Competition, Innovation, and Education to be focus in Obama’s State of the Union

President Barack Obama yesterday released a preview of his 2011 State of the Union address, which might shed some light onto the White House’s core policy goals for the upcoming year.  Topping the President’s list of topics is jobs, with the speech stressing not only the immediacy of the current recovery, but the need for America to “out-innovate,” “out-compete” and “out-educate” other nations in the coming years.

In the past two years President Obama has tried to add incentives to boost innovative education reform with programs like Race to the Top.   The most sweeping education legislation however, the Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA), or “No Child Left Behind” (NCLB), has not been re-authorized since 2005.  Last March the White House released a blueprint for renewing and improving the bill, including substantial provisions for cutting-edge STEM programs.

Major questions remain, however, about whether comprehensive education policy is the best way to address underperforming schools. Rep. John Kline (R-MN), the new chair of the House Education and Workforce Committee, said in a statement that he wants to “pull back federal involvement in the day-to-day operation of our classrooms.”

In a recent Washington Post Op-Ed, Obama’s Secretary of Education Arne Duncan called for bipartisan agreement on ESEA re-authorization, hoping to find common ground on more flexible standards and effective incentives.  Gene Sperling, the new director of the National Economic Council, echoed Duncan’s call at an Aspen Institute panel on technology in education last week to reiterate that education is “core economics” for the Obama team, and that competitiveness in education will be essential for creating “long-term jobs in the future.”

Posted by: John Coit

Sources: The Washington Post, Bloomberg News, Education Week, US Dept. of Education

Photo Credit: State of the Union: Jan. 27, 2010, courtesy of flickr user White House

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One Response to Competition, Innovation, and Education to be focus in Obama’s State of the Union

  1. Pingback: Entrepreneurship Education « America and the Global Economy

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