What will the president say about education and should we pay attention?

US-POLITICS-OBAMA-STATE OF THE UNION
My fellow Americans, here’s some stuff we should do. Or not. Either way.

As I recall I was very interested in President Obama’s call for universal preschool in last year’s 2013 State of the Union address, not because I thought it would really be put into practice — it was one of those big-idea state-of-the-union-speech applause lines more than it was a defined policy proposal — but because I wondered if it would help raise the profile of early childhood education issues, which really is one of the most important things government and culture could turn its focus on.

According to some of the preview reporting, that theme is going to be back on Tuesday. Hey, who knows, maybe this time it will stick.

In general, though, this post at Education Week’s Politics K-12 blog is a perfectly good guide to how much actual education policy progress we can expect to see coming out of the State of the Union, and it is … not a lot. In speeches since 2010, they count one sort-of-achieved education policy goal.

The Obama administration has actually been phenomenally successful in advancing its education policy agenda (true whether you agree or disagree with that agenda), but almost the entirety of that has been through Race to the Top, which was contained in the 2009 stimulus bill, which you’ve got to admit seems like a long time ago now.

About Robert Mentzer

I am the opinion editor at Daily Herald Media.
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