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The White House
Office of the Press Secretary
For Immediate Release

President Obama Calls for New Steps to Prepare America’s Children for Success in College and Careers

Obama Administration Applauds Governors for Bipartisan Work to Develop Higher Standards in Education

WASHINGTON, DC – Today at a meeting with our nation’s governors, President Obama outlined new steps to better prepare America’s children for college and the workplace. The President is calling for a redesigned Elementary and Secondary Education Act that includes a comprehensive, new vision to help states successfully transition to and implement college- and career-ready standards by improving teacher preparation and development, upgrading classroom instruction, and supporting high-quality assessments.

“America’s prosperity has always rested on how well we educate our children – but never more so than today,” said President Barack Obama. “This is true for our workers, when a college graduate earns over 60 percent more in a lifetime than a high school graduate.  This is true for our businesses, when according to one study; six in ten say they simply can’t find qualified people to fill open positions.”

Last year, the President challenged states to develop standards and assessments that will help America’s children rise to the challenge of graduating from high school prepared for college and the workplace.

Today, the Obama Administration announced new efforts to promote college- and career-ready standards in the reauthorization of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act.  The President and Secretary Duncan applauded Governors for their efforts to work together in a state-led consortium – managed by the National Governors Association (NGA) and the Chief State School Officers (CCSSO) – to develop and implement common reading and math standards that build toward college- and career-readiness.

“With many states well positioned to adopt these common standards that better position our students for college and careers, the Governors initiative is an essential first step in improving the rigor of teaching and learning in America’s classrooms,” said Secretary of Education Arne Duncan.

To better align the Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA) to support college- and career-ready standards, the Obama Administration will integrate new policies into a re-designed ESEA, which will:

  • Require all states to adopt and certify that they have college- and career-ready standards in reading and mathematics, which may include common standards developed by a state-led consortium, as a condition of qualifying for Title I funding.
  • Include new funding priorities for states with college- and career-ready standards in place, as they compete for federal funds to improve teaching and learning and upgrade curriculum in reading and math. This priority applies to  the President’s FY2011 budget request for new Effective Teaching and Learning programs in literacy ($450 million) and STEM ($300 million).
  • Encourage states, schools districts, and other institutions to better align teacher preparation practices and programs to teaching of college and career-ready standards.  This priority supports the President’s FY2011 budget request for a new Teacher and Leaders Pathways program ($405 million).
  • Assist states in implementing assessments aligned with college- and career-ready standards, under a new Assessing Achievement program. The President’s FY2011 budget supports $400 million in state grants under this program.
  • Support the expansion of the Race to the Top, beyond funding in the Recovery Act, to dedicate $1.35 billion in awards to states and school districts that have college- and career-ready standards in place as a condition of funding.
  • Support professional development for teachers, leaders and other school instructional staff to better align instruction to college and career-ready standards.  This supports the President’s FY2011 budget request for the Effective Teacher and Leaders state grant program ($2.5 billion).

A fact sheet is available at: