President Obama Weekly
Address: Congress Should Back Plan to Hire Teachers
August 20, 2012
With students starting to head back to school, President Obama used this
week’s address to discuss the critical role that education plays in
America’s future. Nothing is more important to a child’s education than
a great teacher. Unfortunately, tens of thousands of teachers will not
be going back to school this year, partially because of budget cuts at
the state and local level. That means more crowded classrooms, fewer
kindergarten and preschool programs, and shorter school years and weeks.
President Obama has proposed a jobs bill that would help states prevent
further layoffs and rehire teachers, but Congress refuses to pass it.
Instead, the budget that almost every Republican voted for would further
cut education in order to give tax breaks to millionaires and
billionaires. The White House has taken steps including investing in
science and math, giving states more flexibility on No Child Left
Behind, and increasing financial aid for millions of young people, but
in order to help America lead in the 21st century, our elected officials
in Congress must stand up for our nation’s young people to help ensure
that we have the strongest education system in the world.
Remarks of President Barack Obama The
The White House
August 18, 2012
Hi, everybody. This week, I spent some time traveling across Iowa
talking with folks about rebuilding an economy where if you work hard,
you and your family can get ahead.
And along the way, I stopped in at Cascade High School to thank the
teachers there for doing such a great job – and wish them luck as they
head back to the classroom for this school year.
There’s nothing more important to our country’s future than the
education we give our kids. And there’s no one more important to that
education than the person at the front of the classroom.
Teachers matter. Most work tirelessly, with modest pay, sometimes
digging into their own pocket for school supplies – just to make a
difference. They give everything for our kids – and in return, we should
invest in them.
But here’s the thing: this year, several thousand fewer educators will
be going back to school. Since 2009, we’ve lost more than 300,000
education jobs, in part, because of budget cuts at the state and local
Think about what that means for our country. At a time when the rest of
the world is racing to out-educate America; these cuts force our kids
into crowded classrooms, cancel programs for preschoolers and
kindergarteners, and shorten the school week and the school year.
That’s the opposite of what we should be doing as a country. States
should be making education a priority in their budgets, even in tough
fiscal times. And Congress should be willing to help out – because this
affects all of us.
That’s why part of the jobs bill that I sent to Congress last September
included support for states to prevent further layoffs and to rehire
teachers who’d lost their jobs. But here we are – a year later with tens
of thousands more educators laid off – and Congress still hasn’t done
anything about it.
In fact, the economic plan that almost every Republican in Congress
voted for would make the situation even worse. It would actually cut
funding for education – which means fewer kids in Head Start, fewer
teachers in our classrooms, and fewer college students with access to
financial aid – all to pay for a massive new tax cut for millionaires
That’s backwards. That’s wrong. That plan doesn’t invest in our future;
it undercuts our future.
If we want America to lead in the 21st century, nothing is more
important than giving everyone the best education possible – from the
day they start preschool to the day they start their career.
That’s why we launched a national competition to improve our schools.
And for less than one percent of what our nation spends on education
each year, we’ve encouraged almost every state to raise their standards
– the first time that’s happened in a generation.
why we’ve invested in math and science education, and given states more
flexibility on No Child Left Behind.
And that’s why we’ve reformed the student loan program to put students
before big banks, and increased financial aid for millions of young
people – because in America, higher education cannot be a luxury; it’s
an economic necessity every family should be able to afford.
This is a country where no matter what you look like or where you come
from, if you’re willing to study and work hard, you can go as far as
your talents will take you. You can make it if you try. I am only the
President of the United States today because of the chance my education
gave me. I want every child in America to have that chance. That’s what
I’m fighting for. And as long as I have the privilege of being your
President, that’s what I’m going to keep fighting for.