Obama highlights education successes
During the State of the Union address, President Obama emphasized education achievements, such as the nation’s record breaking high school graduation rate and the college loan repayment cap. The President also outlined goals that were not met, yet will remain areas he vows to continue focusing on while he is in office.
Pre-K still on the table
Last month Congress didn’t include Obama’s goal to offer 4-year-olds universal preschool nationwide. This was omitted from the federal education law, even though it has been an initiative that has been in the works for several years. The President believes that for American students to truly learn all they can in those early years, universal free PreK programs are needed – and I share that belief.
Reduction in college debt
The urgent need to reduce college tuition and expenses was also addressed in the State of the Union speech. This is another unrealized goal and a popular topic in a country in which college debt is the second largest form of consumer debt, next to mortgages. Free community college was also discussed as the President recommitted his pledge to making this a reality.
Math and computer learning
Obama covered the importance of offering every student hands-on math and computer science courses that will prepare them for the workforce. Currently, just 25 percent of schools in America offer computer science and programming classes. However, with efforts being made by Microsoft and various nonprofit organizations, as well as from the Obama administration, 17 states have increased funding and altered policies to include computer science classes and allow course credits be applied toward high school graduation.
The President encountered positive approval during the portion of his address regarding the need for quality educators. His mission is to both recruit and support more teachers throughout the nation. However, his administration’s policies often draw critic from teachers unions.
All in all, it’s too soon to see what the legacy of President Obama will be when it comes to education but I think it’s safe to say he is progressing it in the right direction.