I admit it – I’m a sucker for the State of the Union. I get excited wondering what the theme will be and how effectively it will be employed throughout the speech, predicting who will applaud when, anticipating which special guests will draw tears, calculating when the cameras will pan to the First Lady. It doesn’t hurt that President Obama is a great orator.
I am significantly less enthusiastic about the after-party: while the notion of an “opposition” response makes me feel like I’m back in Jamaica, I could do without the endless, often absurd news analysis (“how many times did the President say…”) that follows. So I’ll keep my reflections brief:
> I liked the whole “Built to Last” motif. It definitely invoked the notion of solid American products, but he introduced it with the vision of a country “that leads the world in educating its people.” There is no stronger foundation.
> I wish he had applied the level playing field analogy that he used for American businesses to American students. We need a unit to ensure equity in our schools.
> The decision to keep kids in school until they turn 18 struck me as odd, not the type of educational expansion I was hoping to hear about. Longer, richer schools days? Yes. Enriched summer learning? Absolutely. A broader curriculum that recognizes students social, emotional development needs and prepares them for the jobs of the future? Let’s do it! But force schools to hold them until they’re 18? I don’t know. I’m hearing that there’s research to back it up, but it seems to me that our energies would be better spent making school more engaging and relevant so that kids wanted to stay. Enrollment in schools is not the end game as is evidenced by the alarming statistics on chronic absenteeism and its impact on all students in those schools.
> Immigrant students (DREAMers) deserve a shot at the opportunity that attracted their parents to this country and all young people deserve “an education that encourages talent and ingenuity.” #ExpandED2012.