Obama calls for making education a priority in the US
WASHINGTON (AFP) - US President Barack Obama on Saturday called on local and national lawmakers to prioritise education and stop firing teachers as a way to balance budgets.
"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 president said in his weekly radio and Internet address.
Since 2009 the United States has lost more than 300,000 education jobs, mainly because of budget cuts at the state and local levels, Mr Obama said.
"That's the opposite of what we should be doing as a country. States should be making education a priority in their budgets, even in tough fiscal times. And Congress should be willing to help out - because this affects all of us." Mr Obama said that last year he submitted to Congress a jobs bill designed to prevent further teacher layoffs and to rehire educators who had lost their jobs.