Obama State of the Union Address

Did you miss the president's big speech while putting your kids (or yourself) to bed? Here, our rundown of the four things every mother should know about Barack Obama's first State of the Union address.

Education
Proclaiming that "the best anti-poverty program around is a world-class education," Obama said he will renew the Elementary and Secondary Education Act (also known as No Child Left Behind). The bill has had its share of controversy—particularly over its reliance on rigorous testing—but it also provides funds for instructional materials, educational programs and parental involvement in failing primary and secondary schools. Obama said he will work with Congress to expand its reforms to all 50 states.

College Loan Assistance
The president asked for Senate support in passing a bill that would "finally end the unwarranted taxpayer subsidies that go to banks for student loans," instead using that money to increase Pell Grants and give families a $10,000 tax credit for four years of college. In addition, graduating students will be required to pay a maximum of 10 percent of their income on student loans, and all of their debt will be forgiven after 20 years—10 years if they've chosen a career in public service.

Childhood Obesity
The president announced that first lady Michelle Obama would be "creating a national movement to tackle the epidemic of childhood obesity and make kids healthier."

Troop Reductions
There's been a healthy debate over the president's plans to start reducing troop levels in Afghanistan as early as next year, but there will no doubt be plenty of mothers happy to hear that he's committed to start bringing young men and women home starting in July 2011.

Share your thoughts on Obama's State of the Union address in the comments below.

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