Obama Says ‘Highly Educated’ Workers Are Crucial to U.S. Economy

Extrait de: Obama Says ‘Highly Educated’ Workers Are Crucial to U.S. Economy, Blomberg Business Week, March 05, 2011

President Barack Obama said the future of the U.S. economy depends on investing in education to produce “highly skilled” workers, and defended teachers by imploring the nation to honor them.

“The single most important thing companies are looking for are highly skilled, highly educated workers,” the president told students and teachers yesterday at Florida’s Miami Central Senior High School. Former Florida Governor Jeb Bush, a Republican, and Education Secretary Arne Duncan accompanied Obama on the visit.

The president, who has called for the U.S. to lead the world by 2020 in the percentage of adults with college degrees, has said that Americans will succeed only by investing to improve the country’s education system.

Improved Graduation Rates

In his remarks at Miami Central, Obama said while graduation rates have risen at the school, he expects them to be “100 percent.”

“You are proving the naysayers wrong,” he told his audience at the predominantly black school. “We are proud of what you do each and every day,” he told the teachers, and said their profession must be “honored” rather than vilified. He also said teachers must be accountable.

Dans toute réforme scolaire majeure, il faut remettre l'imputabilité aux professeurs, par contre s'ils sont imputables, ils ont le droit d'avoir tous les outils pour performer,  finies la bureaucratie, l'autocratie, et les conventions collectives négociées globalement, tu fais ton court à ta façon,  
mais tu es responsable des résultats.

The Miami school “did it the right way” and fired some teachers and replaced the principal with the support of the unions, Obama said.

Bipartisan Efforts

Obama has pointed to education overhaul, including merit- based pay for teachers, improving standardized testing and providing funding for schools that put innovative reforms in place, as one of the potential areas for bipartisan cooperation, said Chester E. Finn Jr., president of the Thomas B. Fordham Institute, a Washington education research organization.

“Arne Duncan wants to dramatize their proposal for reauthorizing the No Child Left Behind Act, in which a key provision is to institute concentrated turnaround efforts,” Finn said.

Obama said he wants to revamp education laws to concentrate on reform and results.

According to the White House, the Miami school is an example of a “turnaround model for school improvement” benefiting from $790,000 of Title I School Improvement Grant funds that are designed to help poor-performing schools.

Changes at the school included bringing on a new principal, with an expanded role,

Oui, le directeur d'école est imputable, mais il a beaucoup plus de pouvoir, il dirige son entreprise publique comme une PME et peut licencier tout professeur qui n'est pas à la hauteur, finie sécurité d'emploi, permanence et ancienneté, la compétence et le rendement devient le mot d'ordre.

and rehiring no more than 50 percent of the school’s staff.

The school offers after-school sessions in reading and math, tougher graduation requirements and financial literacy programs.

$3.5 Billion in Grants

Duncan told reporters in a March 1 conference call that last year the Education Department spent about $3.5 billion on so-called School Improvement Grants to help turn around failing schools.

He said that fewer than 2,000 schools account for about half of the dropouts, who are mostly blacks and Latinos. Duncan described these schools as “educational emergencies.”

 

Miami-Dade County schools established the Education Transformation Office to help 19 consistently poor-performing schools through revamping curriculum, training teachers and working with families.

“If they think they have a school that shows the good effects of a concentrated, targeted, focused turnaround effort, they will celebrate it,” Finn said.

Budget Proposal

Obama’s 2012 budget proposal sent to Congress Feb. 14 calls for a reduction in higher education outlays by $10 billion, while increasing spending for kindergarten through high school education by 6.9 percent to $26.8 billion.

“Our job is not just to cut, even as we find ways to cut Spending,” Obama said yesterday. “What we can’t do is cut back on investments like education that help us create jobs.”

“We can’t sacrifice our future,” he said.

The president has vowed to expand programs such as “Race to the Top,” which offers money for states that follow the administration’s prescriptions for raising standards in grade schools and high schools. Obama proposed $1.4 billion for the Education Department for competitions such as “Race to the Top,” which doled out $4.35 billion to states in two rounds of funding.


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