by Hanna Peterman
Throughout his presidency, Obama has stressed the necessity of education in an economically sound country.
Among immigration reform, economic turnaround, and climate change, President Obama’s State of the Union Address in February highlighted American education. Obama stressed that making quality education universally available through more federal funding is the first step to an educated population, and it starts at the preschool level.
The HighScope Perry Preschool Study published in 2005 followed high risk individuals from age three or four through the age of 40. It found that the adults who were enrolled in quality preschool programs as children committed fewer crimes, graduated high school at a higher rate, and earned more money than those not enrolled in preschool.
“It’s a simple fact that the more education you’ve got, the more likely you are to have a good job and work your way into the middle class,” said Obama in the 2013 State of the Union Address. This often means enrolling in school after high school.
But climbing college tuition limits options for many students.
“At this point, if (a college’s tuition) is too high, then I wouldn’t want to apply there because I don’t want to make my parents pay too much,” said CHS junior Michelle Mason.
The Obama administration has worked to make college more affordable through grants and improved loans and has begun rewarding schools that keep tuition down with increased financial aid. Obama has also introduced a tool called the “College Scorecard,” which informs parents and prospective college students of, “where you can get the most bang for your educational buck.” It compares factors like tuitions and graduation rates of different colleges and universities.
Despite these changes, a four-year college degree still isn’t financially realistic for many students. In nations around the world like Canada, Switzerland, and Germany, students can opt to attend specialized high schools, known as vocational or trade schools, earning a degree and entering the workforce instead of going to college. Many states in the U.S. are implementing initiatives to reduce licensing requirements for jobs like teaching and encouraging high schools to add courses with technical focuses to graduate career-ready students. Obama also urged high schools to form partnerships with colleges and employers to train students, “to fill the jobs that are there right now and will be there in the future.”
Starting at the preschool level, the Obama Administration’s education policy is working in an effort to increase the availability of the quality education necessary to fuel a productive society.
“Let’s do what works and make sure none of our children start the race of life already behind,” said Obama, “Let’s give our kids that chance.”