The State of Education In the Union

Final SOTU address highlights President Obama's commitment to educational goals

U.S. small business hiring increases in FebruaryPresident Obama gave his final State of the Union address the evening of Jan. 12.

Among other things, he advocated bipartisanship and a recognition of climate change science. He also mentioned education four times, according to the full transcript of his speech.

[Related: Preview: Obama’s Final State of the Union Address]

In a teasing forecast, Obama said, “But tonight, I want to go easy on the traditional list of proposals for the year ahead. Don’t worry, I’ve got plenty. From helping students learn to write computer code to personalizing medical treatments for patients …”

The White House is bullish on computer science, but we’ll have to wait to see the specifics of how that takes shape. Touching implicitly on the changes the Internet has brought about, Obama talked about the “extraordinary change” shaping our world today. He said that change “promises education for girls in the most remote villages, but also connects terrorists plotting an ocean away.” Along the lines of girls’ education, Obama referred to both “teacher” and “student” with female pronouns.

When highlighting his successes in education, the president noted increases in students accessing the Internet and the record rise in high school graduation rates, publishing the graph below as part of the full text of the speech.

 

In addition to overall graduation rates, the president hailed a boost in engineering graduates. To emphasize the importance of those fields, he drew the connection between STEM fields and well-paying jobs that undergirds much of STEM advocacy:

“We agree that real opportunity requires every American to get the education and training they need to land a good-paying job,” Obama said. “The bipartisan reform of No Child Left Behind was an important start, and together, we’ve increased early childhood education, lifted high school graduation rates to new highs, and boosted graduates in fields like engineering.”

Praising the work of No Child Left Behind is a nod toward the rebranded and reauthorized No Child Left Behind—otherwise known as the Every Student Succeeds Act, or ESSA.

Read more at EdSurge.