President Barack Obama wants to overhaul the country’s educational system. He believes that the proper incentives can help all schools succeed and highlighted progress at a Tennessee high school as evidence. At his weekly address, the president talked about the school, Memphis’ Booker T. Washington High School. The school is in a poor, crime-filled neighborhood. Graduation rates have risen impressively in just three years.
The school overcame challenges through changes and innovations such as separate freshman academies for boys and girls. Booker T. Washington High School won a national competition demonstrating these innovation. The prize was having President Obama come to their school as its speaker.
“Booker T. Washington High School is no longer a story about what’s gone wrong in education. It’s a story about how we can set it right. We need to encourage this kind of change all across America. We need to reward the reforms that are driven not by Washington, but by principals and teachers and parents. That’s how we’ll make progress in education, not from the top down, but from the bottom up,” said the president.
Obama wants to use incentives as a way to motivate schools to succeed. He wants states to compete for education money through the Race to the Top initiative. Republicans on Capitol Hill have criticized the program and don’t want to spend any new money on it. The president would also like to renew his call to Congress to rewrite and update the No Child Left Behind Act. “We need to promote reform that gets results while encouraging communities to figure out what’s best for their kids. That why it’s so important that Congress replace No Child Left Behind this year — so schools have that flexibility. Reform just can’t wait,” Obama said.
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