Investing in Our Future: Returning Teachers to the Classroom

This White House report looks into the impact of the recession on education and the need to reinvest in our schools.

President Obama has released this report, “Investing in Our Future: Returning Teachers to the Classroom”, in conjunction with his weekly address.  It highlights what parents and educators have known for quite some time: that laying off teachers, increasing class sizes, eliminating critical programs like early education, shortening the school week or the school year all mean that our students are shortchanged because they receive less attention and have access to fewer opportunities to learn.


According to the report, more than 300,000 education jobs have been slashed in communities across the country since 2009, resulting in a 4.6 percent increase in the teacher‐to‐student ratio between the fall of 2008 to the fall of 2010. The report also cautioned that 4.6 percent increase might be worse in some districts because the White House used averages in calculating class size figures.


The President noted the Tennessee STAR study, which demonstrated a positive effect on student learning and achievement due to smaller class sizes. To address this problem, President Obama reiterated that he has a plan that would prevent teacher layoffs, invest in comprehensive reform, and strengthen public education. The President’s budget proposal sets aside $25 billion to prevent layoffs and support hundreds of thousands of teachers and other school staff who in turn can help students learn and succeed.


President Obama's proposed jobs bill would help states prevent further layoffs and rehire teachers, but Congress refuses to pass it. Instead, the budget that almost every Republican voted for would further cut education in order to give tax breaks to millionaires and billionaires.  The White House has taken steps including investing in science and math, giving states more flexibility on No Child Left Behind, and increasing financial aid for millions of young people, but in order to help America lead in the 21st century, our elected officials in Congress must stand up for our nation’s young people to help ensure that we have the strongest education system in the world.


Listen to the President's speech: "Congress Should Back Plan to Hire Teacher"


“This report reminds us that we have a choice to make in November between two visions for America. President Obama’s, in which all students deserve a great education; and Gov. Romney’s, in which kids get the best education their parents can afford.  President Obama continues to show his commitment to improving our education system by investing in our students.” Read the full response from NEA President Dennis Van Roekle


“Indeed, this disinvestment, as the report says, “stands in sharp contrast to what has happened during every other post-war recession and recovery under Democratic and Republican presidents alike.” Read the full response from AFT President Randi Weingarten

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