Diann Woodard Reacts to the 2013 State of the Union

Following President Obama’s first State of the Union address of his second term, AFSA President Diann Woodard released the following statement:

Last night, the president laid out his vision for the future prosperity of our country. As school leaders, we applaud the president for calling on increased investments in education, with an emphasis on early education, as a key to that vision.

The president understands that the middle class and workers are the engine that move our nation forward. His support of workers’ rights, health care, and retirement security are key reasons he overwhelmingly won the election last November and why our nation’s future remains bright.

We also were pleased to hear the president’s remarks on sequestration, and for calling on Congress to take a balanced approach to deficit reduction. AFSA has been actively calling for this approach. Our nation’s deficit must be reduced in a balanced, fiscally responsible manner, and in a way that does not harm children, the elderly and our most vulnerable citizens.

We commend the president for his passion and commitment toward improving school safety. Immediately following the tragedy in Newtown, CT, AFSA sent a letter to President Obama, urging creation of a National Task Force on School Safety to provide information, best practices and procedures for school leaders to follow, as they would be opening their school doors to all children without hesitation. AFSA is pleased that in May of 2013, the Department of Education will provide schools with a model for how to develop and implement a comprehensive school safety plan that works best for them. AFSA adopted a resolution supporting the DREAM Act at our Triennial Convention and we support the president in his call for meaningful immigration reform. School leaders open their doors to all, including many of our nation’s dreamers. As a nation of immigrants, we owe these bright children and their families a pathway to citizenship that will allow them to reach their full potential as part of this nation they love.

The president also announced plans to reward high schools for partnering with colleges and employers, and for offering classes in science, technology, engineering, and math. While we agree that it is critical to offer students opportunities to gain the skills that will help them get jobs after graduating, we believe this opportunity should be offered equally to all students. We hope this challenge will be backed with the necessary resources, support, training and policies that will provide all children a chance to succeed.