These days, education IS the American Dream
Equating education with the American Dream, President Barack Obama called for immediate education reform in his speech on Tuesday, March 10th, at the U.S. Hispanic Chamber of Commerce in Washington, D.C. Obama's education funding plan sets aside billions of dollars in financial aid for college students in the form of grants, on campus work-study and an increase in tax credit.
The recession has impacted all facets of society and the education system is no exception. However, Obama appears undaunted in the face of a looming crisis in education. At a time when colleges have put a freeze on hiring professors, Obama called for performance-driven increases in teacher salaries. While many colleges and universities have stopped construction and renovation projects and capped enrollment, Obama plans to ensure that more students complete college and technical training. As schools lay-off teachers and cut programs from the curriculum, the President intends to increase the number of educated future adults in the country.
Obama asserted that the fate of the country depends on educating the youth and future leaders who will usher the nation into a more stable economic environment. However, many prospective students could find that even if they gain acceptance to college, financial challenges may prohibit them from attending. Obama's stimulus plan may infuse money into the education system, but the reform is occurring simultaneously with increases in college tuition and decreases in financial aid packages. Even the wealthiest colleges have suffered. Endowments have tanked and people who once could afford to donate consistently to their college or university of choice have tightened the financial reigns.
Obama's lofty plan offers hope, but let's wait to hear from this fall's college freshmen. They very well may find that the cutbacks and lay-offs have caused the schools to morph into versions of what they were even one year ago. Perhaps their feedback will provide the best success indicator for Obama's education reform plan.