Promote innovative ways to reward good teachers
"Will promote new and innovative ways to increase teacher pay that are developed with teachers, not imposed on them. Districts will be able to design programs that reward accomplished educators who serve as a mentor to new teachers with a salary increase. Districts can reward teachers who work in underserved places like rural areas and inner cities. And if teachers consistently excel in the classroom, that work can be valued and rewarded as well."
Create the American Opportunity Tax Credit to offset college costs
"Will make college affordable for all Americans by creating a new American Opportunity Tax Credit. This universal and fully refundable credit will ensure that the first $4,000 of a college education is completely free for most Americans, and will cover two-thirds the cost of tuition at the average public college or university and make community college tuition completely free for most students. Recipients of the credit will be required to conduct 100 hours of community service."
Simplify the application process for financial aid
"Will streamline the financial aid process by eliminating the current federal financial aid application and enabling families to apply simply by checking a box on their tax form, authorizing their tax information to be used, and eliminating the need for a separate application."
Reduce subsidies to private student lenders and protect student borrowers
Will "eliminate wasteful subsidies to private student lenders, which will save nearly $6 billion dollars per year, and invest the savings in additional student aid."
Improve high school graduation rates
"When I am president, we'll fight to make sure we are once again first in the world when it comes to high school graduation rates."
Increase the number of high school students taking college-level courses
"We're also going to set a goal of increasing the number of high school students taking college level or AP courses by 50 percent in the coming years."
Help students and their families become aware of college readiness
"Some states have developed an Early Assessment Program that enables 11th graders and their families to ascertain if they are on track to be college ready by the time they graduate. The voluntary test and the presentation of results are specifically designed to inform students what they need to do to prepare for college while they still have time to do it. This program will increase college readiness and is voluntary."
Spend $25 million a year on programs to raise awareness of college financial aid
Obama "will provide $25 million annually in matching funds for states to develop Early Assessment Programs. These funds will also promote state efforts to raise awareness about the availability of federal and state financial aid programs."
Expand Pell grants for low-income students
"Will continue to work to ensure that the maximum Pell Grant award is increased for low-income students. Specifically, he will ensure that the award keeps pace with the rising cost of college inflation."
Create a community college partnership program
"Will create a Community College Partnership Program to strengthen community colleges by providing grants to a) conduct more thorough analysis of the types of skills and technical education that are in high demand from students and local industry; b) implement new associate of arts degree programs that cater to emerging industry and technical career demands; and c) reward those institutions that graduate more students and also increase their numbers of transfer students to four-year institutions."
Push for a college football playoff system
Will "throw his weight around" to lobby for a college football playoff system, which he said would only add three weeks to the season.
Establish 'Promise Neighborhoods' for areas of concentrated poverty
"Will create 20 Promise Neighborhoods in cities that have high levels of poverty and crime and low levels of student academic achievement. The Promise Neighborhoods will model the Harlem Children's Zone and seek to engage all resident children and their parents in an achievement program based on tangible goals, including college for every participating student, strong physical and mental health outcomes for children as well as retention of meaningful employment and parenting schools for parents. Cities and private entities will be required to pay 50 percent of the program costs."
Expand public/private partnerships between schools and arts organizations
"Will increase resources for the U.S. Department of Education's Arts Education Model Development and Dissemination Grants, which develop public/private partnerships between schools and arts organizations; also will engage the foundation and corporate community to increase support for public/private partnerships."
Champion the importance of arts education
"Will use the bully pulpit and the example he will set in the White House to promote the importance of arts and arts education in America."
Support increased funding for the NEA
Will "support increased funding for the National Endowment for the Arts, the support of which enriches schools and neighborhoods all across the nation and helps to promote the economic development of countless communities."
Establish school programs to highlight space and science achievements
Through NASA, "will develop K-12 education activities to translate the successes of our civil space programs, particularly our nation's scientific discoveries, our technology developments, and space exploration activities, into instructional programs for our children."
Encourage contests and programs to interest students in science
"Will support nontraditional approaches, such as student design competitions and internet-based collaborations to engage students and develop the next generation of scientists and engineers."
Increase research opportunities for college students
"Will support university programs that partner NASA, DOT, DOD and NOAA with academia to provide hands-on training experiences at the college level."
Rebuild schools in New Orleans
"Will help communities in the Gulf make necessary school infrastructure investments so all kids from all backgrounds have safe and supportive environments to learn."
Expand service-learning in schools
Will tie a plan to give schools a substantial infusion of funds to support teachers and principals and improve student learning to the condition that school districts develop programs to engage students in service opportunities. "Obama and Biden believe that middle and high school students should be expected to engage in community service for 50 hours annually during the school year or summer months. They will develop national guidelines for service-learning and community service programs, and will give schools better tools both to develop successful programs and to document the experience of students at all levels. They will encourage programs that engage with community partners to expand opportunities for community service and service-learning opportunities, so that students can apply what they learn in the classroom to authentic situations that help the community. These programs will also involve citizens from the community engaging students in service opportunities through the Classroom Corps."
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