President Barack Obama recently spoke in support of the American Jobs Act, his administration’s plan that claims to save or create 400,000 jobs in the education sector. The plan has been buoyed by Teacher Jobs at Risk, a report outlining how the administration plans to use the AJA to address concerns over teacher jobs.
From Eastfield College in Mesquite, Texas:
THE PRESIDENT: Hello, Dallas! Thank you so much. Thank you, everybody. Please have a seat, have a seat. (Applause.) Thank you.
It’s good to be back in Texas. (Applause.) It is good to be back in Texas. I am thrilled to have the opportunity to be with all of you.
I want to thank a couple of people. First of all, the mayor of Mesquite, John Monaco is here. (Applause.) And the mayor of Dallas, Mike Rawlings is in the house. (Applause.) And I want to thank the former mayor of Dallas, who I stole from you to be one of the best trade representatives this country has ever had — my dear friend Ron Kirk is in the house. (Applause.)
I also want to thank — I want to thank the folks over at the Children’s Lab School, who gave me a tour, and I want to especially thank Kim Russell for sharing her story. Thank you, Kim. (Applause.)
Now, teachers like Kim are why I came here today. Teachers like Kim and her former students. …
Now, you just heard Kim’s story. There are teachers and educators like Kim all over the country. I met a first-grade teacher from Minnesota at the White House who was laid off after having been named the Teacher of the Year in her school district. Her peers, students, determined she was the best teacher in her school district — she got laid off. There’s a teacher over in Grand Prairie, Texas, who actually chose to resign in order to protect the job of a single mom who also taught at the school. Think about that. Here in Dallas, all across the state of Texas, you’ve seen too many teachers lose their jobs because of budget cuts. And thousands more could be at risk in the coming year.
Now, understand, this doesn’t just hurt these teachers. It doesn’t just hurt them and their families. It hurts our children. It undermines our future as a nation. If you’ve got Kim, an AP teacher, not in the classroom, those kids aren’t going to have the same opportunities. And I want everybody to understand that what is at stake is nothing less than our ability to compete in this 21st century economy.
I told the story — a while back I was visiting South Korea and had lunch with the President there. And I asked the President, I said, what’s your biggest challenge right now? He said, well, my biggest challenge is our parents are way too demanding. He said, they want their kid to learn English when they’re in first grade. So in addition to all the science and all the math classes, I’m now having to ship in teachers from outside the country just to teach our kids English, starting in elementary school. This is what the President of South Korea said.
They can’t hire teachers fast enough. They call them “nation builders” — that’s what they call teachers in Korea, “nation builders,” because they know that educating their children is the best way to make sure their economy is growing, make sure that good jobs are locating there, making sure they’ve got the scientists and the engineers and the technicians who can build things and ship them all around the world. That’s what he understands. And the whole country supports him. Here in America, we’re laying off teachers in droves. It makes no sense. It has to stop. It has to stop. (Applause.)
Now, this bill will prevent up to 280,000 teachers from losing their jobs. (Applause.) This bill will support almost 40,000 jobs right here in the great state of Texas. (Applause.) So here’s what I need you to do: Tell Congress to pass this bill and put teachers back in the classroom where they belong. (Applause.)