February 27, 2012
12:24 PM EST
A majority of states will spend less on elementary and secondary schools in 2012 than they did last year, and more than 40 states cut higher education spending in 2011 — cuts that lead to higher tuition prices in our public colleges and universities.
But when our economy is struggling, the last place to make cuts is in education. Making sure that every student in our country graduates from high school prepared for college and a successful career is central to rebuilding our economy and securing a brighter future. And when students go on to pursue higher education, we should make sure they are able to pay for it.
“Nothing more clearly signals what you value as a state as the decisions you make about where to invest,” President Obama told governors. “Budgets are about choices, so today I’m calling on you to choose to invest more in teachers, invest more in education, and invest more in our children and their future.”
The U.S. President’s education blueprint for an economy built to last outlines a series of proposals to support our students and future workers, including:
Investing in K-12 education: Continue funding successful programs like Race to the Top, which makes funds available on a competitive basis to states that implement reforms to improve student success; and Race to the Top Early Learning Challenge, which helps expand access to high-quality early education programs. Offer more states flexibility to implement reforms without being hampered by No Child Left Behind mandates (11 states have already applied for and received this flexibility).
Training workers for jobs in industries looking to hire: Establish training programs at community colleges that equip workers for skilled positions in high-growth industries, thereby making sure businesses have the workers they need here in the United States instead of outsourcing those jobs overseas
Helping students and their families pay for college: Prevent student loan rates from doubling, make permanent the tax credit that provides up to $10,000 to help families cover the cost of college, and double the number of work study jobs over the next five years to help students who are working their way through school.