 Monday, September 27, 2010 7:03:53 PM CDT September 27, 2010 in News
COLUMBIA -- On NBC's Today Show Monday morning President Barack Obama spoke about his vision for education in the United States, and the need for improvement.

"When I came into office, I set a goal of moving our nation from the middle to the top of the pack in math and science education. Strengthing STEM education is vital to preparing our studnets to compete in the 21st century economy and we need to recruit and train math and science teachers to support our nation's students," he said in a White House press release.

He announced a new goal of recruiting 10,000 science, math, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) teachers over the next two years.  

Currently American students rank 21st in science and 25th in math among advanced nations.

"That's a sign of long-term decline that has to be reversed and so we're going to be putting a big emphasis on math and science education, and part of that means getting better teachers," Obama said this morning.

However Mid-Missouri teachers do not believe more teachers will solve the nation's education problem.

Missouri State Teachers Association spokesman Todd Fuller points out that 10,000 new teaching positions isn't that much. The goal would not allow each of the nation's 14,000 school districts to hire one more teacher.

"I mean if only if it were that easy, and it's not. I mean you have to look at all of the elements that go into a particular school district," said Fuller.

Student teacher, Lisa Vaughn agrees. She feels the United States is lagging behind other countries because of the way we are teaching. She cites the more interactive way Asian countries are teaching, instead of just taking notes.

"In the lesson that we saw in Japan, having students teach their classmates, and having them write their work on the board, shows students 'oh wow,' I didn't think of doing it that way," said Vaughn.

President Obama also suggested extending the school year to improve the quality of education.

"I think we should have longer school years. We now have our kids go to school about a month less than most other advanced countries and that month makes a difference. It means that kids are losing a lot of what they learned during the school year during the summer. It's especially severe for poorer kids who may not be seeing as many books in their house during the summers, aren't getting supplemental educational activities."

Fuller believes that districts should decide the length of the school year, not the federal government.

"Our feeling has always been that if a school district wants to extend the school year, they should be allowed to do it, and it should be allowed to work for their benefit," said Fuller.

Most agree whatever the circumstance, change is needed and possible in education.

"It's going to take some time," Obama said, "but what we've now learned is there are schools that can work, even in the toughest circumstances, and once we know that then it's inexcusable that we don't try to make sure that every school is performing at that same level."

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