President Obama on Saturday called on lawmakers to pass legislation to help cash-strapped state and local governments hire teachers and said Republican budget cuts would set back America’s education system.
In his weekly address, Obama noted the coming start of the school year in much of the country and warned that scaled-back education budgets had left fewer teachers on the job.
“This year, several thousand fewer educators will be going back to school,” said the president. “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.”
The administration unveiled a new report Saturday warning that 300,000 local education jobs have been lost since the end of the recession. The study says national student-teacher ratios increased from 2008 to 2010 by 4.6 percent.
Obama has called on Congress to authorize federal funding to help states retain public workers, including teachers, firefighters and police officers, a key element of his jobs agenda, but the measures have found resistance from House Republicans.