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Where Was Education in the State of the Union Address?

In his Address, he asked the American people: “…Who do you want to be?” I wondered who he would want to be as the nation’s leader in regards to educational reform. However, during his hour-long speech, he only addressed educational reform for those in pre-school and those who have graduated high school.

The President boasted that high school drop out rates are lower than they have been in the past 10 years and that the United States is showing the highest math and reading scores ever.  This is in contrast to the data such as that from PISA (Program for International Student Assessment), which shows American students ranking below average in math.  In fact, our students lag behind countries that include Singapore, Hong Kong, South Korea, Japan, Switzerland, the Netherlands and Estonia.  (Read More.)

While President Obama addressed many issues that affect U.S. citizen, his State of the Union address had none of the vigor, passion, or specifics of his earlier Race to the Top initiative. Perhaps its controversy held him back. However, almost every reform issue has some relationship to the responsibility of the nation for educating our children. The children of immigrants need reading, writing, and mathematics skills in order to graduate and enter the work force; students who don’t pass high school will have little money to contribute to taxes; a faster Internet will only work if every school has access to computers. John Adams said, "There are two types of education.... One should teach us how to make a living, and the other how to live." K-12 districts and schools are responsible for preparing students for career and college. As an educator, I wish the State of the Union had included reforms for the over 56 million K-12 students who count on us to prepare them.



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