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Obama's Generational Investment in Education

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In a story that deserves a Huff Post big news page itself, President Obama unveiled yesterday his proposal to reinvest in America's crumbling education infrastructure. It was a speech that should have been covered top-of-the-fold in the Times, Post, and Globe.

If the President's hyperbolic language on the economic front scared people, what about yesterday's commentary on the state of American education:

"What is at stake is nothing less than the American dream," he told the Hispanic Chamber of Commerce's 19th annual legislative conference.

So here's the long lost lede, I think, from today at Scoop44.

"One day after meeting with finalists of the Intel Science Talent Search, a research competition for high school seniors, President Obama unveiled an ambitious overhaul of the American education system, renewing investment in the nation's young people unmatched since President Johnson's Great Society initiatives."

I haven't checked the hometown papers of the cities where Obama emphasized renewed attention to haul in rising drop-rates, but hopefully they noticed the speech's salience in their coverage.

True, Obama's idealism was out in colors yesterday. He made a boat-load of substantial promises citing the need for generational investment that had been put off years. Here's my piece again at Scoop44.

For 18 to 24 year olds, Obama promised "a historic commitment to increasing college access," specifically an expansion of government-supported financial aid, a restoration of Pell Grants for America's buying power, and a simplified Federal Application for Student Aid (FAFSA) form.

For the leaders of America's struggling inner-city schools facing an ever steep drop-out rate, Obama pledged "support for the development of effective drop-out prevention and recovery models."

For teachers, Obama ensured the funding they need for crucial classroom technology and supplies. Moreover, he promised new pay models, rewards based on effectiveness, and investment in national recruitment apparatus to identify the most talented teachers.

For administrators concerned about diving standards, aides said Obama will "enhance the rigor of state-level curriculum to better foster critical thinking, problem solving, and the innovative use of knowledge needed to meet 21st century demands."

For the health and future of the Department of Education, Obama said that his Administration has plans to streamline wasteful programs currently in operation.

It's ambitious -- maybe overwhelmingly so -- and will require much heavy-lifting. There's little doubt from our generation, it's all imperative.

The national debate is this: should we be investing in education in the midst of our current economic turmoil and confluence of crises?

If you believe, as the President said, that the heart of our national prosperity (far more than financially) is education, then we must employ every energy to overhaul the American education system -- today.