Washington, Oct 17 (EFE).- President Barack Obama on Monday pointed to the educational progress achieved during his time in office, including the record 83.2 percent high school graduation rate in the 2014-2015 school year, and said that education “nurtures” the magic that exists in every youngster.
Obama was visiting Benjamin Banneker Academic High School in Washington, where he gave a speech in which he reviewed the chief educational measures he has taken since arriving at the White House in 2009 and the progress made, while also noting the work yet to be done.
“The good news is that we’ve made real progress,” Obama told the students, recalling the goal he set when he took office – for the United States by 2020 to again be No. 1 in the number of young people getting a higher education.
In that regard, the president gave as an example that the 83.2 percent of students who graduated in 2014-2015 was 4.2 percent higher than in the 2010-2012 school year, when 79 percent graduated.
By population segments, the one that showed the greatest progress during the period analyzed was that of black students, whose high school graduation rate rose from 67 percent to 74.6 percent, an increase of 7.6 percentage points, according to data released Monday by the White House.
As for Hispanics, the improvement in their graduation rate was 6.8 percent, rising from 71 percent in the 2010-2011 school year to 77.8 percent in 2014-2015, according to official data.
“We live in a global economy. And when you graduate, you’re no longer going to be competing just with somebody here in D.C. for a great job. You’re competing with somebody on the other side of the world, in China or in India, because jobs can go wherever they want because of the Internet and because of technology,” the president said.
“And the best jobs are going to go to the people who are the best educated – whether in India or China, or anywhere in the world,” he warned.
Among the educational measures created in the Obama years is the association between the federal government and the states to provide preschool teaching for 4-year-olds of low and medium income families.
Specifically, the number of states offering access to preschool education of this kind has risen from 38 to 46.
The president also launched in 2013 a project with private sector aid that by 2018 aims to have 99 percent of students connected to a high-speed wideband data channel.
Obama also expanded Pell grants for students from low income families, while taking steps to help universities better manage student loans, which leave most graduates in debt for years.