State of the Union 2011: The Education Arms Race

Obama called for a "Sputnik" moment in education reform—except instead of competing against Russia to get to space, we're competing against Asia.

Education reform was the star of President Obama's 2011 State of the Union address. He called for a "Sputnik" moment in education reform and innovation—except instead of competing against Russia to get to space, we're competing technologically and economically against Asia, particularly China and India. Essentially, the education "arms race" is on.

Obama called for Americans to step up to the education plate, saying that

"as many as a quarter of our students aren't even finishing high school, The quality of our math and science education lags behind many other nations. America has fallen to 9th in the proportion of young people with a college degree. And so the question is whether all of us — as citizens, and as parents — are willing to do what's necessary to give every child a chance to succeed."


Although we should unequivocally expect educational excellence for American children, the question lingers, why can't all nations be highly educated? We should know from our experience with modern terrorism that a more educated population worldwide is in our interest.

Teacher quality also took center stage in the address and the President again referred to Asia, noting the respect South Koreans give teachers. Obama said American teachers deserve the same, "We want to reward good teachers and stop making excuses for bad ones."

The Washington Post points out that the methods of South Korea's teachers aren't exactly producing the creativity and innovation we need if we're going to get to number one. They cite an Asian Times Online.

What the stats don’t tell is how drearily authoritarian classes often are. Flair and creativity are rarely rewarded. Instead, teachers drum into students a ton of stuff they must learn by rote so as to jump through hoops leading up to the all-important university entrance examination.


The President also noted that the Baby Boom generation is on the cusp of retirement, so we're going to need a whole slew of new teachers:

To every young person listening tonight who's contemplating their career choice: If you want to make a difference in the life of our nation; if you want to make a difference in the life of a child—become a teacher. Your country needs you.


Given that teachers are demonized in the media, and the salary isn't exactly the best, Obama might need to further incentivize recent grads to join the profession—how about student loan reduction?

One clue to the direction education reform needs to go came when the President highlighted an innovative public school in Denver that's completely teacher run. The Bruce Randolph School made a remarkable turnaround in student achievement, and could provide a model for how to empower teachers and set them up to successfully do their job.

If you have questions about the education themes in the President's speech, GOOD is sitting down tomorrow for a livestreamed State of the Union Education Roundtable with Secretary of Education Arne Duncan. We're taking your questions through 6 p.m. PST today. Details on how to submit are here.

via Gage Skidmore / Flickr

If you are totally ready to move on from Donald Trump, you're not alone. According to a report last April from the Wason Center National Survey of 2020 Voters, "President Trump will be the least popular president to run for reelection in the history of polling."

Yes, you read that right, "history of polling."

Keep Reading Show less
via Around the NFL / Twitter

After three years on the sidelines, Colin Kapernick will be working out for multiple NFL teams on Saturday, November 16 at the Atlanta Falcons facility.

The former 49er quarterback who inflamed the culture wars by peacefully protesting against social injustice during the national anthem made the announcement on Twitter Tuesday.

Kaepernick is scheduled for a 15-minute on-field workout and an interview that will be recorded and sent to all 32 teams. The Miami Dolphins, Dallas Cowboys, and Detroit Lions are expected to have representatives in attendance.

RELATED: Joe Namath Says Colin Kaepernick And Eric Reid Should Be Playing In The NFL

"We like our quarterback situation right now," Miami head coach, Brian Flores said. "We're going to do our due diligence."

NFL Insider Steve Wyche believes that the workout is the NFL's response to multiple teams inquiring about the 32-year-old quarterback. A league-wide workout would help to mitigate any potential political backlash that any one team may face for making an overture to the controversial figure.

Kapernick is an unrestricted free agent (UFA) so any team could have reached out to him. But it's believed that the interested teams are considering him for next season.

RELATED: Video of an Oakland train employee saving a man's life is so insane, it looks like CGI

Earlier this year, Kaepernick and Carolina Panthers safety Eric Reid reached a financial settlement with the league in a joint collusion complaint. The players alleged that the league conspired to keep them out after they began kneeling during the national anthem in 2016.

Before the 2019 season, Kaepernick posted a video of himself working out on twitter to show he was in great physical condition and ready to play.

Kaepnick took the 49ers to the Super Bowl in 2012 and the NFC Championship game in 2013.

He has the 23rd-highest career passer rating in NFL history, the second-best interception rate, and the ninth-most rushing yards per game of any quarterback ever. In 2016, his career to a sharp dive and he won only of 11 games as a starter.


In the category of "claims to fame nobody wants," the United States can now add "exporter of white supremacist ideology" to its repertoire. Super.

Russell Travers, acting director of the National Counterterrorism Center, made this claim in a briefing at The Washington Institute in Washington, D.C. "For almost two decades, the United States has pointed abroad at countries who are exporters of extreme Islamist ideology," Travers said. "We are now being seen as the exporter of white supremacist ideology. That's a reality with which we are going to have to deal."

Keep Reading Show less

Between Alexa, Siri, and Google, artificial intelligence is quickly changing us and the way we live. We no longer have to get up to turn on the lights or set the thermostat, we can find the fastest route to work with a click, and, most importantly, tag our friends in pictures. But interacting with the world isn't the only thing AI is making easier – now we can use it save the world, too.

Keep Reading Show less
Good News