Obama proposing updated reading and math standards

President Barack Obama is seeking a major overhaul of the U.S. education system, with a shift from an emphasis on testing to an emphasis on career preparation — a plan that he is backing up with billions in budget incentives.

The administration has already pumped $100 billion into education and is now moving to rewrite legislation that has governed the nation’s schools for nearly a decade.

Obama’s proposed $3.8 trillion budget includes $49.7 billion for education, and much of the 7.5 percent increase is focused on programs under No Child Left Behind, which could come up for reauthorization this year.

At the heart of the change is a major redesign of NCLB’s accountability measures, which have set the standard for school systems across the country for the past eight years…

Secretary of Education Arne Duncan said NCLB, one of George W. Bush’s signature domestic accomplishments, demanded accountability but “does little to reward progress.”

“We want accountability reforms that factor in student growth, progress in closing achievement gaps, proficiency towards college and career-ready standards, high school graduation and college enrollment rates,” Duncan said, noting that the new approach is a “cradle-to-career agenda…”

So far, the Obama administration’s $100 billion investment in schools has supported nearly 300,000 education jobs.

In addition, the administration has launched a nationwide $4.35 billion competitive grant program known as Race to the Top that encourages states to create data systems, focus on teacher effectiveness and improve low-performing schools.

Meanwhile, we have one of the largest cities in New Mexico – Rio Rancho, the New Mexico home of Intel – preparing to reduce standards one more time because not enough children pass.

They’re confident lowering standards will pump out more kids with diplomas – as it will. Of course, they will need remedial classes before they qualify to flip burgers or hand out parking tickets.