Recap: State of the Union 2011

    President Barack Obama urged Congress members, no matter their party, to seek common ground so they can meet challenges facing the United States.







    President Barack Obama urged Congress members, no matter their party, to seek common ground so they can meet challenges facing the United States.
    After five minutes of applause (We timed it!), President Obama began his highly anticipated 2011 State of the Union Address. This was his first address since Republicans regained control of the House of Representatives. He re-emphasised his push for bipartisan politics by having Republicans and Democrats sit together instead of on opposite sides of the aisle as in the past.
    The first matter on everyone’s mind was the state of the economy, and the president stated that if the economy is going to improve Americans must look for ways to capitilize on the future. Specifically, he told Congress that the nation must do more to support technological advancements and clean energy to compete with the rest of the world.
    "That’s what Americans have done for over 200 years: reinvented ourselves," said the president. "We’re not just handing out money.  We’re issuing a challenge.  We’re telling America’s scientists and engineers that if they assemble teams of the best minds in their fields, and focus on the hardest problems in clean energy, we’ll fund the Apollo projects of our time."
    He continued, "We need to get behind this innovation. And to help pay for it, I’m asking Congress to eliminate the billions in taxpayer dollars we currently give to oil companies. I don’t know if you’ve noticed, but they’re doing just fine on their own. So instead of subsidizing yesterday’s energy, let’s invest in tomorrow’s."
    President Obama argued that by supporting innovation, the government will actually help create jobs, helping to decrease an American unemployment rate of nearly 10 percent. However, he also said that investing in the future is more than just backing new technologies and energies. He explained that improving education must also be a priority to keep the United States moving forward. well. After all, the children are our future.
    "Maintaining our leadership in research and technology is crucial to America’s success," said President Obama. "But if we want to win the future-–if we want innovation to produce jobs in America and not overseas-–then we also have to win the race to educate our kids."
    The president pointed out, though, that Congress can only do so much about the kids, and he urged parents to continue stressing the importance of education. "That responsibility begins not in our classrooms, but in our homes and communities.  It’s family that first instills the love of learning in a child," he said. "Only parents can make sure the TV is turned off and homework gets done."
    As extra motivation for schools, Obama announced the government’s new Race To the Top campaign, which aims to raise the bar on the level of performance that educators expect from students across the country. "To all 50 states, we said, ‘If you show us the most innovative plans to improve teacher quality and student achievement, we’ll show you the money,’" the president explained.
    Simply put, schools will get paid for good grades. The initiative is the first step in swapping out the outmoded No Child Left Behind for  "a law that’s more flexible and focused on what’s best for our kids."
    In case you missed the president’s address because you were watching "The Game" (We know there more than few of you!), you can see his speech in full below.



    – Sonya Eskridge




    Here’s more:
    President signs nutrition bill

    Tom DeLay gets three years
    Gabby Giffords opens her eyes

    GOP takes aim at health care reform
    Rahm Emanuel back on Chicago ballot


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