11/29/2012 06:01 pm ET Updated Jan 29, 2013

Obama's Education Agenda for His Second Term

Having been reelected for a second term, President Obama has been vocal about focusing more on the area of education. Being the foundation of a prosperous economy and a bright future, the president believes that the education sector deserves the utmost attention. Although many of the items on his education agenda are a carryover from his first term, they are still of the utmost importance. Some of his main polices have been described and discussed below in detail.

Early Childhood Education

The early years of a child's life are the most critical years. President Obama believes that it is smarter to invest in early childhood education as things learnt in the early years help children reach their full potential and create a strong base for a child's success in his academic life and later in his practical life.

As children are a valuable national resource, investing in their education will enable those from disadvantaged family backgrounds to gain a strong educational foundation, which will help them achieve success throughout their lives.

The president also emphasizes the improvement of the early learning in many American states. He also hugely supports a comprehensive and flawless series of services for children between the age range of 0-5 years.

K-12 Education

The competitive global economy of today necessitates the need for high quality education that will help students achieve success later in life. As there is a very strong connection between educational achievement and economic progress, it is vital to educate all American students, regardless of their religion, race or color.

It is the duty of America to ensure that everyone one receives a quality education. President Obama has set a goal for the U.S. to become a world leader in education by 2020. In order to rebuild our economy, President Obama believes that every child, irrespective of their race, color or religion, should receive a competitive and comprehensive education that will allow them to achieve success in today's global economy, which is driven by information and innovation. For this purpose, the president has formed policies that center around four main objectives:

• Higher educational standards and an improved system of assessment that will help students achieve success in college and in their careers.

• Strong efforts taken to recruit, train, and develop teachers and principals, specifically in classrooms, where they are needed the most.

• Improved data systems to gauge the growth rate and academic potential of students that enable educators to enhance instruction.

• Paying attention to low-achieving institutions and making an effort to turn them around.
Other than that, the President has increased the amount of aid that is available to help children from low and middle income families. Through the Pell Grant program, he has provided around $40 billion this year to sponsor 10 million students.

College Education

The education field has changed completely in the past couple of decades. Unlike before, when only a few talented and intelligent students went on to get a college education, now it has become a necessity as the jobs available in the new economy require more than just a high school diploma. Even though statistics show that US ranks ninth on the ratio of young adults enrolling in college, it has unfortunately, sunk to a rank of 16 in the proportion of degrees and certificates awarded to adults in the age range of 25 to 34.

The country is sadly lagging behind Canada, Japan, Korea, and many other nations in the number of students completing college. One reason for this is the wealth gap which makes it difficult for students from poor families to attend college. Statistics show that only 25 percent of low-income students are able to complete their college education.

The president has therefore challenged every student to attain post-secondary training or a higher education for at least one year. These steps reflect the president's goal of America having the most college graduates of any nation by 2020.

Future Reforms

The changing needs of the economy now require a young population that is skilled, creative, adaptable and equipped with the tools that ensure success. The American government wants their young people to enter the global job market equipped with all of these qualities. According to President Obama, this can only be achieved if the main focus of our education policies is on younger children, because if the foundation is strong, then success will be easier to achieve. Therefore, the President has mainly placed emphasis on preparing children to achieve success in the academic as well as the practical world.

Obama's policies are meant to ensure that every student receives an education. Moreover, his policies target the way in which we currently assess students and evaluate teachers. Lastly, President Obama believes that without innovation, we can never build a strong economy and therefore, encourages innovation in every field of education. Certainly, these major steps will help our education system progress by leaps and bounds and become one of the most remarkable systems, creating a benchmark for other educational systems around the world.