Capitol Comments

On Monday, President Barack Obama officially unveiled his budget for 2013.  As he spoke from Northern Virginia Community College, Obama highlighted the more than $65 billion in education funding focused on resources dedicated to transforming K-12 and postsecondary education to ensure students have the skills and knowledge to succeed in the future.

Today, President Obama released the names of the 10 states that will receive flexibility from a set of mandates in the Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA), better known as No Child Left Behind.  Colorado, Florida, Georgia, Indiana, Kentucky, Massachusetts, Minnesota, New Jersey, Oklahoma and Tennessee received approval.  An 11th state, New Mexico, submitted a request, but it was not granted at this time.  U.S. Department of Education officials will continue to work with New Mexico's education leaders to make adjustments to their initial request.  Officials in 28  states, the District of Columbia and Puerto Rico say they will request a waiver to NCLB mandates by Feb. 21, 2012 for the second submission opportunity.

In his 2012 State of the Union address, President Barack Obama focused on strategies and programs for an economy that's "built to last."  Part of that blueprint included educational initiatives tied to the growing skills gaps, increasing opportunities at community colleges, and a commitment to continue the reforms at the K-12 level.

The U.S. Department of Education released progress report information for the 12 states that received Race to the Top funding in 2010.  The specific summaries highlight the reform efforts and initiatives each state is implementing along with challenges along the way.  Delaware, the District of Columbia, Florida, Georgia, Hawaii, Maryland, Massachusetts, New York, North Carolina, Ohio, Rhode Island and Tennessee developed aggressive plans for statewide reform and secured funding for the work.

Educators and policymakers realize that all of America’s students need a high-quality education to prepare them for college and careers. 2012 promises to be another busy year in transformational strategies in education. In order to ensure a world-class education, leaders will likely address these top 5 issues facing states this year.