Obama Focuses on Education

(CBS)
From CBS News' Maria Gavrilovic:

(DAYTON, OHIO) Barack Obama unveiled several new policies today to strengthen the education system, which he argues is a pivotal part of the U.S. economy.

"Without a college degree or industry certification, it's harder and harder to find a job that can help you support your family and keep up with rising costs," Obama said. "But it's not just that a world-class education is essential for workers to compete and win, it's that an educated workforce is essential for America to compete and win."

Obama's education initiative focuses heavily on technology education, and offering more training and mentoring to students interested in science and math. Obama has proposed a $500 million technology education fund which will be part of an overall $1 billion education fund. According to a fact sheet provided by the campaign, Obama plans to pay for these new proposals by cutting government spending and reducing federal earmarks.

Another key element of the new plan is to double the funding for charter schools, a program that Obama will acknowledges has been controversial.

"Charter schools that are successful will get the support they need to grow," Obama said, "And charters that aren't will get shut down." The funding for charter schools will be part of an overall Innovative Schools Funds which will increase funding for non profit schools, Montessori schools, and career academies.

Obama said his plan intends to make American students more competitive because, he argued, that countries such as China and India are surpassing the United States in education.

"When the story of our time is told, I don't want it to be said that China seized this moment to reform its education system, but the United States did not. I don't want it to be said that India led the way on innovation, but the United States did not," Obama said.