Obama’s State of the Union address makes many promises for education

By Morgayne Mulkern

Comment Staff

President Obama gives the State of the Union address. Pete Souza - Photo. Used under the creative commons license.
President Obama gives the State of the Union address. Pete Souza – Photo. Used under the creative commons license.

“America does not stand still – and neither will I. So wherever and whenever I can take steps without legislation to expand opportunity for more American families, that’s what I’m going to do.”

This was perhaps one of the more controversial lines of President Barack Obama’s sixth State of the Union Address on Jan. 28. It became clear how aggressively he is trying to promote his policies and nothing, including congress, will stand in his way.

Fortunately I agree with many of his policies but for those who do not, this might be a daunting message.

Obama addressed several issues that had to do with the lack of opportunity for Americans, including his hopes of raising the minimum wage to $10.10 an hour.

This seems reasonable with the times, as the dollar loses value, and could help millions of people who depend on minimum wage jobs to support themselves and, in some cases, even a family.

 “I think that creating a policy that reduces the wealth distribution gap is a good plan of action,” said Destinie Mogg, a Bridgewater State University student and political science major. “This policy should tie minimum wage to the cost of living as well as to keep multinational corporations from taking advantage of the poor to middle working classes.”

Obama made some other good points about education. He proposed to better the education system by making universal pre-kindergarten available to all.

“It’s not enough to train today’s workforce,” Obama said. “We also have to prepare tomorrow’s workforce, by guaranteeing every child access to a world-class education.”

He is right. How can we preach equal opportunity if certain children are getting ahead of others at the very beginning of their education?

Education should not be a privilege, it should be a right, and it is not fair that certain children who can afford pre-kindergarten are given a head start in the race for a quality education.

Obama also said he wants to better secondary education. He hopes to connect high schools with high-speed broadband and create partnerships between high schools, colleges, and even businesses so that students can be trained as soon as possible for specific and existing jobs.

I agree that the lack of opportunity and training for jobs is a serious issue and the sooner students are provided support in choosing the right career the better.

It is sad that many people graduate college with a degree only to be left unemployed and lost because their education and skills do not match what employers are looking for.

Morgayne Mulkern is a Comment staff writer. Email her at mmulkern@student.bridgew.edu.


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