President Obama used his weekly address on Saturday to ask Congress to reform and reenact the No Child Left Behind law this year. One component of the bill that is extremely near and dear to the president’s heart is funding for the Race to the Top competition that his administration initiated two years ago, which rewards school districts for implementing innovative reforms and increasing student achievement.
“To strengthen education in this country, we need to encourage reforms not driven by Washington, but by principles and parents so schools can determine what is best for their kids,” Obama said, pointing to the significant progress that the Memphis-based Booker T. Washington school has made in the past four years.
The school won the 2011 Race to the Top Commencement Challenge because of the reforms it has implemented in the past four years, which have increased its graduation rate from 55 percent to 81.6 percent.
“The idea is simple: If states show that they’re serious about reform, we’ll show them the money. And it’s already making a difference throughout the country,” Obama said. “Our challenge now is to allow all 50 states to benefit from the success of Race to the Top.”
(Photo: AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite)