It's a good thing Obama alternates between red and blue ties from year to year. Otherwise it would be almost impossible to distinguish one SOTU from another:
He always presents a laundry list of destructive government programs we have no money to pay for and that have little or no chance of coming to fruition; they're designed for the campaign trail. This year was no different. But new this time, I think, is a typically statist scheme for, er, improving public education:
We also know that when students aren’t allowed to walk away from their education, more of them walk the stage to get their diploma. So tonight, I call on every State to require that all students stay in high school until they graduate or turn eighteen.Problem solved! But isn't there an easier way? Why not skip the compulsory attendance, which we all know isn't the answer and would most likely be counter-productive, and simply issue an edict declaring all 18 year-olds officially "educated"?
James Joyner on Obama's bright idea:
Or, as I summarized it, “A law requiring belligerent, stupid 17-year-olds to stay in school and ruin it for everybody.” My guess is that the policy, if enacted, would have little impact on educating the segment of the population that would otherwise drop out. And I fear it will both lead to real distraction from the students motivated to be there and lead to yet more lowering of standards to ensure people “graduate.”The desire to somehow force (through parental fines, perhaps?) unwilling teens to stay in school so that more of them will get their hands stamped is perfectly consistent with the statist push to lengthen the school day and the school year and to make state-run preschool the norm for all children. Now they're just going after the other end.
I've seen enough illiterate and near-illiterate 18 year-olds to know that thirteen years of school attendance doesn't guarantee an educated person in the end. If only it were that simple. Kids can't be forced to learn. But that's too nuanced a concept for the statist mind, which is always inclined to use force to achieve its goals.
Andrew Cline: Obama and American Greatness
We have gone from “the sacred flame of liberty” to “we get each other’s backs.” It gives new meaning to the epithet, “President Downgrade.”Jonah Goldberg: Uh . . .
Here's the transcript of Mitch Daniels' Republican response (video here), which is getting rave reviews from conservative pundits. For the record, Daniels does reiterate his infamous "truce" on social issues with this: "Any other disagreements we have can wait."
From Bruce McQuain of The Conservatory, an excellent breakdown of Obama's energy claims, "a legion of contradictions, shaded truth and outright fiction."
Back to the drop-out issue. David Freddoso wondered why Obama would push a federal truancy law and found an answer:
More importantly, why did this come up in a State of the Union speech? As with many political proposals, Ockham's razor applies here. A crucial Obama political ally has something to gain from it. Ira Stoll notes:21. Unreal.
Wikipedia, in an entry on "raising of school leaving age (often shortened to ROSLA)" reports that 15 states and the District of Columbia have already raised their dropout age to 18. And it has the kicker that helps explain what may be a factor motivating Mr. Obama on this one: "The National Education Association, the main teachers' union in the United States, advocates requiring students to earn a high school diploma or stay in school until age 21."
I read that sentence in Wikipedia and thought to myself, "oh, that explains it." A Bloomberg article has details, including the news that the teachers themselves estimate that the compulsory education until 21 plan would cost an additional $1 billion a year, much of which would naturally be spent on unionized teachers paying dues to unions that reliably support Democratic candidates.
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