- Despite the Obama administration's efforts to raise education standards, huge performance gaps are still present between different ethnic groups, with the test scores of black students in particular not improving as quickly as those of their peers.
- An early childhood push is currently under consideration at the White House as a solution to these and other problems facing education, and it may come in the form of a $10 billion universal pre-kindergarten program for 4-year-olds from lower- and middle-income families.
- Early childhood education programs like Head Start have been tied to better life outcomes and the proposal could increase pre-K access to 1.85 million children, but some worry that the final program could end up being turned over to states, leaving it vulnerable to state budget cuts.
From the article:
Arne Duncan, President Barack Obama's education secretary, has a slogan that summarizes his tenure and the view of his mission that he shares with his boss. "Education is the civil rights issue of our generation," Duncan says. Maybe so, but if Duncan is right, the country remains very far from being "free at last" -- and the president faces mighty challenges in leading us to the mountaintop in his second term. Ironically, as Obama begins anew, it is the civil rights community that is raising some of the most urgent questions about Duncan's ideas for education reform. ...