President Barack Obama continued to campaign on education Wednesday, continuing a push he began Tuesday in Ohio.
Speaking at a campaign rally in Las Vegas, Obama said despite the fact that the economy is adding jobs in the private sector, public workers and teachers continue to see their jobs threatened.
"A great teacher can change the trajectory of a child's life. They can offer an escape from poverty to a child who dreams beyond his or her circumstances," Obama said. "They're on the front lines of our country's future."
He added, "Here's the thing -- this year, fewer teachers are going back to school. Since June of 2009, even as we've created millions of new jobs in the private sector, we've lost more than 300,000 teachers, aides and staff in our schools, largely because of budget cuts at the state and local levels."
Instead of cutting back on teachers, resulting in larger class sizes and canceled programs, Obama said the country should be investing more in education.
"If we want America to lead in the 21st century, we've got to give all our children the best education possible -- from the day they start in preschool to the day they start their career," he said. "That's why even as we face the worst economic crisis of our lifetimes, I've fought to keep teachers in the classroom."
He added, "The actions that we took during the first two years of my administration helped save the jobs of 400,000 educators."
Obama said Republicans in Congress, led by Wisconsin Rep. Paul Ryan, the GOP's vice presidential candidate, have blocked further efforts to keep teachers in the classroom and the President accused his Republican challenger, former Mass. Gov. Mitt Romney, of failing to understand the impacts education cuts would have.
"Governor Romney says we've got enough teachers, we don't need any more. The way he talks about them, it seems as if he thinks these are a bunch of nameless government bureaucrats that we need to cut back on -- those are his words," Obama said. "And his economic plan certainly would do that. The plan Governor Romney has put forward would cut America's investment in education by nearly 20 percent."
He added, "Here's the thing -- he's not making these cuts because he wants to create jobs or pay down the deficit. He's doing it to pay for a new $5 trillion tax cut that's weighted towards the wealthiest Americans."
Obama offered a stark challenge to Romney over that budget priority.
"How many teachers' jobs are worth another tax cut for millionaires and billionaires? How many kids in Head Start are worth a tax cut for somebody like me who doesn't need it," Obama asked. "How many grants and loans for college students are worth a tax cut for Governor Romney who certainly doesn't need it?"
Obama added, "We are a better country than one that short-changes the next generation just so we can shower tax cuts on folks who are already doing really well."
Obama said that the choice over the remaining weeks of the election would be clear, adding that he was counting on the assistance of those in the audience to help him win a second term.
"We've come too far to turn back now. We've been through a tough three and a half years, and Nevada has been through tougher times than most states," he said. "But the fact is that everything I've done has been focused on how we rebuild that strong middle class, how we make sure everybody is getting a fair shot, everybody is doing their fair share, everybody is playing by the same set of rules."
The president added, "If you're willing to stand with me and knock on some doors with me, and make some phone calls with me, this November, we will win Nevada. We will win this election. And we'll remind the world why the United States of America is the greatest nation on Earth."
by RTT Staff Writer
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