There’s nothing quite like the SOTU address to unify the country to a single source and then divide us based on our wants, needs, and reactions (except perhaps American Idol, which says a lot about us!).

Education was thankfully a major topic of interest in President Obama’s speech. Once again he encouraged the public to warrant the same congratulations for science fair winners as victorious sport teams, and he gave some much deserved praise to the nation’s educators with his statement, “if you want to make a difference in this nation.. become a teacher.”

Here are a few of the major reactions to the President’s mentions of education in his speech from the biggest names in Education on the web. Most of these writers are convinced, like us, that change still needs to come from the local levels:

Andrew Rotherham in his School of Thought column for thinks that:

“…just as in 2010, if you really want to follow the action on education reform this year, it’s better to look to the states. All the new governors (29), state education chiefs (18 new ones elected or appointed since November), and state legislators (nearly 1,600) mean things are more fluid in the states, where teacher tenure is becoming a major flashpoint. Florida and New Jersey are considering pretty much ending tenure altogether. And while these states may be ground zero for tenure battles, Idaho, Illinois, Indiana, Ohio and Pennsylvania are also considering significant changes.” (via Eduwonk)

Alyson Klein provides a great overview of all of Obama’s mentions of education at the EdWeek Politics K-12 blog:

“President Barack Obama used his State of the Union address Tuesday night to put education front-and-center on the national agenda, and on the agenda of the newly divided Congress. And he tied his education proposals, including the long-stalled reauthorization of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act, directly to the nation’s economic future.”

While the President talks about change, states worry about handling it. From

“…New Jersey and many other states still lag of having a sophisticated data system in place to monitor progress by children and schools. The system we have, New Jersey SMART, is frankly still quite primitive.”

We’re all on the edge of our seats here waiting for big reform to happen, set in place by the government, and as U.S. Sen. Lamar Alexander (R-Tennessee) says from When Presidents Focus on Education, States Focus on Implementation:
“I’m not saying it will be a piece of cake or it will be easy… But we have a good start.”

What did you think about the address? Are you hopeful or inspired?