Full-Text Political Transcripts May 2, 2018: Remarks by President Donald Trump at the National Teacher of the Year Reception

POLITICAL TRANSCRIPTS

TRUMP PRESIDENCY & 115TH CONGRESS:

Remarks by President Trump at the National Teacher of the Year Reception

Source: WH, 5-2-18

East Room

4:38 P.M. EDT

THE PRESIDENT:  What beautiful singing I just heard from the glee club.  Thank you very much.  That was so beautiful.  Thank you.  (Applause.)  Good afternoon.  I’m thrilled to be here with so many friends and colleagues and distinguished educators for our annual National Teacher of the Year celebration.

I’d like to thank Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos for joining us, along with Secretary of Labor Alex Acosta.  Thank you very much, Betsy and Alex.  Thank you.  (Applause.)

And a very special thanks, again, to the Glee Club of the Walter B. Patterson Elementary School.  Brilliant talent, and great voices.  Big future.  Big future.  (Applause.)

Finally, congratulations to all of the Teachers of the Year representing their respective states, territories, and the District of Columbia.  Very, very special people.  Very important.

We’re joined by three amazing finalists for National Teacher of the Year: Amy Anderson, Jonathan Juravich, and Kara Ball.  Where’s Kara Ball?  Where is Kara?  Please stand up.  Jonathan, stand up.  All three, please stand up.  (Applause.)  That’s a great job.  Thank you, Kara.  Thank you.  Thank you, Jonathan.  Beautiful.  Thank you.  (Applause.)  I just met — we took pictures backstage, and it was my great honor.  It’s a tremendous achievement.

And it’s also my honor to host all of you — your families, your amazing friends — all right here at the White House.  A very, very special place.  We all agree.  You were saying before just how special it was, and it’s special.  Every time I walk into it or go to sleep upstairs — (laughter) — I say, “This is a very, very great place.”

Each of you has dedicated your lives to our nation’s single most important resource: our children.  Every President since Harry Truman has honored the National Teacher of the Year, and I’m proud to continue this tradition with this year’s recipient: Mandy Manning, of the state of Washington.  Great state.  Thank you.  Fantastic, Mandy.  (Applause.)  Outstanding job by Mandy — by everybody.  But outstanding job by Mandy.  Thank you.

Having begun her teaching career in the Peace Corps almost two decades ago, I know that Mandy will be pleased to see Dr. Jody Olsen, Director of the Peace Corps, joining us in her honor.  Thank you very much, Doctor.  Appreciate it.  Thank you.  Thank you.  (Applause.)

Mandy took her passion for education from the Peace Corps to Joel E. Ferris High School in Spokane, Washington, where she has been teaching English and math for the past six years.

Her incredible devotion has earned her the adoration — total adoration, actually — and respect of students and colleagues throughout her school district, community, and the entire state.

Teachers like Mandy play a vital role in the well-being of our children, the strength of our communities, and the success of our nation.

The job of a teacher is not only to instruct the next generation of workers, but the next generation of citizens to teach our children to care for others, to think for themselves, to love their country, to be proud of our history, and to be true pillars of their families and their communities.  Such an important job.  There is no more important job.

We have teachers to thank for identifying and nurturing the boundless potential of America’s youth.  Sometimes, all it takes to begin the next great American success story is a teacher who really, really cares.

The legacy of a good teacher extends through many lifetimes.  As the great author Henry Adams once said, “A teacher affects eternity.”  So true.

To Mandy and all of the amazing educators here today: Your tireless dedication doesn’t just inspire your students, it inspires all of us.  And I can tell you, it very much inspires me.  We honor you and every citizen called to the noble vocation of teaching.

Now, it is my privilege to present Mandy with the National Teacher of the Year Award.  This is a truly special award.  And, Mandy, congratulations.  (Applause.)

(The award is presented.)  (Applause.)

THE PRESIDENT:  Well, I just want to thank everybody again for being here.  I want to really wish you the best, for Mandy and for all of this incredible talent.  And that’s what it is.  This is talent.

I just want to say God bless you.  And God bless America.  Congratulations.  Thank you all very much.  Thank you.  Thank you.  (Applause.)

END

4:44 P.M. EDT

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Full Text Obama Presidency July 7, 2014: President Barack Obama’s Remarks before Lunch with Teachers Introduces “Excellent Educators for All” for Better Teachers in Poor Schools

POLITICAL TRANSCRIPTS

OBAMA PRESIDENCY & THE 113TH CONGRESS:

Remarks by the President before Lunch with Teachers

Source: WH, 7-7-14

Blue Room

12:10 P.M. EDT

THE PRESIDENT:  Well, good afternoon, everybody.  I am here with some outstanding teachers as well as Secretary Arne Duncan.  And the reason we’re here is with the school year now over, it is a great time for us to focus on what we need to do to make sure that next year and the year after that and the year after continues to improve for students all across this country.

The one ingredient that we know makes an enormous difference is a great teacher, and we have four of the best teachers in the country here.  But what we also know is that there are outstanding teachers all across the country, and Arne, myself, I suspect many of you had wonderful teachers that made all the difference in your lives and allowed you to be excited about learning and set you on a path for an extraordinary career.

Unfortunately, there are a lot of kids around the country who are not getting the kind of teaching that they need — not because there aren’t a whole lot of great potential teachers out there, but because we’re not doing enough to put a lot of our teachers in a position to succeed.  They may not be getting the training they need, they may not be getting the professional development and support that they need in the classroom.  And part of our goal since we came into office, since Arne became Secretary of Education is how do we continue to improve how teachers can get better each and every year.

Of particular concern is the fact that typically the least experienced teachers, the ones with the least support, often end up in the poorest schools.  So we have a problem in which the kids who need the most skilled teachers are the least likely to get them.  And the most talented and skilled teachers oftentimes are teaching the kids who are already the best prepared and have the most resources outside of the school in order to succeed.

So what we’re trying to do today — and Arne is going to have more to say about this this afternoon because we’re hosting a bunch of other teachers who are here in town — is to highlight what we’re calling “Excellent Educators for All.”  It’s going to be a program in which we ask states to take a look at where they’re distributing great teachers, what are they doing in order to train and promote and place teachers in some of the toughest environments for children.  And what we’re also going to be doing is providing technical assistance, highlighting best practices, all with the intention of making sure that wherever a child is, anywhere in the country, they’ve got that opportunity to have somebody in front of the classroom or beside them guiding them, mentoring them, helping them learn.

And when I think about my own experience, the only reason I’m here in the White House is because I had some extraordinary teachers as well as a pretty extraordinary mom and grandparents.  I think everybody sitting around this table probably feels the same way — I suspect that’s part of what inspired some of these people to become teachers.  We want to make sure every child has that access to excellent teachers and we’re very confident that if we can lift up what works, that there are going to be a lot of states that want to adapt to it.

So, unfortunately right now, they don’t necessarily have the information and, as I said, if we do nothing, if we don’t highlight the problem, then inevitably the kids who probably need less help get the most, and the kids who need the most help are getting the least.  That’s something that we’re going to need to reverse not just because it’s good for these kids — we know that if they’ve got a great teacher, they’re more likely to graduate, they’re more likely to go to college, they’re more likely to succeed in their career — it’s also necessary for our economy, because we’ve got too many kids who are trapped in situations in which they’re not able to realize their full potential.

So I want to thank all these folks for being here, and I’m really looking forward to listening to them to find out what they think can be most helpful in promoting excellence in teaching.

Thank you, everybody.

END
12:16 P.M. EDT

Full Text Campaign Buzz September 25, 2012: Mitt Romney’s Speech at Education Nation — We Must Have The Best Teachers

CAMPAIGN 2012

CAMPAIGN BUZZ 2012

THE HEADLINES….

Mitt Romney: We Must Have The Best Teachers

Source: Mitt Romney Press, 9-25-12

“Education is about teachers, great leadership and parents. And the union has a different objective. I understand, it’s fine for them to promote it. It’s not fine for us just to go along with it.”– Mitt Romney

Education Nation
New York, NY
September 25, 2012

Click Here To Watch Mitt Romney

MITT ROMNEY: “Teaching is a profession. I understand the interest of the teachers union, and the teachers union has every right to represent their members in the way they think is best for their members. But we have every right to in fact say, no, this is what we want to do which is in the best interests of our children. And I believe in the best interests of our children is to recognize that teaching is a profession, like your profession, like my profession, like lawyers like doctors. And the very best are more highly compensated and rewarded and measured. We don’t just presume that because we’ve been here for a certain number of years we should get more and more pay every year. Instead, we get measured. And if teachers say, well, there’s no good measurement system, we say, well, let’s look for one. Let’s see what does work. Let’s see if we can agree on some kinds of measures and learn from those things. But I want the best teachers to be highly compensated. I want starting teachers, particularly those that have extraordinary records who have a track record in school of excellence and learning, I want them to be well compensated, to be drawn into the profession. Education is about teachers, great leadership and parents. And the union has a different objective. I understand, it’s fine for them to promote it. It’s not fine for us just to go along with it.”

Political Headlines July 18, 2012: President Barack Obama Unveils Corps to Recognize Top Math, Science Teachers

CAMPAIGN 2012

CAMPAIGN BUZZ 2012

THE HEADLINES….

Obama Unveils Corps to Recognize Top Math, Science Teachers

JEWEL SAMAD/AFP/GettyImages

President Obama on Wednesday is announcing a plan to create a “Master Teacher Corps” to recognize outstanding math and science teachers and incentivize educators to enter the field.

“If America is going to compete for the jobs and industries of tomorrow, we need to make sure our children are getting the best education possible.  Teachers matter, and great teachers deserve our support,” Obama said in a written statement….READ MORE

Full Text Obama Presidency June 9, 2012: President Barack Obama’s Weekly Address Urges Congress to Pass Jobs Bill to Keep Teachers on the Job

POLITICAL SPEECHES & DOCUMENTS

OBAMA PRESIDENCY & THE 112TH CONGRESS:

Obama’s Weekly Address: Keeping Teachers on the Job

Source: ABC News Radio, 6-9-12

President Obama is urging lawmakers to help financially strapped states put teachers back to work, arguing that “when states struggle, it’s up to Congress to step in and help out.”
 
“Nationwide, over the past three years, school districts have lost over 250,000 educators.  Think about what that means for our country,” Obama asks in his weekly address. “When there are fewer teachers in our schools, class sizes start climbing up.  Our students start falling behind.  And our economy takes a hit.”
 
When it comes to growing the economy, “teachers matter,” Obama says. “One study found that a good teacher can increase the lifetime income of a classroom by over $250,000.  A great teacher can change the course of a child’s life.  So the last thing our country needs is to have fewer teachers in our schools.”…
 
Just as he did at his Friday press conference, Obama calls on lawmakers to act on his jobs bill to help states prevent more layoffs and rehire more teachers….READ MORE

POLITICAL QUOTES & SPEECHES

President Obama urges Congress to take action now to put our teachers back to work in classrooms, because the best predictor of individual and American success in this economy is a good education.

President Barack Obama tapes the Weekly Address

President Barack Obama tapes the Weekly Address., White House Photo, Chuck Kennedy, 6/8/12

Weekly Address: Congress Must Act to Keep Our Teachers on the Job

Source: WH, 6-9-12

President Obama urges Congress to take action now to put our teachers back to work in classrooms, because the best predictor of individual and American success in this economy is a good education.

Transcript | Download mp4 | Download mp3

WEEKLY ADDRESS: Congress Must Act to Keep our Teachers on the Job

In this week’s address, President Obama urged Congress to take action now to put our teachers back to work in classrooms, because the best predictor of individual and American success in this economy is a good education. In 2009 and 2010, we helped keep hundreds of thousands of teachers on the job, but we must do more, which is why the President sent Congress his jobs bill in September that helps states prevent more layoffs and rehire more teachers.  It’s time for our elected leaders to come together and take action on the President’s bill to help our students and economy, and put our teachers back to work.

The audio of the address and video of the address will be available online at www.whitehouse.gov at 6:00 a.m. ET, Saturday, June 9, 2012.

Remarks of President Barack Obama
Weekly Address
The White House
June 9, 2012

This week, I spent some time talking with college students about how we can make higher education more affordable.  And one of the things I told them was how proud I was that they were making that investment in themselves – because in today’s economy, the best predictor of success is a good education.

That’s not just true for our individual success; it’s also true for America’s success.  New jobs and new businesses will take root wherever they can find the most highly-educated, highly-skilled workers.  And I want those workers to be American workers.  I want those good-paying, middle-class jobs to take root right here.

So it should concern everyone that right now – all across America – tens of thousands of teachers are getting laid off.  In Pennsylvania alone, there are 9,000 fewer educators in our schools today than just a year ago.  In Ohio, the number is close to 7,000.  And nationwide, over the past three years, school districts have lost over 250,000 educators.  Think about what that means for our country.  When there are fewer teachers in our schools, class sizes start climbing up.  Our students start falling behind.  And our economy takes a hit.

The point is: teachers matter.  One study found that a good teacher can increase the lifetime income of a classroom by over $250,000.  A great teacher can change the course of a child’s life.  So the last thing our country needs is to have fewer teachers in our schools.

Now, I know states are still going through some tough times.  I realize that every Governor is dealing with limited resources and many face stark choices when it comes to their budgets.

But that doesn’t mean we should just stand by and do nothing.  When states struggle, it’s up to Congress to step in and help out.  In 2009 and in 2010, we provided aid to states to help keep hundreds of thousands of teachers in the classroom.  But we need to do more.  That’s why a critical part of the jobs bill that I sent to Congress back in September was to help states prevent even more layoffs and rehire even more teachers who had lost their jobs.

But months later, we’re still waiting on Congress to act.

When it comes to this recovery, we can’t fully control everything that happens in other parts of the world.  But there are plenty of things we can control.  There are plenty of steps we can take, right now, to strengthen our economy.  Putting teachers back in our kids’ classrooms is one of those steps.  And there’s no excuse for inaction.  You work hard.  Your leaders should, too.  Especially at this make-or-break moment for the middle class.

I know this is an election year.  But some things are bigger than an election.  Some things are bigger than politics.  So I hope you’ll join me in telling Congress to do the right thing; to get to work and to help get our teachers back in the classroom.  We can’t afford to wait any longer.

Thanks and have a great weekend.

White House Recap October 1-7, 2011: The Obama Presidency’s Weekly Recap — President Obama Gives a News Conference Urging Congressional Passage of the American Jobs Acts

WHITE HOUSE RECAP

WHITE HOUSE RECAP: OCTOBER 1-7, 2011

Weekly Wrap Up: Keeping Teachers in the Classroom

Source: WH, 10-7-11

This week, the President continued to call on Congress to pass the American Jobs Act, welcomed a new Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, hosted a Cabinet meeting, traveled to Texas, and convened a televised news conference.

West Wing Week
Equality for All Americans  President Obama spoke at the 15th Annual Human Rights Campaign National Dinner at the Washington Convention Center in Washington, D.C., stressing his continuing commitment to the cause of equality for all Americans. He also talked about the most recent progress made for human rights, the repeal of Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell.

Putting America Back to Work President Obama held a press conference in the East Room to discuss the American Jobs Act, which would put thousands of teachers back to work, rebuild our nation’s old and broken infrastructure and provide tax cuts that will benefit hard-working Americans. He also traveled to Texas to meet with students and teachers at Eastfield College in Mesquite, where he explained how the Jobs Act will prevent up to 280,000 teachers from losing their jobs. The President met with the members of his cabinet to emphasize the importance of  all agencies doing everything possible to help pass the American Jobs Act and put thousands of people back to work.

Fall Harvest Students from two local elementary schools joined First Lady Michelle Obama for the 3rd Annual Fall Harvest of the White House kitchen garden. Mrs. Obama designed the garden as a way to connect children with the food they eat — an essential component to her Let’s Move! initiative. The students joined Mrs. Obama for grilled garden pizzas made from the produce they picked.

Girl Power The president hosted the three winners of the first Google Global Science Fair. The impressive young women—all American high school students — made remarkable scientific discoveries and beat out over 10,000 students from 91 countries.

Fun on the Field It was a week of celebrating athletic achievements as several major sports figures visited the White House, including the U.S. Women’s National Soccer team, who participated in a Let’s Move soccer clinic, the Texas A&M  women’s basketball team, who won  the 2011 NCAA championship and the 1985 Chicago Bears, who were recognized 25 years after winning the Super Bowl.

Pretty in Pink In honor of National Breast Cancer Awareness Month, the White House illuminated the exterior of the White House in a glowing pink. Actress Jennifer Aniston, who recently directed a new Lifetime Original movie exploring a family affected by breast cancer, joined Dr. Jill Biden, Secretary Kathleen Sebelius and a group of breast cancer survivors to discuss lessons learned from those who have been treated for breast cancer.

Full Text October 4, 2011: President Barack Obama’s Speech on the American Jobs Act Impact on Teachers in Mesquite, Texas

POLITICAL SPEECHES & DOCUMENTS

OBAMA PRESIDENCY & THE 112TH CONGRESS:

President Obama: American Jobs Act Will Prevent Up to 280,000 Teachers from Losing their Jobs

Source: WH, 10-4-11
President Barack Obama at the Lab School in Mesquite, Texas

President Barack Obama tours the Lab School at Eastfield College in Mesquite, Texas, Oct. 4, 2011. (Official White House Photo by Pete Souza)

The White House today released a report that outlines the devastating impact the recession has had on schools and students across the country. Teacher Jobs at Risk highlights the significant cuts in education spending that have resulted from state budget shortfalls since 2008, including the loss of nearly 300,000 teaching jobs across the country (see chart below).

And in the coming school year, without additional support, many school districts will have to make another round of difficult decisions. As a result of state and local funding cuts, as many as 280,000 teacher jobs could be at risk. Unless they receive federal assistance, many school districts will be forced to reduce the number of teachers in their classrooms, or turn to other measures such as shortening the school year or cutting spending on schoolbooks and supplies.

President Obama, speaking today in Texas, compared the situation here with South Korea, where their President 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.”

The President was at Eastfield Community College, in Mesquite, Texas where he toured a pre-school before talking about the impact the American Jobs Act will have on schools, and on teachers, across the country. He told the crowd there that the stakes for addressing this situation are high, with “nothing less than our ability to compete in this 21st century economy” at risk.

This is why one of the central components of the American Jobs Act, which the President introduced last month at a Joint Session of Congress, is funding to avoid and reverse teacher layoffs now, and to provide support for the re-hiring and hiring of educators.

Specifically, the American Jobs Act will invest $30 billion to support state and local efforts to retain, rehire, and hire early childhood, elementary, and secondary educators. If enacted, these teacher stabilization funds would help prevent layoffs and support the hiring or re-hiring of nearly 400,000 educators, includ¬ing teachers, guidance counselors, classroom assistants, afterschool personnel, tutors, and literacy and math coaches. These funds will ensure that schools are able to keep teachers in the classroom, preserve or extend the regular school day and school year, and maintain important afterschool activities.

The impact of this funding is clear:

  • In the states with the largest numbers of students, the American Jobs Act will support tens of thousands of educator jobs—California (37,300), Florida (25,900), Illinois (14,500), New York (18,000) and Texas (39,500).
  • Funding is targeted to the school districts most in need of support across the country, especially those with a high share of students living in poverty. The Department of Education projects that New York City will receive around $950 million, Los Angeles Unified School District will receive around $570 million, Dade County School District will receive around $250 million, and Houston and Dallas Independent School Districts will each receive more than $100 million.
  • Even in states with smaller student enrollments, the American Jobs Act will have a significant impact—supporting over a thousand educator jobs in states like Montana (1,400), Arkansas (4,100), Nevada (3,600), and Iowa (4,100). Medium-size school districts like those in Wake County, North Carolina and Nashville, Tennessee will receive funding ranging from $50 million to $75 million.

As the President said today in Texas, Americans cannot afford to wait for things to get better, it is time to act:

We are not people who sit back in tough times. We step up in tough times. We make things happen in tough times. We’ve been through tougher times before, and we got through them. We’re going to get through these to a brighter day, but we’re going to have to act. God helps those who help themselves. We need to help ourselves right now.

Let’s get together. Let’s get to work. Let’s get busy. Let’s pass this bill. Let’s make sure that we are shaping a destiny for our children that we are proud of, and let’s remind the entire world why the United States of America is the greatest nation on the planet.

Year-Over-Year Change, Local Government Employment in Educational Services

POLITICAL QUOTES & SPEECHES

President Obama on the American Jobs Act
White House Photo, Pete Souza, 10/4/11

Remarks by the President on the American Jobs Act

Eastfield College
Mesquite, Texas

2:47 P.M. CDT

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.  That’s why I’ve been traveling all across this country for the last few weeks.  These are the toughest times we’ve been through since the Great Depression.  And because the problems that led to the recession weren’t caused overnight, they won’t be solved overnight.  That’s the hard truth.  It took us a decade to see the culmination of some of the bad ideas that had been put into place — the lack of regulation on Wall Street, middle-class folks struggling.

So we’re not going to solve all those problems overnight.  But that doesn’t mean we have to sit back and do nothing about this economy.  There are steps we can take right now to put people back to work.  There are steps we can take right now to put money in the pockets of working Americans.  There are things we can do right now to restore some of the security and fairness that has always defined this great country of ours.  And that’s what will happen if this Congress will finally get its act together and pass the American Jobs Act.  (Applause.)

It has now been three weeks since I sent this bill to Congress.  It’s a detailed plan to get this economy moving.  It’s the kind of proposals that, in the past, Democrats and Republicans have supported.  There’s nothing radical in this proposal.  These are the kinds of things that in the past we’ve had bipartisan support for.  It’s fully paid for.  And that’s why I need you to help me convince the people you sent to Washington that it’s time to pass this jobs bill and get America working again.  (Applause.)

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.)

It’s not just teachers.  Tell Congress to pass the American Jobs Act, and there also will be funding to save the jobs of firefighters and police officers and first responders who risk their lives to keep us safe.  That’s what happens if they pass this bill.  (Applause.)

Pass this jobs bill, and hundreds of thousands of unemployed construction workers will get back on the job rebuilding our schools, rebuilding our roads, rebuilding our bridges, rebuilding our ports, rebuilding our airports.  The other day I visited a busy bridge in Ohio — actually it’s between Ohio and Kentucky.  Speaker Boehner, he’s from Ohio; Republican Leader McConnell is from Kentucky.  I thought it would be a good place to have an event.  (Laughter.)  This bridge is classified as functionally obsolete.  That’s a fancy way of saying it’s old and needs to be fixed.  (Laughter.)

There’s a public transit project in Houston that would help clear up one of the worst areas of traffic in the country.  There are schools all over this country that are literally falling apart — roof crumbling, rain dripping in, too hot in the summer, too cold in the winter, science labs all worn out, got a couple of beakers and that’s it, built back in the ‘50s before the Internet was invented.  (Laughter.)

That’s an outrage.  Understand, America became an economic superpower in part because we had the best infrastructure.  We built the transcontinental railroad, the Interstate Highway System, the Hoover Dam, Grand Central Station.  How can we sit back and now we’re seeing China build better airports than us, Europe build better railroads than us, Korea more broadband access than us — at a time when millions of unemployed construction workers could be building all that stuff right here in the United States of America.  (Applause.)

My question to Congress is, what are you waiting for?  The work is there to be done.  There are workers ready to do it.  Contractors, they’re begging for work.  They’ll come in on time, under budget.  Interest rates have never been lower.  It is time for us to put those folks back to work.  It’s time for them to pass the American Jobs Act.  Pass this bill.  (Applause.)

If Congress passes this jobs bill, new companies will get new tax credits for hiring America’s veterans.  Think about it.  We ask these men and women to leave their families, disrupt their careers, risk their lives for our nation.  The last thing they should have to do is to fight for a job when they come home.  (Applause.)

Tell Congress pass this bill so we can help the people who create most of the new jobs in this country:  America’s small businesses.  Folks in the other party, they like to talk a good game about helping America’s job creators.  “Let’s help America’s job creators.”  Okay, let’s do that.  This jobs bill provides tax cuts for nearly every small business in America.  If you hire new employees, or raise your workers’ wages, you get an extra tax cut.  (Applause.)  So my message to Congress is, don’t just talk about helping job creators; actually help some job creators by passing this bill.  (Applause.)

Here’s another reason why they need to pass this bill.  On January 1st, if nothing is done, everybody here is going to get a tax hike.

AUDIENCE:  Booo!  (Laughter.)

THE PRESIDENT:  That’s right.  See, back in December, I got an agreement with the Republicans to lower the payroll tax so that there would be more money in folks’ pockets and we could protect ourselves against recession.  Now, since that time, we’ve had a tsunami in Japan; we’ve had the Arab Spring, which shot up gas prices.  We’ve had problems in Europe.  And so the economy has gotten weaker.

That tax cut is scheduled to expire by the end of this year.  But if the American Jobs Act passes, the typical working family in Texas will have an extra $1,400 in their pockets.  (Applause.)  Now, if the bill doesn’t pass, virtually every worker in America will see their taxes go up — at the worst possible time.

So I’m not about to let that happen, Texas.  (Applause.)  Look, Republicans say they’re the party of tax cuts.  Tell them to prove it.  Tell them to fight just as hard for tax cuts for working Americans as they do for the wealthiest Americans.  (Applause.)  Pass this bill.

Now, what you’ll hear from some of these folks is, well, we’re not going to support any new spending that’s not paid for.  All right, I agree with that.  I think that’s important.  So I laid out a plan to pay for the American Jobs Act, and then some — a plan that not only pays for the bill to put folks back to work to raise our growth rate, but to also pay down more of our debt over time.  It builds on the $1 trillion in spending cuts that I already signed this summer, making it one of the biggest spending cuts in history.

So, look, I believe we’ve got to make cuts in programs that don’t work and things that aren’t helping the economy grow so we can pay for the things that are.  Right?  (Applause.)  We all believe that a government needs to live within its means.  We all agree with that.  But we also believe that how you bring down the deficit is important.  If we want to actually close the deficit — not just talk about closing the deficit, not just using it for a campaign slogan, not just playing politics — if we want to actually close the deficit, then you’ve got to combine the tough cuts with a strategy to ask the wealthiest Americans and the biggest corporations to do their part, to pay their fair share.  (Applause.)

Look, I’m not telling you anything you don’t know.  Do you really think the tax code is written for you?

AUDIENCE:  No!

THE PRESIDENT:  You think the tax code — maybe you’ve got a bunch of lobbyists in Washington.  Maybe you’ve got a bunch of special interests in there in the back rooms trying to carve something out — I don’t know.  But most folks don’t.  So the tax code, the way it’s structured, is not fair.  And so what we’ve said is, let’s reform our tax code based on a very simple principle, and it will raise more money without hurting working families.  Here’s the principle:  Middle-class families, working families, should not pay higher tax rates than millionaires or billionaires.  (Applause.)  I don’t know how you argue against that; seems pretty straightforward to me.  Warren Buffett’s secretary shouldn’t pay a higher tax rate than Warren Buffett.  (Applause.)

Now, when I point this out — it seems very logical to me, but when I point this out, some of the Republicans in Congress, they say, oh, you’re engaging in class warfare.  Class warfare?  Let me tell you something.  Years ago, a great American had a different view.  All right?  I’m going to get the quote just so you know I’m not making this up.  (Laughter.)  Great American, said that he thought it was “crazy” that certain tax loopholes made it possible for millionaires to pay nothing, while a bus driver was paying 10 percent of his salary.  All right?

You know who this guy was?  Wasn’t a Democrat.  Wasn’t some crazy socialist.  It was Ronald Reagan.  (Applause.)  It was Ronald Reagan.  Last time I checked, Republicans all thought Reagan made some sense.  (Laughter.)  So the next time you hear one of those Republicans in Congress accusing you of class warfare, you just tell them, I’m with Ronald Reagan.  (Laughter.)  I agree with Ronald Reagan that it’s crazy that a bus driver pays a higher tax rate than a millionaire because of some loophole in the tax code.  (Applause.)

And by the way, I don’t mind being called a warrior for the working class.  You guys need somebody fighting for you.  (Applause.)  The only warfare I’ve been seeing is the war against middle-class families and their ability to get ahead in this economy.

And let me make one last point, because you’ll hear this argument made:  This is not about trying to punish success.  This is the land of opportunity.  And what’s great about our country is our belief that anybody can succeed.  You’ve got a good idea?  Go out there and start a new business.  You’ve got a great product?  You invented something?  I hope you make millions of dollars.  We want to see more Steve Jobs and more Bill Gates — creating value, creating jobs.  That’s great.

Your current mayor did great work in the private sector creating jobs, creating value.  That’s important.  But remember, nobody got there on their own.  I’m standing here today, Michelle is standing here today — or Michelle’s not standing here today — (laughter) — but I know you wish she was.  I’m standing here today, Michelle — we always remind ourselves, the reason we’ve had this extraordinary opportunity is because somewhere along the line, some teacher helped us.  Somewhere along the line, we got a student loan.  We lived in a country that could move products and services everywhere.  We lived in a country where if there’s a fire, somebody comes and puts out the fire.  If you’re burglarized, somebody is coming to try to solve the crime.  I’m sure the mayor of Dallas feels the same way.  We’re here because somebody laid the foundation for success.  So the question is, are we going to maintain that foundation and strengthen that foundation for the next generation?

And this is all about priorities.  This is about choices.  If we want to actually lower the deficit and put people back to work — if we want to invest in our future, if we want to have the best science, the best technology, the best research, we want to continue to be inventing new drugs to solve cancer and making sure that the new cars of the future that are running on electricity are made here in America — if we want to do all those things, then the money has got to come from somewhere.  I wish I could do it all for free.  I wish I could say to all of you, you don’t have to pay any taxes and companies can keep all their stuff and rich people don’t have to do anything, and somehow it all works out.

But you know what, we tried it and it didn’t work.  So now you’ve got a choice.  Would you rather keep tax loopholes for big corporations that don’t need it?  Or would you rather put construction workers back to work rebuilding our schools and our roads and our bridges?  (Applause.)  Would you rather I keep a tax break that I don’t need and wasn’t looking for, didn’t ask for and if I don’t have it, I won’t miss it?  Or do you want to put teachers like Kim back to work and help small businesses and cut taxes for middle-class families?  (Applause.)  This is a choice that we’ve got to make.

And I believe, and I think you believe, it’s time we build an economy that creates good, solid, middle-class jobs in this country.  It’s time to build an economy that values the — that honors the values of hard work and responsibility.  It’s time for us to build an economy that lasts, that’s not just based on speculation and financial shenanigans, but rather is based on us making stuff and selling things to other people around the world instead of just importing from all around the world.  (Applause.)  That’s the America I believe in.  That’s the America you believe in.

And, Dallas, that starts now.  That starts with your help.  Yesterday, the Republican Majority Leader in Congress, Eric Cantor, said that right now he won’t even let this jobs bill have a vote in the House of Representatives.

AUDIENCE:  Booo!

THE PRESIDENT:  This is what he said.  Won’t even let it be debated.  Won’t even give it a chance to be debated on the floor of the House of Representatives.  Think about that.  I mean, what’s the problem?  Do they not have the time?  (Laughter.)  They just had a week off.  (Laughter.)  Is it inconvenient?

Look, I’d like Mr. Cantor to come down here to Dallas and explain what exactly in this jobs bill does he not believe in.  What exactly is he opposed to?

Does he not believe in rebuilding America’s roads and bridges?  Does he not believe in tax breaks for small businesses, or efforts to help our veterans?

Mr. Cantor should come down to Dallas and look Kim Russell in the eye and tell her why she doesn’t deserve to be back in the classroom doing what she loves, helping our kids.  Come tell her students why they don’t deserve to have their teacher back.

Come tell Dallas construction workers why they should be sitting idle instead of out there on the job.

Tell small business owners and workers in this community why you’d rather defend tax breaks for folks who don’t need them — for millionaires — rather than tax cuts for middle-class families.

And if you won’t do that, at least put this jobs bill up for a vote so that the entire country knows exactly where members of Congress stand.  (Applause.)
Put your cards on the table.  I realize that some Republicans in Washington are resistant, partly because I proposed it.  (Laughter and applause.)  I mean, they — if I took their party platform and proposed it, they’d suddenly be against it.  (Laughter.)

We’ve had folks in Congress who have said they shouldn’t pass this bill because it would give me a win.  So they’re thinking about the next election.  They’re not thinking about folks who are hurting right now.  They’re thinking, well, how is that going to play in the next election?

Give me a win?  Give me a break!  (Laughter.)  That’s why folks are fed up with Washington.  (Applause.)  This isn’t about giving me a win.  This isn’t about giving Democrats or Republicans a win.  This is about giving people who are hurting a win.  (Applause.)  This is about giving small business owners a win, and entrepreneurs a win, and students a win, and working families a win.  This is about giving America a win.  (Applause.)

Dallas, the next election is 13 months away.  The American people don’t have the luxury of waiting 13 months.  A lot of folks are living week to week; some are living paycheck to paycheck; some folks are living day to day.  (Applause.)  They need action on jobs, and they need it now.  They want Congress to do what they were elected to do.  They want Congress to do their job.  Do your job, Congress!  (Applause.)

I need you all to lift your voice — (applause)  –-  not just here in Dallas, but anyone watching, anyone listening, everybody following online.  I need you to call and tweet and fax and visit and email your congressperson and tell them the time for gridlock and games is over.  The time for action is now.  (Applause.)

Tell them that if you want to create jobs — pass this bill.  (Applause.)

If you want to put teachers back in the classroom — pass this bill.  (Applause.)

If you want construction workers back on the job — pass this bill.  (Applause.)

If you want tax cuts for the middle class and small business owners — pass this bill.

You want to help some veterans?  Pass this bill.  (Applause.)

Now is the time to act.  We are not people who sit back in tough times.  We step up in tough times.  We make things happen in tough times.  (Applause.)  We’ve been through tougher times before, and we got through them.  We’re going to get through these to a brighter day, but we’re going to have to act.  God helps those who help themselves.  We need to help ourselves right now.

Let’s get together.  Let’s get to work.  Let’s get busy.  Let’s pass this bill.  Let’s make sure that we are shaping a destiny for our children that we are proud of, and let’s remind the entire world why the United States of America is the greatest nation on the planet.  (Applause.)

God bless you.  God bless the United States of America.  (Applause.)

END                 3:18 P.M. CDT

Diane Ravitch: Kids don’t come to school for test prep

Source: Atlanta Journal-Constitution, 3-4-11

Education historian Diane Ravitch visited Jon Stewart last night to discuss her book, ““The Death and Life of the Great American School System.”

Among her comments: “Schools have turned into testing factories. Less time for the arts. Less time for science. Less time for history, physical education, civics — all the things that make school interesting. “

“Kids have to have a reason to come to school. I never met a child who said ‘I can’t wait to get to school for test prep.’”

She held out Finland – with 100 percent teacher unions and no standardized testing – as a model for the United States. Finland focuses on teacher prep and high quality teachers, she said, and has no school privatization movement, no charter schools. Ravitch said America actually outperforms Finland in low poverty schools.

Where America is failing, she said, is in schools with high poverty and racial isolation. While public policy debate wants to pretend that poverty doesn’t matter in schools, Ravitch said, “If you are homeless and hungry, it does matter.”

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