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

Analyst: Joint-Arab Military Force Poses Perilous Challenge

Although international forces are desperately needed to counter the threat of the Islamic State group, analysts say conflicting alliances could escalate fighting More

Asia’s Middle Class Changes Demand for Wheat Grain Exporters

Changes in tastes and diets are boon for wheat exporters such as Australia and the United States More

S. African Comedian Taking Over Popular TV Show

Mixed-race comedian Trevor Noah, who is loved for his edgy jibes about race and language, is taking the helm from Jon Stewart at The Daily Show in US 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.
Film Tells Story of Musicians in Mali Threatened by Jihadistsi
X
Greg Flakus
March 30, 2015 6:48 PM
At this year's annual South by Southwest film and music festival in Austin, Texas, some musicians from Mali were on hand to promote a film about how their lives were upturned by jihadists who destroyed ancient treasures in the city of Timbuktu and prohibited anyone from playing music under threat of death. As VOA’s Greg Flakus reports from Austin, some are afraid to return to their hometowns even though the jihadists are no longer in control there.
Video

Video Film Tells Story of Musicians in Mali Threatened by Jihadists

At this year's annual South by Southwest film and music festival in Austin, Texas, some musicians from Mali were on hand to promote a film about how their lives were upturned by jihadists who destroyed ancient treasures in the city of Timbuktu and prohibited anyone from playing music under threat of death. As VOA’s Greg Flakus reports from Austin, some are afraid to return to their hometowns even though the jihadists are no longer in control there.
Video

Video With Coalition Airstrikes, Iraq Entering 'Last Page' of IS Battle

American warplanes joined Iraq's battle against the so-called 'Islamic State' in northern Iraq late Wednesday, as Iraqi ground troops launched a massive assault on Tikrit. Analysts say the offensive could take the coalition a step further towards Mosul, the largest city held by Islamic State forces. Others say it could also deepen already-dangerous sectarian tensions in the region. VOA's Heather Murdock has more from Cairo.
Video

Video Philippines Wants Tourists Spending Money at New Casinos

Tourism is a multi-billion dollar industry in the Philippines. Close to five million foreign visitors traveled there last year, perhaps lured by the country’s tropical beaches. But Jason Strother reports from Manila that the country hopes to entice more travelers to stay indoors and spend money inside new casinos.
Video

Video Civilian Casualties Push Men to Join Rebels in Ukraine

The continued fighting in eastern Ukraine and the shelling of civilian neighborhoods seem to be pushing more men to join the separatist fighters. Many of the new recruits are residents of Ukraine made bitter by new grievances, as well as old. VOA's Patrick Wells reports.
Video

Video Islamic State Prisoners Talk of Curiosity, God, Regret

Islamic State fighter, a prisoner of Kurdish YPG forces, asked his family asking for forgiveness: "I destroyed myself and I destroyed them along with me." The Syrian youth was one of two detainees who spoke to VOA’s Kurdish Service about the path they chose; their names have been changed and identifying details obscured. VOA's Zana Omer reports.
Video

Video Germanwings Findings Raise Issue of Psychological Testing for Pilots

More is being discovered about the co-pilot in the crash of Germanwings Flight 9525 in the French Alps. Investigators say he was hiding a medical condition, raising questions about the mental qualifications of pilots. VOA's Carolyn Presutti reports.
Video

Video Hi-tech Motorbike Helmet's Goal: Improve Road Safety

In cities with heavily congested traffic, people can get around much faster on a motorcycle than in a car. But a rider who is not sure of his route may have to stop to look at the map or consult a GPS. A Russian start-up company is working to make navigation easier for motorcyclists. Designers at Moscow-based LiveMap are developing a smart helmet with a built-in navigation system, head-mounted display and voice recognition. Zlatica Hoke has more.
Video

Video DOJ: Illinois National Guard Soldier Tried to Join ISIS

U.S. federal law enforcement agents arrested two suburban Chicago men accused of trying to join ISIS overseas, while also plotting attacks in the United States. As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports from the Midwest state of Illinois, one of those arrested is a soldier of the Illinois National Guard.
Video

Video New Wheelchair Is Easier to Use, Increases Mobility

Traditional push-rim wheelchairs create a lot of stress for arm, shoulder and neck muscles and joints. A redesigned chair, based on readily available bicycle technology, radically increases mobility while reducing the physical effort. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Liberia's Almost Last Ebola Patient Grateful but Still Grieving

Beatrice Yardolo was to make history as Liberia’s last Ebola patient. Liberians recently started counting down 42 days, the period that has to go by without a single new infection until the World Health Organization can declare a country Ebola-free. That countdown stopped on March 20 when there was another new case of Ebola, making Yardolo’s story a reminder that Ebola is far from over. Benno Muchler reports from Monrovia.
Video

Video Cambodian Land Grabs Threaten Traditional Communities

Indigenous communities in Cambodia's Ratanakiri province say the government’s economic land concession policy is taking away their land and traditional way of life, making many fear that their identity will soon be lost. Local authorities, though, have denied this is the case. VOA's Say Mony went to investigate and filed this report, narrated by Colin Lovett.
Video

Video Space Program Status Disappoints 'Last Man on the Moon'

One of the films that drew big crowds last week at the annual South by Southwest festival in Austin, Texas, tells the story of the last human being to stand on the moon, U.S. astronaut Eugene Cernan. It has been 42 years since Cernan returned from the moon and he laments that no one else has gone there since. VOA’s Greg Flakus reports.

VOA Blogs

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