Education and infrastructure were two of the main topics in President Obama’s State of the Union speech last night. Spending a majority of the beginning of his remarks on education Obama called for higher standards for students and teachers and for a much greater focus on math and science education given their applicability in the knowledge economy. With a new report highlighting the country’s very mediocre performance in science the President’s call would be wise to heed.
Infrastructure also received a lot of attention in the speech with Obama pointing out America’s lack of investment in infrastructure relative to Europe and Asia and calling for 80 percent of Americans to have access to high-speed rail by 2036.
Back in November we pointed out that these two exact areas – education and infrastructure – might prove to be subjects where the President and the new GOP majority in the House could find common cause. Indeed last night’s State of the Union which saw Congressmen and Senators break partisan tradition and cross the aisle to sit with members of the opposite party was an exercise in civility at least symbolically. However with some politicians proposing to gut spending on high-speed rail and transit projects as well as cutting funding for education that opportunity for common cause may be on thin ice.