News / USA

Obama Links Education Goals, Economic Recovery

Multimedia

President Barack Obama on Monday set new goals for improving the U.S. public education system, drawing a link between progress in strengthening the nation's public schools and the health of the U.S. economy.  

An appearance by the president on NBC television's Today Show spotlighted the administration's effort to recruit 10,000 new science, technology, engineering and math teachers during the next two years.

Since he was elected, the president has introduced major education reforms, including his "Race to the Top" initiative in which states compete to receive money from a $4 billion fund that is intended to encourage innovation and reform.

Mr. Obama described as "indefensible" what he called a status quo in which some 2,000 schools across the country are "drop out factories" - something he said that requires radical change.  He said that although most teachers want to do a good job, those who are underperforming should be fired.

"We have got to be able to identify teachers who are doing well.  Teachers who are not doing well - we have got to give them the support and the training to do well.  And ultimately, if some teachers are not doing a good job, they have got to go," he said.

Mr. Obama frequently has highlighted statistics showing U.S. students lagging far behind their counterparts in other nations in math and science.

On Monday, he called for strengthening teaching in these and other areas vital to preparing students to compete in a 21st century economy. "Part of the challenge, I think, for the entire country is to understand that how well we do economically.  Whether jobs are created here, high end jobs that support families and support the future of the American people, is going to depend on whether or not we can do something about these schools," the president said.

In a telephone conference with journalism students from several colleges, President Obama voiced hope that an improving U.S. economy will take some of the pressure off cash-strapped states that are struggling to support public education.

With majority Democrats in Congress facing a difficult political climate ahead of November midterm elections, Mr. Obama formally claimed a victory on Monday by signing legislation to provide small businesses with additional tax relief and loan opportunities.

But opposition Republicans, with their policy proposals called the "Pledge to America," and likely 2012 Republican presidential contenders such as former Massachusetts governor Mitt Romney, continue to assail his policies.

Romney spoke on Saturday at the convention of the New Hampshire Republican Party. "His policies, and his actions were the most anti-growth, anti-investment, anti-jobs policies we have seen in our time," he said.

The president has hit back, pointing to job growth from the approximately $800 billion economic stimulus program passed last year, support for small businesses, and the auto industry recovery.

But President Obama is facing low public approval ratings, with increasing questions about how much support Democrats can expect from Independents and young voters who were key to his victory in 2008.

Mr. Obama gave some indication of his concern about this as he concluded his telephone conference with college student journalists. "The energy that you were able to bring to our politics in 2008, that is needed not less now, it is needed more now," he said.

During the next two days, Mr. Obama will promote his administration's economic recovery and job growth efforts.  He is scheduled to travel to New Mexico, Iowa, Wisconsin and Virginia, before returning to the White House on Wednesday.

Related video by Mil Arcega:

You May Like

Could Nemtsov Threaten Putin in Death as in Life?

Dynamic and debonair opposition leader had supported liberal economic reforms, criticized Russian president's aggression in Ukraine More

Oil Smuggling Highlights Challenges in Shutting Down IS Finances

Pentagon spokesman says Islamic State 'certainly continues to get revenue from the oil industry black market' but that airstrikes have made a dent More

India Focuses on Infrastructure, Investment to Propel Economy

Government expects economy to grow at 8 to 8.5 percent in next fiscal year More

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
US Supreme Court Hears Hijab Discrimination Casei
X
Katherine Gypson
February 25, 2015 11:30 PM
The U.S. Supreme Court has heard opening arguments in a workplace religious discrimination case that examines whether a clothing store can refuse to hire a young woman for wearing the headscarf she says is a symbol of her Muslim faith. Katherine Gypson reports from the Supreme Court.
Video

Video US Supreme Court Hears Hijab Discrimination Case

The U.S. Supreme Court has heard opening arguments in a workplace religious discrimination case that examines whether a clothing store can refuse to hire a young woman for wearing the headscarf she says is a symbol of her Muslim faith. Katherine Gypson reports from the Supreme Court.
Video

Video Falling Gas Prices Hurt Nascent Illinois Hydraulic Fracturing Industry

Falling oil prices are helping consumers purchase cheaper petroleum at the pump. But that’s made hydraulic fracturing or “fracking” less economically viable for the companies in the United States invested in the process. VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports on one Midwestern town that was hoping to change its fortunes by cashing in on the next big U.S. oil boom.
Video

Video Fighting in Sudan's South Kordofan Fuels Mass Displacement

Heavy fighting in Sudan's South Kordofan state is causing hundreds of thousands to flee into uncertain conditions. Local aid organizations estimate as many as 400,000 civilians have been internally displaced since the conflict began more than three years ago, while another 250,000 have fled across the border to refugee camps in South Sudan. VOA's Adam Bailes reports.
Video

Video Lao Dam Project Runs Into Opposition

A Lao dam project on a section of the Mekong River is drawing opposition from local fishermen, international environmental groups and neighboring countries. VOA's Say Mony visited the region to investigate the concerns. Colin Lovett narrates.
Video

Video A Filmmaker Discovers Her Biracial Identity in "Little White Lie

Lacey Schwartz grew up in an upper middle-class Jewish family, in a town in upstate New York where almost everyone she knew was white. She assumed that she was, as well. Her recent documentary, Little White Lie, tells the story of how she uncovered the secret of her true racial background. VOA’s Carolyn Weaver has more on the film.
Video

Video Deep Under Antarctic Ice Sheet, Life!

With the end of summer in the Southern hemisphere, the Antarctic research season is over. Scientists from Northern Illinois University are back in their laboratory after a 3-month expedition on the Ross Ice Shelf, the world’s largest floating ice sheet. As VOA’s Rosanne Skirble reports, they hope to find clues to explain the dynamics of the rapidly melting ice and its impact on sea level rise.
Video

Video US-Cuba Normalization Talks Resume Friday

Negotiations aimed at normalizing diplomatic relations between the U.S. and Cuba resume Friday. On the table: lifting a half-century trade embargo and easing banking and travel restrictions. There's opposition in Congress, but some analysts say there may be sufficient political and economic incentives in both nations for a potential breakthrough this year. VOA's Mil Arcega reports.
Video

Video Pakistan's Deadline For SIM Registration Has Cellphone Users Scrambling

Pakistani cell phone users have until midnight Thursday to register their SIM cards, or their service will be cut off. While some privacy experts worry about government intrusion, many Pakistanis are just worried about keeping their phone lines open. VOA Deewa reporter Arshad Muhmand has more from Peshawar.
Video

Video Myanmar Warns Factory Workers to End Strikes

Outside Myanmar's main city Yangon, thousands of workers walked off their jobs earlier this month demanding a doubling of their wages, pay raises after a year and input from labor unions on industrial regulations. Since Friday, the standoff has grown more tense as police moved in to disrupt the sit-ins, resulting in clashes that injured people from both sides. VOA correspondent Steve Herman visited industrial zones which have become a focus of Myanmar's fledgling workers rights movement.
Video

Video Oscar Winners Do More Than Thank the Academy

The Academy Awards presentation is Hollywood’s night to reward the best movies from the previous year. It’s typically a lot of glitter, a lot of thank you’s, a lot of speeches. But many of this year’s speeches carried messages beyond the thank you's. VOA’s Carolyn Presutti takes a look.

All About America

Circumventing Censorship

An Internet Primer for Healthy Web Habits

As surveillance and censoring technologies advance, so, too, do new tools for your computer or mobile device that help protect your privacy and break through Internet censorship.
More