The administration’s decision to use temporary waivers to give states more flexibility regarding NCLB is controversial, but was fueled by a pragmatic desire to address the problems in the law and quickly, especially given the administration’s frustration in not getting legislative support to reauthorize the Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA).
On the campaign trail, Obama has emphasized his administration’s proposals for higher education over its work on K – 12. New legislation that seeks to have all federally backed student loans originate with the US Treasury instead of subsidized private lenders has drawn fire from Republicans, who see such as nothing less than a “federal takeover” of student loans, rather than an attempt to ensure that college students and their families will not be at the mercy of banks. The President is pushing a proposal to keep federal loans rates stable at 3.4 percent and with reason, given trillion-dollar student loan debt and the gloomy job prospects awaiting college graduates in today’s economy.
Obama has come under fire for efforts to keep public education public, through federal grants and programs that are in direct contrast to the sort of educational plan proposed by GOP candidate Mitt Romney, whose calls for reforms involve school vouchers. The President’s efforts, however promising, have yet to bear fruit but efforts to turn proposals into action capture a real spirit of reform and a long-term goal of improving education for all US students.
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