(Updated: See the portions of Obama’s speech related to education)

There are going to be three guests of the Obama’s at tonight’s State Of The Union address that have been invited specifically for their interest in education. I’m reprinting their descriptions from the White House press release in italics, along with additional background information I’ve found in non-italics (you might also be interested in The Best (& Most Intriguing) Resources For Learning About The State Of The Union Message):

Sara Ferguson, Teacher, Columbus Elementary, Parkside, Pennsylvania

Sara Ferguson teaches literacy and math at Columbus Elementary, and has worked for the Chester Upland School District for 20 years. She is a third generation educator in Chester Upland, and a proud product of that district. When the Chester Upland School District faced bankruptcy earlier this year in light of severe state budget cuts, Ms. Ferguson vowed to continue teaching even without being paid, saying “we are adults; we will make a way. The students don’t have any contingency plan. They need to be educated, so we intend to be on the job.”

Here are additional links to learn about what’s going on in Chester Upland:

President invites Pennsylvania teacher to attend State of the Union Address is from The NEA.

Chester Upland teachers to work without pay is from The Philadelphia Inquirer.

Will the Voices of Chester Upland Teachers Be Heard at the State of the Union? is from The Daily Kos.

Juan Jose Redín, Attorney, North Hollywood, California

Juan Jose Redín was born in Ixtapan de la Sal, Mexico before coming with his mother and younger sister to the United States at the age of 10. After enduring many challenges throughout his journey to achieve his dream of higher education. Juan benefited from California’s Assembly Bill 540 and was able to enroll, and excel, in his studies at UCLA. He received both his undergraduate (with honors) and law degrees from UCLA. Now a US citizen and a practicing attorney, Juan is as passionate as ever about ensuring educational access to all.

Assembly Bill 540 allows undocumented high school graduates in California (who have attended at least three years of school in the state) to pay in-state tuition to attend state universities.

Mahala Greer, Student, Denver, Colorado

Mahala Greer grew up in Paonia, a small town in rural Colorado. She is currently a student at the University of Colorado Denver majoring in Spanish, and has just been accepted into Teach for America as a Bilingual Education Corps Member. In May she will graduate with more than $35,000 in student loans. Last October, Ms. Greer introduced President Obama when he spoke to students at CU Denver about how his Administration is working to make college more affordable and reduce student loan debt.