Thursday, January 28, 2010

Acknowledging rurality in State of the Union address

President Obama got to rural Americans in about paragraph 4 of his State of the Union address, within the first few minutes of his speech. He did so with these remarks, referring to the current economic climate and suggesting particular concern for nonmetropolitan hardships:
But the devastation remains. One in 10 Americans still cannot find work. Many businesses have shuttered. Home values have declined. Small towns and rural communities have been hit especially hard. And for those who'd already known poverty, life has become that much harder.
And he came back to rurality in this expression of the span of humanity, in relation to educational opportunity:
Instead of funding the status quo, we only invest in reform--reform that raises student achievement, inspires students to excel in math and science, and turns around failing schools that steal the future of too many young Americans, from rural communities to inner city.
The next line is especially interesting because it acknowledges the problem of spatial inequality, the extent to which where one lives dictates opportunity and the quality of government services one receives--in this case, the quality of education.
In the 21st century, the best anti-poverty program around is a world-class education. And in this country, the success of our children cannot depend more on where they live than on their potential.
On the matter of spatial inequality, see an earlier post here.

Read the full text of the President's speech here.

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