We need to outbuild, outeducate and outhustle the world: Obama

By Arun Kumar, IANS
Saturday, February 19, 2011

WASHINGTON - For once US President Barack Obama did not name India as he underlined the importance of math and science education in pushing for more education funding despite the federal government’s growing fiscal crisis.

Arguing that the investment is needed to ensure America’s global competitiveness, he told an audience of Intel Corp. workers in Oregon Friday that “even as we have to live within our means, we can’t sacrifice investments in our future.”

“If we want the next technological breakthrough that leads to the next Intel to happen here in the United States - not in China or not in Germany, but here in the United States - then we have to invest in America’s research and technology; in the work of our scientists and our engineers,” he said.

“If we want to make sure Intel doesn’t have to look overseas for skilled, trained workers, then we’ve got to invest in our people - in our schools, in our colleges, in our children,” Obama said.

America needs to “out-build, out-educate, and out-hustle the rest of the world,” he said bemoaning the country’s standing relative to other countries in students’ math and science test scores.

“We can’t win the future if we lose the race to educate our children,” he said. The country’s commitment to education “is what will determine whether the American dream survives.”

Obama’s proposed budget for fiscal year 2012 includes an 11 percent hike in federal education spending, to more than $77 billion.

Republican congressional leaders are seeking to reduce federal spending on education, with many arguing it should be primarily a state and local concern.

Among other things, the administration has made a pledge to prepare an additional 100,000 science, technology, math, and engineering teachers by the end of the decade.

The White House also is pushing to make permanent the American Opportunity Tax Credit, which is worth up to $10,000 for four years of college.

Intel CEO Paul Otellini was named Friday to Obama’s Council on Jobs and Competitiveness which is designed in part to advise the president on economic growth strategies.

(Arun Kumar can be contacted at arun.kumar@ians.in)

Filed under: Education

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