Posts Tagged ‘ President Barack Obama ’

Obama to Allow States to Opt out of ‘No Child Left Behind’

Friday, September 23rd, 2011

The education law known as No Child Left Behind has some new flexibility, President Barack Obama announced today, in that states can now opt out of some of the law’s elements if they meet certain requirements.  The Elementary and Secondary Education Act’s Flexibility program will allow states to receive waivers protecting them from federal sanctions if their schools do not perform up to the law’s standards.

Ultimately, Obama said in a statement, the changes are meant to free troubled schools to find ways other than standardized testing to raise achievement levels in their classrooms, if those schools do not meet the law’s rigorous standards.  “The purpose is not to give states and districts a reprieve from accountability, but rather to unleash energy to improve our schools at the local level,” he said.

NPR.org reports:

Under the plan Obama outlined, states can ask the Education Department to be exempted from some of the law’s requirements if they meet certain conditions, such as imposing standards to prepare students for college and careers and setting evaluation standards for teachers and principals.

Despite allowing states to do away with the approaching 2014 deadline, Obama insisted he was not weakening the law, but rather helping states set higher standards. He said that the current law was forcing educators to teach to the test, give short shrift to subjects such as history and science, and lower standards as a way to avoid penalties and stigmas.

To qualify for a waiver, states would have to show they had a plan to help low-performing schools. A majority of states are expected to apply for waivers, which will be given to qualified states early next year.

(image via: http://www.bostonpublicschools.org/)

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Obama’s Jobs Plan Includes Help for Schools

Friday, September 9th, 2011

In a year when many school districts have experienced teacher layoffs and spending cuts, President Obama’s new jobs bill, unveiled Thursday, pays particular attention to education.

The proposal would spend $25 billion to repair and modernize school buildings, and would give $35 billion to states to prevent the layoff of 280,000 teachers across the country.

“These are the men and women charged with preparing our children for a world where the competition has never been tougher,” the president said. “But while they’re adding teachers in places like South Korea, we’re laying them off in droves. It’s unfair to our kids. It undermines their future and ours. And it has to stop. Pass this jobs bill, and put our teachers back in the classroom where they belong.”

As for school buildings, the president would put people to work repairing roofs and windows, and installing science labs and internet access. “[T]here are schools throughout this country that desperately need renovating,” he said. “How can we expect our kids to do their best in places that are literally falling apart?”

Leaders of the country’s two largest teachers unions—critics of the president in the past—liked what they heard. From the Huffington Post:

“We have for months been talking about jobs jobs jobs jobs jobs,” Randi Weingarten, president of the American Federation of Teachers, told The Huffington Post. “We know that there needs to be a lifeline because the economy has not grown the way it should, and that is what this plan is about. It’s about putting people back to work, growing the economy, making sure how families feel stabilized.”

Parents, what do you think of these proposals to secure teacher jobs and update schools?

(image via: http://www.scpr.org)

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Immigration Memo: Obama’s Father Planned Adoption for Son

Thursday, July 7th, 2011

Obama and His FatherThe Boston Globe is reporting that records from when President Barack Obama’s mother was pregnant with him in 1961 show his father had plans to put their child up for adoption.  From the Globe article, written by the author of the forthcoming book “The Other Barack, The Bold and Reckless Life of President Obama’s Father:’

The elder Barack H. Obama, a sophomore at the University of Hawaii, had come under scrutiny by federal immigration officials who were concerned that he had more than one wife. When he was questioned by the school’s foreign student adviser, the 24-year-old Obama insisted that he had divorced his wife in his native Kenya. Although his new wife, Ann Dunham, was five months pregnant with their child – who would be called Barack Obama II – Obama declared that they intended to put their child up for adoption.

“Subject got his USC wife ‘Hapai’ [Hawaiian for pregnant] and although they were married they do not live together and Miss Dunham is making arrangements with the Salvation Army to give the baby away,’’ according to a memo describing the conversation with Obama written by Lyle H. Dahling, an administrator in the Honolulu office of what was then called the US Immigration and Naturalization Service.

Of course, the couple did not offer Obama for adoption.  And friends of the president’s mother, Ann Dunham, say they never heard her speak of putting her son up for adoption.

“She was wildly in love with Barack Obama, her husband, and very excited about her future with him,’’ recalled Blake. “From my perspective, she had no equivocation about her baby in the slightest. She was thrilled with him.’’

Barack Obama Sr., on the other hand, would have had reason to worry that having a child in the United States could have significant consequences. For starters, Obama, who had two children in Kenya, was having severe financial problems. Although he told Duham that he had gotten divorced from his Kenyan wife, he apparently did not tell her about his other children.

Obama was a member of the Luo ethnic group, the third largest of Kenya’s tribes, among whose members polygamy was common. His own father had at least four wives. In fact, Obama was still married to his Kenyan wife, Grace Kezia Obama, and apparently worried about the financial burden of another child.

Of greater concern was his immigration status. At the time that he made his statement about adoption in spring 1961, Obama was in the midst of applying to the INS for an extension of his stay in the United States. Although it was a routine process that was required of foreign students periodically, the application entailed an examination of the student’s academic record and general behavior.

The elder Obama wound up leaving the family when his son was 2 years old, moving to Massachusetts to pursue a doctorate in economics–and meet his third wife–at Harvard University.

(image via http://www.boston.com/)

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President Obama Announces Fatherhood Initiative

Friday, June 17th, 2011

President Obama and his daughtersThis week, as Father’s Day (June 19) approaches, President Barack Obama announced a yearlong initiative called “Strong Fathers, Strong Families” designed to help fathers be more involved in the lives of their children in fun, meaningful ways.

The kickoff event was a screening of the Disney/Pixar film “Cars 2″ for military dads and their kids.  Throughout the year, the program will offer dads free admissions or discounts to zoos, aquariums, bowling centers, and sporting events, as well as special deals on the group buying websites Groupon and LivingSocial.

“Father’s Day reminds us parents that we have no more solemn obligation than to care for our children.  But far too many young people in America grow up without their dads, and our families and communities are challenged as a result,” said President Obama in a statement.  “Through my administration’s fatherhood initiative and the year of Strong Fathers, Strong Families, we’re taking steps to offer men who want to be good fathers a little extra help, while working with partners around the country to encourage personal responsibility and help fathers connect with kids.”

Fathers can sign up for updates at fatherhood.gov.

Explore Parents.com extensive Father’s Day page for gift ideas, recipes, and traditions to start in your family.

(image via: http://www.parade.com)

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