Although President Barack Obama did not lay out any new plans for education reform in his State of the Union address Tuesday, education leaders from the early childhood education arena, through the higher education community, said they were pleased with the sign of his renewed commitment to education issues.
Much like his 2013 address, Obama called on state and federal legislators to invest in early childhood education, as a way to build up the economy and the nation's academic standing. He also urged college leaders to continue to look for ways to push the high cost of college tuition down, and touted the recent college affordability summit he hosted at the White House.
Education advocates were also particularly pleased that Obama chose to kick off his speech with two references to education: a nod at the country's increasing high school graduation rates, and a teacher anecdote. "Today in America, a teacher spent extra time with a student who needed it, and did her part to lift America's graduation rate to its highest level in more than three decades," Obama said in his opening sentence.
Randi Weingarten, president of the American Federation of Teachers, said in a statement the fact Obama chose to use his first words acknowledging teachers "highlighted the importance of educators and our schools in helping our children achieve their dreams."