The theme of President Obama’s State of the Union speech this past Tuesday was “Winning the Future,” and the steps needed to get there—one of which was improving education. This is important because, as Obama said, “Over the next 10 years, nearly half of all new jobs will require education that goes beyond a high school education. And yet, as many as a quarter of our students aren’t even finishing high school.”
In his speech, Obama called for an overhaul of every major component of our education system—a lofty (but seemingly necessary) goal.
On early education and parental involvement:
“It’s family that first instills the love of learning in a child. Only parents can make sure the TV is turned off and homework gets done.”
On Race to the Top:
“Race to the Top is the most meaningful reform of our public schools in a generation. For less than 1 percent of what we spend on education each year, it has led over 40 states to raise their standards for teaching and learning. “
“In South Korea, teachers are known as ‘nation builders.’ Here in America, it’s time we treated the people who educate our children with the same level of respect. We want to reward good teachers and stop making excuses for bad ones.”
On higher education:
“Higher education must be within the reach of every American. That’s why we’ve ended the unwarranted taxpayer subsidies that went to banks, and used the savings to make college affordable for millions of students.”
“If we take these steps,” said Obama, “if we raise expectations for every child, and give them the best possible chance at an education, from the day they are born until the last job they take—we will reach the goal that I set two years ago: By the end of the decade, America will once again have the highest proportion of college graduates in the world. “
It’s commendable for our president to be forward-thinking enough that he included education in his speech. It’s easy to focus on job creation and tax cuts now, but investing in the future will help ensure our kids don’t have to go through what we have. It would have been nice to hear concrete steps to achieving these goals, but hearing that educating our kids is a top priority for the future is a pretty good start.
Do you think Obama put enough focus on education? Which area needs the most reform?