President Obama spoke about education in his State of the Union address on Tuesday night. In summary, he proposed to:
- Make quality early education available to all
- Focus on developing high school students’ skills in science, technology, engineering and math, to better prepare them for the jobs that are out there
- Hold colleges accountable for cost, value and quality, which can be compared on a new “College Scorecard” website
- Repair the country’s infrastructure, including schools
Supporters of preschool education said the plan would help level the playing field for children without the benefits of informal education at home, such as daily bedtime stories, the New York Times reported. Critics, on the other hand, warned that federal money could end up being squandered on ineffective programs.
Experts say that although the “College Scorecard” website presents available data in a consumer-friendly way, some data is a few years old, states another New York Times article. The site does not allow side-by-side comparison of multiple schools, and the tool that will show how successful recent graduates of each college have been in the job market is not ready yet.
President Obama also highlighted the Brooklyn school P-Tech, a collaboration New York Public Schools, the City University of New York, and IBM. Students graduate after 6 years with not only a high school diploma but also an associate degree in computers or engineering, which may stand them in better stead to get jobs. P-Tech’s principal describes the new model on Schoolbook.org, and it is also discussed in Businessweek.