What is The Obama School Grant?
President Obama traveled to Madison, Wisconsin on the first anniversary of his election to speak to teachers and students regarding Obama school grants at a local charter middle school. His speech was directed to educators across the country: Now is the time for educational reform. His Race to the Top program offers $4.35 billion in Obama school grants to U.S. states that institute ‘top to bottom’ education reforms. He inserted that educational reform through Obama School grants were the top priority for his government.
During his Wisconsin speech, he said that ‘there is nothing that will determine the quality of our future as a nation, or the lives our children lead, more than the kind of education we provide them.’ President Obama intended to make these policy changes through his new Race to the Top Obama school grant program seeking to follow through on that promise by offering states large Obama school grants in exchange for implementing major changes in public schools. He dubbed his reforms by calling them top to bottom reforms. Obama is forcing institutions to take necessary measures to maintain certain standards and evaluating teacher performance and even closing down failing schools.
Two Criteria To Get an Obama School Grant
Obama’s administration laid out two absolute criteria for states vying for the Obama grant money when he first announced the Race to the Top program. The first one was pretty straightforward stating that all states must be approved by the Education Department to get funds from the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act – this requirement most states have already met.
The second criterion was a lot more controversial and technical as compared to the first one. This race to the top reforms requires that states abolish so-called ‘firewall’ rules, which prohibit schools from evaluating teachers on student performance. Many teachers’ advocates claim that these rules are crucial in schools where there are overwhelming external factors that influence student performance. They argue that linking student performance to teacher evaluation effectively holds teachers accountable for the effects of poverty, difficult home lives and other factors beyond their control.
But president Obama has held firm regarding his ideas and reforms and believes that the teacher and student performance relationship is extremely significant.
Other ways to get this race to the top funds (the Obama school grants money) include finding new and different ways to recruit more students, tracking student progress, setting internationally competitive standards and making sure that all children are prepared for college after graduation.