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March 2, 2022, 8:16 a.m.

Activity: Discuss President Biden's State of the Union address

Summary

In good times or bad, American presidents come to Congress with a diagnosis that hardly differs over the decades. In their State of the Union speeches, they declare “the state of our union is strong” or words very much like it. Watch the video above that aired before the speech and frames what Biden was expected to discuss. Then watch the clips below and answer the discussion questions with each clip.

Five Facts

  • What is the State of the Union?
  • Who delivers the State of the Union?
  • When and Where does the State of the Union take place?
  • What are some of the topics Biden was expected to address according to this piece?
  • How does the State of the Union set the President's agenda for the year?

Focus Questions

What was the most important topic for the President to address at this moment? Why? What topic do you wish Biden had addressed more? Why? Media literacy: Why do you think the producers chose to interview someone who conducts political polls for this piece?

For More

Divide students into groups and have them choose one of the clips from the State of the Union address below to explain to the class. Ask: Do you agree with Biden's diagnosis or explanation of the problem? What does he propose to do about it? What else do you think might help solve the problem?  The first link below contains the full address, which is around an hour long. You can also choose some or all of the clips below to discuss. Full State of the Union address
President Biden addresses Russian invasion of Ukraine and the U.S. response
Discussion question: Do you think the U.S. response to Russia's invasion of Ukraine has been too limited or too aggressive? Why do you think so? Biden announces new COVID policies
Discussion question: How do you think the policy changes outlined here are most likely to impact your life and your community? Biden touts successful passage of infrastructure bill and repairs to roads and bridges
Discussion question: If you had been president this past year, what would have been the one piece of major legislation you would hope to pass? Biden got half the amount of what he wanted for his infrastructure bill and was not able to convince Republicans and even some Democrats to support his Build Back Better plan, which would have allowed for free child care and community college, among many other things. How would you convince Congress including some members of your own party to support your plan? Biden outlines plans for addressing inflation, increasing costs of goods and services
Discussion question: Do you think the plans outlined here are adequate for addressing the rising cost of goods and services? Biden discusses police reform but says we should "fund the police" rather than lower police funding
Discussion question: What problems do you think Biden is trying to address in this portion of the speech? Do you think his proposals would be helpful in addressing those problems? Why did he choose the wording "fund the police"? How might individuals and groups including Black Lives Matter and other anti-police brutality groups interpret Biden's choice of words?
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