President Obama delivered a major, long (over 4,500 words), and substantive speech on education this morning. Transcript here; coverage here and here.
The media will likely focus on the several issues certain to raise the ire of unions, such as performance pay, firing weak teachers, and strong support for charter schools. But there are many other noteworthy points throughout the speech as well as some standard fare and a few passing references that will need more filling out.
The speech had familiar anchors: achievement gaps, personal responsibility, and international competition. It also made use of the common Obama tactic of framing his positions as inhabiting the sensible middle ground between polarized parties and being beyond the ideological battles of the past. Interestingly, he twice made the point that money alone would not solve our education problems.
As for the substance, it was built around ???????five pillars???????: 1) early childhood, 2) standards and assessments, 3) recruiting, preparing, and rewarding outstanding teachers, 4) promoting innovation and excellence, and 5) higher education
In early childhood, he touted funding in the stimulus for Head Start and child care programs. He also challenged states to raise...