Education Plays Important Role in State of the Union

During his 2015 State of the Union address, President Obama highlighted three major education programs that he wants to move forward in this Congressional session. Despite the Obama Administration’s recent early childhood initiatives, though, the President did not mention early learning in the speech.

1. Online privacy for schoolchildren: The President urged Congress to pass legislation that would “protect our children’s information.” He said the Administration will issue a report in February on keeping our country safe while strengthening privacy.

“No foreign nation, no hacker, should be able to shut down our networks, steal our trade secrets, or invade the privacy of American families, especially our kids. We are making sure our government integrates intelligence to combat cyber threats, just as we have done to combat terrorism. And tonight, I urge this Congress to finally pass the legislation we need to better meet the evolving threat of cyber-attacks, combat identity theft, and protect our children’s information. If we don’t act, we’ll leave our nation and our economy vulnerable. If we do, we can continue to protect the technologies that have unleashed untold opportunities for people around the globe.”

2. Free community college: The Administration is sending proposals to Congress for free community college.

“America thrived in the 20th century because we made high school free, sent a generation of GIs to college, and trained the best workforce in the world. But in a 21st century economy that rewards knowledge like never before, we need to do more. By the end of this decade, two in three job openings will require some higher education. Two in three. And yet, we still live in a country where too many bright, striving Americans are priced out of the education they need. It’s not fair to them, and it’s not smart for our future. That’s why I am sending this Congress a bold new plan to lower the cost of community college – to zero.”

3. Education technology: The Administration supports a free and open internet in every classroom.

“21st century businesses will rely on American science, technology, research and development…I intend to protect a free and open internet, extend its reach to every classroom, and every community, and help folks build the fastest networks, so that the next generation of digital innovators and entrepreneurs have the platform to keep reshaping our world.”

Senator Jodi Ernst (R-IA) delivered the official Republican response, which did not directly address the education issues. Obama’s proposals will require legislation, which AAP staff will closely monitor and keep members informed as developments occur.

Read the full transcript of President Obama’s 2015 State of the Union address.

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Education Policy