Sep 27, 2010 8:42 AM by Posted by Sharlee Barriere
WASHINGTON (AP) - President Barack Obama on Monday called for a longer school year for students and the removal of the worst-performing teachers as he sought to give a prominent boost to his education agenda.
Asked in an interview if he supported a year-round school year, Obama said: "The idea of a longer school year, I think, makes sense." He did not specify how long that school year should be and said that U.S. students attend classes, on average, about a month less than children in most other advance countries.
The president also said money alone can't solve the problems in America's schools. He said more resources must be matched with reforms, including the removal of teachers who, once identified as underperforming and given the chance and the training to improve, are still not serving students well.
Obama says his administration's Race to the Top initiative has been one of the "most powerful tools for reform" in many years. Through the program, states compete for $4 billion in funding by highlighting their plans for reform.
The president said he wants to work with teachers unions, and he embraced the role in defending their members. But he said unions cannot and should not defend a status quo in which one-third of children are dropping out. He urged them not to be resistant to change.