President Focuses on Education

Last week President Obama and Secretary Arne Duncan visited innovative classrooms in Miami and Boston.  They dropped in on a U.S. history class in Arlington, Virginia, with Australian Prime Minister Julia Gillard.

Watch these and other highlights from the week (March 4-11, 2011).  Read the President’s speeches on education:


  1. Thanks, President Obama, for your financial support of education. It was exceptionally corageous of you to include money for educators in the job funds initiative. It is still obvious that money cannot buy good teachers. The performance of our students still does not correlate with the money invested. As teachers complain about increased salaries, they probably need a real class in economics. If people are not working, from where is the money supposed to come? Teaching is a thing of the heart. There are still educators who love children, love to teach, have a passion for teaching as a service,have a quest for growing knowledge, etc. If there are funds available, please use them to support stipends for professional and instructional improvement of educators in science, math,etc., as was done in the 60s.

  2. The UCLA School Mental Health Project Policy Brief, entitled “Moving Beyond the Three Tier Intervention Pyramid: Toward a Comprehensive Framework for Student and Learning Supports” ( states that federal educational policymakers have focused to date (far too long, long enough) on a two-component educational model. The first component addresses curriculum and instructional practices. The second component addresses governance and operations of schools. The problem is, as they state, research has crystallized a third component that is essential to educational policy. The third component focuses on enabling learning and teaching by addressing directly and systematically the students’ external and internal barriers to learning and teaching and by directly and systematically reengaging the students’ who are disconnected from classroom instruction. These ecological and internal factors are frequently marginalized, indirectly addressed, or not even considered. The spotlight needs to shine equally on this third component and as brightly as it shines on the first two components. The stakes are too high for educational policymakers and educational leaders to continue to neglect the external and internal contexts of students’ lives. The stakes are too high to continue to hypothesis that if only teachers taught better and if only schools were more positive and less punitive, then education would be great or no student would be left behind. The stakes are too high to neglect that it may not matter how many interventions and differentiation teachers do; if the students in the school have external and internal barriers to disable learning, then it doesn’t matter how hard you work yourself, these barriers are still there! The stakes are too high for support staff to just learn a cookbook of academic and behavioral interventions that may address the presenting problem but may not provide the needed solution. The stakes are too high to not recognize that a person’s external and internal resources account for the greatest amount of change and addressing directly and systematically these external and internal barriers to enable learning is a powerful starting gate to creating powerful conditions for change!

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