The American Recovery and Reinvestment Act invested heavily in education both as a way to provide jobs now and lay the foundation for long-term prosperity.

  • The Act includes $5 billion for early learning programs, including Head Start, Early Head Start, child care, and programs for children with special needs.
  • The Act also provides $77 billion for reforms to strengthen elementary and secondary education, including $48.6 billion to stabilize state education budgets (of which $8.8 billion may be used for other government services) and to encourage states to:
    • Make improvements in teacher effectiveness and ensure that all schools have highly-qualified teachers;
    • Make progress toward college and career-ready standards and rigorous assessments that will improve both teaching and learning;
    • Improve achievement in low-performing schools, through intensive support and effective interventions; and
    • Gather information to improve student learning, teacher performance, and college and career readiness through enhanced data systems.
  • The Act provides $5 billion in competitive funds to spur innovation and chart ambitious reform to close the achievement gap.
  • The Act includes over $30 billion to address college affordability and improve access to higher education.

Providing a high-quality education for all children is critical to America’s economic future. Our nation’s economic competitiveness and the path to the American Dream depend on providing every child with an education that will enable them to succeed in a global economy that is predicated on knowledge and innovation. President Obama is committed to providing every child access to a complete and competitive education, from cradle through career.

Focus on Early Childhood Education

The years before a child reaches kindergarten are among the most critical in his or her life to influence learning. President Obama is committed to providing the support that our youngest children need to prepare to succeed later in school. The President supports a seamless and comprehensive set of services and support for children, from birth through age 5. Because the President is committed to helping all children succeed – regardless of where they spend their day – he will urge states to impose high standards across all publicly funded early learning settings, develop new programs to improve opportunities and outcomes, engage parents in their child’s early learning and development, and improve the early education workforce.

Reform and Invest in K-12 Education

President Obama will reform America’s public schools to deliver a 21st Century education that will prepare all children for success in the new global workplace. He will foster a race to the top in our nation’s schools, by promoting world-class academic standards and a curriculum that fosters critical thinking, problem solving, and the innovative use of knowledge to prepare students for college and career. He will push to end the use of ineffective, "off-the-shelf" tests, and support new, state-of-the-art assessment and accountability systems that provide timely and useful information about the learning and progress of individual students.

Teachers are the single most important resource to a child’s learning. President Obama will ensure that teachers are supported as professionals in the classroom, while also holding them more accountable. He will invest in innovative strategies to help teachers to improve student outcomes, and use rewards and incentives to keep talented teachers in the schools that need them the most. President Obama will invest in a national effort to prepare and reward outstanding teachers, while recruiting the best and brightest to the field of teaching. And he will challenge State and school districts to remove ineffective teachers from the classroom.

The President believes that investment in education must be accompanied by reform and innovation. The President supports the expansion of high-quality charter schools. He has challenged States to lift limits that stifle growth among successful charter schools and has encouraged rigorous accountability for all charter schools.

Restore America’s Leadership in Higher Education

President Obama is committed to ensuring that America will regain its lost ground and have the highest proportion of students graduating from college in the world by 2020. The President believes that regardless of educational path after high school, all Americans should be prepared to enroll in at least one year of higher education or job training to better prepare our workforce for a 21st century economy.

To accomplish these overarching goals, the President is committed to increasing higher education access and success by restructuring and dramatically expanding college financial aid, while making federal programs simpler, more reliable, and more efficient for students. The President has proposed a plan to address college completion and strengthen the higher education pipeline to ensure that more students succeed and complete their degree. His plan will also invest in community colleges to equip a greater share of young people and adults with high-demand skills and education for emerging industries.


THU, APRIL 30, 6:04 PM EST

Celebrating our Teachers

On Tuesday the President welcomed the Teachers of the Year to the White House, Dr. Jill Biden tells us about the time she spent with them.
Includes video.
WED, APRIL 29, 4:53 PM EST

Retrospective in Missouri

Today the President was in Arnold, Missouri for a town hall, and took a moment to be retrospective in his opening remarks before addressing a wide array of questions.
Updated with video.
FRI, APRIL 24, 5:42 PM EST

Student Loans: Cutting Out the Middle Man

Taking a defiant stance towards those banks defending the status quo, the President proposes cutting out the middle man in student loans for a savings of almost $50 billion over ten years.
Updated with video.
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