The 2012 U.S. presidential elections are over at last and all of us, both disappointed and triumphant ones, can sigh with relief. Now it is time to sum it all up and see what we are to expect in the future with Barack Obama back in office for another 4 years.
To figure out how education could change, let’s look at some election pledges made by Barack Obama during the campaign period and think whether they are likely to ever see the light of day.
The benchmarking study by the country’s best experts in the field of political analysis shows that over his first presidency term Barack Obama managed to fulfill 38 percent of his pre-election promises and got things moving on 21 more percent, whereas the total number of his unkept promises amounts to 21 percent as well. This time during his campaign, Barack Obama seems to have been much more careful when choosing words to phrase his promises than his political opponent Mitt Romney. Thus, there are very few ‘I will’ statements and more ‘I’ll try’ or ‘I want’ ones.
So, now that we are done with the statistics, let’s finally look at what Barack Obama promises to change or leave unchanged in the field of education.
· Today Obama is just as critical about the NCLB initiative as he used to be 4 years ago. He is determined to reform the program, improving assessments. He strongly believes that low-performing and ailing schools need support rather than punishment on the part of the federal and local governments.
· Let us not forget about STEM. For the President made it very clear that science, math and engineering education are the key priorities on his educational agenda. We are most likely to see more cash injections into the field and more STEM initiatives supported by the White House.
· In his pre-election speeches addressed to young immigrants and college students Barack Obama promised to pay more attention to the programs aimed to support highly-skilled immigration workforce.
· He also intends to deal with the problem of high school dropout and low college-going rates especially among Latino and black students. He hopes to do that through providing more incentives for schools to prevent this. His idea is that all students regardless of their socio-economic, cultural or other background should be given more educational incitement to stay in schools and pursue college degree.
· Increasing college readiness rates and encouraging more students to take AP tests is the evidence of the nation’s success so Obama wants to make sure those issues remain on the top of his to-do list.
· Naturally, one of the most pressing issues that Obama had to address was the problem of the increasing student loan debt and growing number of young people who feel financially unprepared to go to college, even the community one. Thus, increasing students’ financial awareness by teaching them financial literacy is only one part of Obama’s plan. He also wants to make colleges affordable through extending the federal financial support.
· Another issue that could not be left behind was the problem of teaching staff shortage and high unemployment rates for fresh out of college inexperienced teachers. Obama promised to introduce teacher mentoring initiatives and find way to better reward and encourage efficient teachers.
· Obama also did not turn his back on the problems of students who have special needs in education, that is, ELL students and those with disabilities. He made a promise to start more federally-backed programs, which aim to support bilingual students. Obama intends to enlarge educational opportunities for students who have disabilities and make sure there are no barriers for such students to go to college or pursue a career.
On the whole it’s possible to say that Barack Obama once again gave people promises they wanted to hear most. And while it is true that everybody agrees on the long-run educational objectives, they tend to dispute over the means to achieve those. Many opponents including Obama’s political rival, Mitt Romney, criticize the President’s course of educational policy as lacking rigour and firm stand. Time will tell on whether or not Barack Obama will succeed in attaining his ambitious educational goals and use the time allowed for this to good purpose.