Perspectives in Improving Public Education Around the Nation
President-Elect Barack Obama from National
The National School Boards Association (NSBA) just released its vision for “A New Era in Education” to President-elect Barack Obama’s education advisors. The plan details steps for redefining the federal role in education and offers suggestions for how the new Administration can make education an urgent national priority.
NSBA recommends an immediate reevaluation of the federal role to better reflect the need to partner with and support states and local school districts in their efforts to prepare all students to succeed in the 21st century economy. This means more than just funding programs directed to students with the greatest needs, but also providing reliable research and best practices linked to improving student achievement; assistance in the development of state and local evaluation tools to measure success, including 21st century skills; and, providing incentives to recruit, retain and reward highly effective teachers in schools that most need them.
The paper urges President-elect Obama to lay out a national vision for why education must be a sustained priority, including the correlation between strong schools in every community and the nation’s long-term success; the need for continuous improvement to keep ahead of rapidly changing times; the role that parents, community- and faith-based groups, and business leaders must play in strengthening our schools; and how a transformation of the federal role will enable states and local communities to improve public education.
One strategy that NSBA encourages is a series of mini-summits across the country to help craft a national vision, allowing all voices to be heard, not just those of policymakers and Washington think tanks. The conversations should include those with the primary responsibility of providing a quality education as well as those who have the greatest stake in its outcome: students, teachers, principals, parents, school board members, local superintendents, state superintendents, employers, and postsecondary education leaders.
“We are encouraged by the conversations we’ve had with members of President-elect Obama’s team,” said NSBA Executive Director Anne L. Bryant. “What we’d like to see is for the federal government to facilitate, not dictate, the necessary actions and innovations that are needed in order to guarantee that all of our public schools thrive.”
“There is much to be done on the federal level in order to ensure that the nation’s public schools succeed and the nation remains competitive internationally,” said Associate Executive Director Michael A. Resnick. “The new Administration can help lead a national discussion about what a 21st century education must look like and how the federal government can best help local school districts provide a top notch education. An effective federal role would be one that strengthens the local voice not muffles it.”
The National School Boards Association is a national federation of state school boards associations that represent more than 95,000 school board members who govern the nation’s public schools. The organization’s mission is to foster excellence and equity in public elementary and secondary education throughout the United States through local school board leadership. #