Which candidate do you agree with on...

Education

Issue Position |

President Obama implemented a program known as Race to the Top, which rewards states for implementing national educational standards, for providing incentives to turn around their lowest-achieving schools, and for fostering growth of charter schools. Teachers unions have criticized the use of standardized tests as well as the support of charter schools.

Obama also signed legislation in 2010 that doubled funding for Pell grants and removed banks from the federal student-loan program, making the government a direct provider of loans for college students. The measure allowed students to refinance their guaranteed and direct loans at a lower interest rate. The government also guarantees that loan recipients won’t have to pay more than 10 percent of their income and forgives their debt after 20 years -- or 10 years for people in public-service careers.

Endorse

Obama on Education
295 Comments

Reader Endorsements

Yadong Zhu

Yadong Zhu test

Enrique Garcia

Enrique Garcia putting financial aid under government hands is what America needed. Now no one has an excuse to not go to college because even if it does put you in debt in 20 years that debt is gone, 10 years if ...See More

Bill Maiden

Bill Maiden Really? Education? Honestly, you figure it out.

David Justin Lynch

David Justin Lynch Tests aren't everything. College education should be supported by an Education Tax which students pay back over their working lifetime.

Cherri Stockton Woolbert

Cherri Stockton Woolbert President Obama understands that education is the key to success and that most people can't "borrow from their parents" for college expenses. Taking the profit out of student loans makes them more affordable and fair.

Dadou Dadou Db

Dadou Dadou Db Romney has no real plan. I believe Obama spends too much on education. I think parent education is primordial to produce high caliber students.

Gabriel Brown

Gabriel Brown The future of our nation will be dependent on how well we educate our children. I don't like the power of teacher's unions, but I'll stick with the guy who respects the enormous importance of our schools.

Donna Avery

Donna Avery because its a better plan than the republicans

Jon Divine

Jon Divine Republicans believe that ignorant voters are the best ones because they can be manipulated easily by Fox news.

Peg Warren

Peg Warren This is a hard category. As a retired teacher, I am concerned about this issue, but I am more concerned with the "Teach To The Test" method of evaluating success. There is no room, no time to teach critical thinking, ...See More

Christine Pacuan

Christine Pacuan his stance aims to increases the education of the country which should be a priority if this nation wanted to advance further

Jimmy Cooper

Jimmy Cooper Obama wants to replace NCLB with something that works and it is called of Race to the Top. Romney wants to keep that stupid law and screw over teachers, kids, and make them stupid.

Kate Anderson

Kate Anderson President Obama is serious about education, Myth Robme is serious about Cayman Islands

Jamie Deveaux

Jamie Deveaux Took the middle men out of the Student Loan Program, reformed Education by increasing Pell Grant funding and created grants for states to reform their education as well as supporting Charter Schools.

Gary Allen Pool

Gary Allen Pool I believe in tax-payer supported free public education. I believe that every kid should have the right to a fair chance at a a decent education so he or she can become a productive member of society, provide a good ...See More

Jill Gering

Jill Gering He is the only one who really has presented a practical plan.

Arthur Mcgowan

Arthur Mcgowan Obama cares about the veterans welfare who is included in the 47%.

Robert Crane

Robert Crane Obama wants to strengthen education. Romney changes according to his audience, but mostly wants to reduce funding.

Peter Wong

Peter Wong This is easy when GOP's education policy can be summarized in ONE word: privatize.

Marco Gorni

Marco Gorni I endorse my President OBAMA on Education

Ann Davis

Ann Davis Obama All the way!!!!

Cee-Cee Fenwick

Cee-Cee Fenwick Because I believe in Obama and he need more time to continue to excute the education plan for our children so they can catch up and be on the same educational level as children in China and Europe.

Randy Ledbetter

Randy Ledbetter President Obama's personal story exemplifies the value of education. President Obama supports increased Pell Grants and student loans. Gov Romney advised students at Otterbein University to "Get the education. Borrow money, if you have to, from your parents. Start a ...See More

Carmin Liz

Carmin Liz Race to the top.

Laurel C B Stranaghan

Laurel C B Stranaghan The USA ranks 41st in the world in Education. Without excelling in education, we cannot hope to keep up with the rest of the world. Obama has been addressing this issue with meaningful policy development and implementation and is building ...See More

Roger Bauer

Roger Bauer NCLB and Testing does nothing for education. Focusing on Testing teaches memorization but not understanding the principles of the material. Keeping good teachers and challenging them to excite their students is more a function of incentives than making them teach ...See More

Russell Reynolds

Russell Reynolds The country needs to support the education system that made it great.

Patrick Espinoza

Patrick Espinoza This country needs to have a great educational system or it is dead in the water. To compete in a world market you need a well-educated country. So one must invest in our local school systems as well as in ...See More

Brian K Darling

Brian K Darling Gov Romney has very actual little experience with education and a hostile stance toward teachers. Barack Obama brings a balanced perspective to our national education strategy by considering kids, teachers, parents, and the role of schooling in US global stature.See More

Felipe De Leon Brown

Felipe De Leon Brown CLASS SIZE DOES MATTER and a broader curriculum is the key for success in the future. The imbeciles who think that Reading, Writing, Math and Science are all that public school students need are shorti-sighted and unfair to the youth ...See More

Felipe De Leon Brown

Felipe De Leon Brown CLASS SIZE DOES MATTER and a broader curriculum is the key for success in the future. The imbeciles who think that Reading, Writing, Math and Science are all that public school students need are shorti-sighted and unfair to the youth ...See More

Eugene Barufkin

Eugene Barufkin When the subject is education, Barack is smarter,

Eugene Barufkin

Eugene Barufkin When the subject is education, Barack is smarter,

Eugene Barufkin

Eugene Barufkin Because he's smarter & much more trustworthy.

Eugene Barufkin

Eugene Barufkin Because he's smarter & much more trustworthy.

Chris Obiesie

Chris Obiesie Education funding will improve the structure. Obama plan is better and it will sell

Marie-Claude Charles

Marie-Claude Charles OBAMA UNDERSTAND KIDS FROM THE MIDDLE CLASS FAMILY SPECIALY IF YOUR ZIP CODE IS DIFFERENT FROM OTHERS. ROMENEY CAN NOT BE TRUST, BECAUSE HE WON'T REDUCE CLASS SIZE AND HIRE MORE TEACHERS. HE FLIP FLOP ON EVERYTHING. SO OBAMA 2012 ...See More

Jim Hughes

Jim Hughes The mind is a beautiful thing, Romney is all talk,talk,talk! Loved Hary S. Truman the no bull dimg!

Robert Miller

Robert Miller Obama would do wonders for education in the US while Romney ...who knows what he would do.... whatever his base tells him to.

BeenThere DoneThat

BeenThere DoneThat Obama knows the value of a good education. Hell it work for him. GOP wants to keep people uneducated and unimform so the can maitain control over their lives.

Deborah Edwina Allen

Deborah Edwina Allen Mitt Romney will fire more teachers and close all public schools.

Jan Falk

Jan Falk Barack Obama has improved education since he took office, he offered alternatives to moronic No Child Left Behind, he increased funding for Dept of Education and Pell Grants, Romney does not support education because it would decrease his base, of ...See More

Lea Lyra Gary

Lea Lyra Gary He seems to genuinely care about education

Ethiopia Epiphany

Ethiopia Epiphany Early childhood program support AND knows that highly trained educators means highly educated students.

Abdul G.kargbo

Abdul G.kargbo He believes the Clinton type taxation of the wealthy is essential for stable economic growth

Sherrie Sacharow

Sherrie Sacharow On higher education loan mitigation I am delighted with Obama...I am NOT pleased with Arne Duncan NOR the Race to the Top BUT I trust them to work this out. Romney's vow to simply crush teacher's unions is not an ...See More

Princess Peyton Manuella Nelly

Princess Peyton Manuella Nelly I rather have at least loan than not have none. I mean Im a little bite made that i dont get grants, but at least i get loans

Wendy Tyre Godwin

Wendy Tyre Godwin Obama supports educators !

Sam C Lintag

Sam C Lintag President's Obama educational thrusts are the most subjective and student friendly.

Kitty Jawitz

Kitty Jawitz He has been trying to do more to educate people since day 1- everything from student loans, better teachers, grants, veterans, job re-education, trying to help us have better paying jobs in future.

MaLinda K. Porter

MaLinda K. Porter Obama cares about the whole scheme of education not just a portion. He wants better schools, better teachers and better students. He wants better education for everyone. He doesn't pick and chose who should be educated.

Persephonae Velasquez

Persephonae Velasquez I don't agree with NCLB. But I do think that without the pressure to maintain federal standards, schools left to the states will get worse, particularly in the South.

Edward Murray

Edward Murray Because he's proven the value of having one.

Louis Montalvo-Realtor

Louis Montalvo-Realtor Invest on our children and schools as for they are the seeds of our future.

Pamela Hoyles

Pamela Hoyles Children are our future and although the education policy need to find the appropiate merger between public, private, and charter schools; Obama has a plan to get us on the right track.

Theresa Smith

Theresa Smith Education in this country is going to require more than just more money, the system needs an overhaul. Parents need to be more responsible for having expectations and instilling discipline in their kids so that they will go to school ...See More

Mary McGrail

Mary McGrail According to the republicans you don't need a higher education to be successful. You just have to be a millionaire or a congressman.

Cara N Boyce

Cara N Boyce Obama has a clear understanding of the education needs of the country and is willing to do what is needed to bring American education standards back up to be competivie with the rest of the world.

Richard Mann

Richard Mann Looks like he'd be a good teacher.

Judy Hughes

Judy Hughes The president has a far better understanding on this issue. It comes from knowing how important an education is to the average person without benefit of privilege and money. It is the great leveler.

Jorge Gomez

Jorge Gomez Of course Obama will support education, that is why i am with him.

Zoraida Rivera

Zoraida Rivera President Barack Obama knows the value of education for ALL AMERICANS not just for the elite. With President Barack Obama our children can have a better future and parents can be able to afford to send their children to college ...See More

Jonas Delva

Jonas Delva Race to the top is one of the best method, He made it easier for young kids to get grant to go to college.

David Duncan

David Duncan He says one thing and does not change his statements in a lying manner!

Catherine Ratliff

Catherine Ratliff Education is the most important investment for an individual and a society.

Damaris Barajas

Damaris Barajas President Obama has clear record that he is truly supporting education. Romeny is to damn odd and I cant trust him on what he has to say about education.

Robert D. Reynolds

Robert D. Reynolds Romney seems to be at real odds about educating our kids.

Anthony Barcelo

Anthony Barcelo Republican after Republican has failed our educational system because they would rather wage war and pad their pockets than raise school standards

Pearl Ironshell

Pearl Ironshell nothing will sway my vote for Obama :))

Richard Pinto

Richard Pinto President Obama has a clear record of supporting education. Go Big Bird.

Vanessa ReelectObama Redus

Vanessa ReelectObama Redus President Obama understands how important education of our citizens is central to our economic security. I feel it is a "national security" issue!

Carmen Spoor

Carmen Spoor I have never seen the likes of dumbing down Americans that the Republicans are trying to put in place. Getting rid of Headstart programs and not standing behind the teachers is not the way to a better education. Putting Grants ...See More

Jaki Demarest

Jaki Demarest Republicans can't seem to come up with a plan for education, Medicare, Medicaid or Social Security that doesn't involve the word "voucher," whereas Race to the Top was unquestionably successful.

James Worthen

James Worthen He recognizes that education is key to success as a person and as a country. We are ranked 47th in the world in math and science. This has to change quickly and constantly for the better if we plan lead ...See More

Joan D Ringel

Joan D Ringel He recognizes that growing the economy means educating people for future jobs since many jobs lost won't be coming back.

Jake Lester

Jake Lester Fought on student's behalf against crippling student loans, Pell Grants, has a plan for more teachers, to name a few.

Verma Cooke-hutchinson

Verma Cooke-hutchinson He has the best plan and as a student, I am already benefiting from his plan.

Gladys Re-electObama Astacio

Gladys Re-electObama Astacio pell grants,reasonable student loans,hiring more teachers.

Ron Miller

Ron Miller I hear more respectful information from the President than I do from Romney. Romney is about sound bites, cliche, bully pulpit, and having the last word. He couldn't lead me to the water closet if I was about to burst. ...See More

David Asgard

David Asgard Education and health care are the true basics for equal opportunity. The good life is dependent on having both.

Aliyar Sahib

Aliyar Sahib Finally, I see one politician who is worried about the quality of education, opening up his eyes and seeing the WORLD outside America.

Linda Cook

Linda Cook Simple: Romney is a LIAR. Can not trust him. Women should be extremely carful. Plus Obama care saved my life this year and is now enaling me to fight blindness. Need any more?

Brian Joyner

Brian Joyner POTUS policies are based on present and fture trends that will create sustainable jobs for the future. Also, POTUS removed the bankers from being middle-men and receiving payments for lns that the government already backed and it was a win ...See More

Sydney Epps

Sydney Epps The public school system has largely failed, especially in urban areas. Give teachers with maverick ideas the opportunity to control the way their students learn by allowing charter schools. Tenure has made it so that teachers are lauded to the ...See More

Athena Hacker

Athena Hacker Just as no child is exactly the same as the next, no state should be given exactly the same tests and supplies as the next.

Sheila Beaudoin

Sheila Beaudoin He has constantly spoke to the necessity of ensuring that everyone have a chance for college.

LindaScherer Card Lujan Allan

LindaScherer Card Lujan Allan Made higher education easier for graduates to get through Pell grants directly from the Federal Government.

Sydney 'Flex' Porter

Sydney 'Flex' Porter He truly believes in Education for all and knows it's extremely important for America moving Forward!

Sydney 'Flex' Porter

Sydney 'Flex' Porter He truly believes in Education for all and knows it's extremely important for America moving Forward!

Mimi Piker

Mimi Piker no child left behind simply does not work

Catfish Beans

Catfish Beans Because EVERYONE deserves a good education and the opportunity to be successful.

Patricia D Nesberg

Patricia D Nesberg The President is supportive of access to higher education for everyone. Not all potential college students can "borrow money from their parents" as Mitt Romney prescribes. I appreciate President Obama's middle of the aisle approach to education which promotes charter ...See More

Robert Johnson

Robert Johnson The republican party had being trying to chip away at public education for years. A dumb population is easy to control

Ansara Lee Sr.

Ansara Lee Sr. Pres.Obama has worked with community organizers and has a great sense of how important education and our children's future will be brighter if we strengthen our education system..

Linnette Eller Booth

Linnette Eller Booth He understands the need for education at all levels. He is working to get more community colleges to partner with employers. He realizes we need more teachers, not less and that we need many schools to be repaired or renovated. ...See More

Thom Isanski

Thom Isanski vital investment. Do not believe in privatizing schools for profit. too much would be lost.

Denyse Miller

Denyse Miller Investment in our citizen's education benefits the country and allows America to grow and compete. There is no better investment America can make than investing in education. Obama makes this a priority whereas Romney makes education available only to those ...See More

Vincent Flament

Vincent Flament Cause he can be trusted more to attend the needs of under-privileged kids!

Edwin Dorn

Edwin Dorn Romney has an education policy?! Who'd a' thunk it?

Carol Johnson

Carol Johnson If we are to keep up or even stay even with the rest of the world and keep the jobs in America we have to have people who are equipped to be able to do the jobs that the new ...See More

Ilse Genovese

Ilse Genovese Anybody concerned with the future of this country has to agree with President Obama: education is the key to America's continued leadership in the world. NOT RATTLING THE SABRE, as his oponenet has suggested he would do, time and again.See More

Andy Bilmanis

Andy Bilmanis credible approach to improve

SA ReUnion

SA ReUnion Gives locals the ability to set priorities

Steve Schonberg

Steve Schonberg We need to reduce the costs of student loans and stop privatizing public education.

Michael J. Gould

Michael J. Gould Even Mtten haspraied the wrk Obma's Education Dept has done!

George Jefferson

George Jefferson He will save Big Bird from Mitt the grouch.

Rob Wood

Rob Wood he is not a flip flopper

Phillip Reid

Phillip Reid Romney would like to kill the teacher unions.

Sarah Hamer

Sarah Hamer we have enought low info people

Sarah Hamer

Sarah Hamer we have enought low info people

Mounir Keshen

Mounir Keshen Government need to do more, only rich people or who can afford it choose their children school, If I'm right 90% of Americans depend on public schools. We pay taxes. Some of the responsibility of the government is to built ...See More

Destiny Hubert

Destiny Hubert ROMNEY WANTED TO CUT TEACHERS

Eric Joseph Holmes

Eric Joseph Holmes The president does not wish to get rid of the DOE or PBS.

Moru Souare

Moru Souare CAUSE HE WANT TEACHER IN CLASSROOM, STUDENT LOAN WITH NO OR LOW INTEREST

Stephanie Cossom

Stephanie Cossom Be the solution, not the problem. As parents and being part of any community, support it... stop being so quick to throw in the towel and move away from so-called failing schools. Vouchers.... really? Sounds like someone just threw in ...See More

Mattie B. Marshall

Mattie B. Marshall Education is the key to the economic engine - can you trust anyone that will get rid of the most educational network - what's next - public schools, segregated facilities, backward approach or FORWARD .

Linda Hatfield

Linda Hatfield As a retired teacher I know we can't fix education by throwing money at it, but vouchers will kill the public schools. We need to get rid on NCLB and reset schools on proven paths.

Faye Schwimmer

Faye Schwimmer Tea partiers, Mormons and Republicans would provide vouchers to private, religious based education, whereas Obama will strengthen public education, so that the 99 percent could also receive a good education.

Melissa Marie Lundberg

Melissa Marie Lundberg People do not fit in a box and these test try to put our children in a box. No child Left Behind is flawed.

Tanicca Bell

Tanicca Bell Obama actually cares about us college students who are depending on federal funding to get a degree.

Patricia Carlton

Patricia Carlton Education is really a local issue, but the feds can set the tone and help with targeted funding.

Joe Walters

Joe Walters standard testing promotes teachers who only teach to the tests not the students,the students learn very little,and remember even less.we need a comprensive program that promotes enovative thinking.before china and other countrys really do control the worlds tech.

Millicent Hollins

Millicent Hollins Here again, we have no way of knowing How Gov Romney is going to support his plan for Education. I think he says the things he believes the audience wants to here because he knows that nothing that he says ...See More

Leimomi Martin

Leimomi Martin Obama wants to hire more teachers, I remember under the Bush Administration where there was no support towards teachers, layoffs of public services, education unreachable. Obama will always be there for the educators

Mayer Buxbaum

Mayer Buxbaum Mitt Romney is a Mormon. So his education is that Jesus Christ was in North America fighting the native americans,and he picked Joseph Smith to be the savior. No one is bothered the polygamy continues to be practiced by the ...See More

Christopher Gourgouras

Christopher Gourgouras More aid for students trying to get a college education is necessary.

Linda Hundley Shaffer

Linda Hundley Shaffer I believe the financial aide for college students should be continued and operated by the government, not the banks.

Faqir Naqvi

Faqir Naqvi How can one in his/her right mind vote for the hate and devisive GOP candidates and policies.

Ezekiel Josephs

Ezekiel Josephs I want our kids to have the best not the worst

Vicki Green

Vicki Green Romney can care less about educating the 47%.

Vicki Green

Vicki Green Romney can care less about educating the 47%.

Don B. Sea

Don B. Sea NO TO CHARTER SCHOOLS. YES on standard testing of all students, YES on the ability to fire underperforming teachers, administrators, school boards as well.

Jewels Ofthenile

Jewels Ofthenile While Unions have been too focused on teachers pay and tenur issues, we need to focus on ensuring teachers are qualified and the curriculum is up to date. Why can't we get local businesses involved? This is about their future ...See More

Damian Saunders

Damian Saunders Obama signed legislation in 2010 that doubled funding for Pell grants and removed banks from the federal student-loan program, making the government a direct provider of loans for college students. The measure allowed students to refinance their guaranteed and direct ...See More

Diana Kitch

Diana Kitch I am unimpressed with the way Romney deals with foreign powers. He just doesn't seem to get diplomacy. That is very scary to me given the volatile condition of the world.

Nancy Meehan Nicholson

Nancy Meehan Nicholson Though I don't agree with the idea of standardized testing being the cure-all for our schools, I believe public education benefits more from Obama's policies than Romney's. Some states are far better at educating our kids than others. If we ...See More

Gary Cross

Gary Cross President Obama's Race to the Top Edeucation program will improve student achievement and accountability.

Landra Major

Landra Major Everyone should have the opportunity to have a good education

Max Leclerc

Max Leclerc Because Obama is a academic candidate.

Michelle Hainze

Michelle Hainze I don't want News Corp's new education group spin off to be in charge of educating American children.

John Forbyn

John Forbyn He's tuned-in to communities. And he doesn't suck.

Maeve Ryan

Maeve Ryan Obama is smart and i believe he cares. Romney sounds like an idiot and is a compulsive liar.

Paid Subscriber

Paid Subscriber I sincerely believe that Mitt Romney wants to break teacher's unions more than educate our children. President Obama supports our teacher's unions and better educational opportunities for our kids, and he'd hire more teachers as well.

Don Puryear

Don Puryear I am one of the 47%

Emberdink Humberdittle

Emberdink Humberdittle Of course I endorse a president who is pro-education. Meanwhile Romney is out there recommending putting windows that open and shut on aircraft. I'd like a president who knows about pressurization and doesn't wear magic undergarments - no problem, he ...See More

GinAnn N Stephen Cowen

GinAnn N Stephen Cowen Because when I worked my way through College, I couldn't borrow money from my parents. I worked through school and received Pell Grants and low interest government loans. I've since had a career in Electrical Engineering for 25 years and ...See More

Jerry Planta

Jerry Planta HE WANTS TO HELP PEOPLE WITH LOW INCOME, GET BETTER EDUCATION, SO THEY MAY HAVE A BETTER JOB

Anastasia Aldridge

Anastasia Aldridge Obama increased Student Loan Funding. Romney would decrease it. Enough said.

Ken Lee

Ken Lee My kids will most likely attend college on loans, nuff said

Truscha Quatrone

Truscha Quatrone The President has a;ready demonstrated his commitment to education, he has also spoken about the importance of re-educating our workers to be ready for tomorrows challenges.

Thomas Mosby

Thomas Mosby He is for the Children...he is trying to help with the student loan debt...and thinks Everybody should have a fair chance at higher education. And, not just the elite ones

William Oravez

William Oravez He takes care of the workers

Carol Johnson

Carol Johnson He cares about the success of America.

Jeanette Leach

Jeanette Leach Obama supports student loans. A necessary requirement for America to exceed is an educated population.

Aida Alfonso-Wyman

Aida Alfonso-Wyman No matter what government is in the White House and jobs are there for the grabs.....people without skills (education) will remain unemployed or under employed. EDUCATION IS THE BASE OF EVERY COUNTRY SUCCESS.

Steve Walters

Steve Walters President Obama understands the struggle of the common people in this area.

Effie Osborne

Effie Osborne I am a volunteer on President Obama's re-election campaign and am volunteering with a retired teacher from Indiana who stated that the voucher system has dessimated the public school system there. We need a country with more educated people, not ...See More

Kathleen Nelson

Kathleen Nelson At this tinme, there is little investment in our public educational system. I do not support vouchered school systems so certain kids can go to private schools. We need the investment in public schools. We are way behind other countries--our ...See More

Bill Macomber

Bill Macomber No Child Left Behind was a huge flop that everyone expected to work. Oops. Too bad Romney doesn't understand that it's failed and now instead all he wants to do is cut education funding.

Lytton Means

Lytton Means There are good points made by both candidates on this issue. But overall I'm far less ready to say that teacher unions are the problem and put the responsibility with the local school boards and states past history of little ...See More

Drema Walch

Drema Walch He is a wonderful President. He is doing his best with mess Bush left us in. Plus Romney is talking like he is cracking up!

Janice Spencer-Champion

Janice Spencer-Champion He believes in 100 percent of children doing well not just 47 percent

James Hendrixs

James Hendrixs Obama suports continuing education and reduction of student debt! Mitt thinks you should ask your parents for the money if you can't afford college!

Cheryl Baxter-Waller

Cheryl Baxter-Waller more expierenced,he says what he means and means what he says ..he also realize what it takes to have a good education,stay focus and you can become anything you want

Carolyn Ottes

Carolyn Ottes Obama understand

Jeffery Smith

Jeffery Smith He understands what is needed.

Matt Castillo

Matt Castillo I'm on federal student loans right now, and I think that Obama's stance on federal financial aid is easy for me to get behind.

Jay Jackson

Jay Jackson Obama, like most politicians, is all wrong on education but at least he respects teachers and the rights of all to a quality education, not just the privileged. In other words, he may be off-course, but not nearly as much ...See More

Leroy Brown

Leroy Brown it seem like he care and understand mitty HAVE NO IDEA

Olubunmi Adelaja

Olubunmi Adelaja He knows what he is doing. Romney is so out of touch on many issues.

Karina Montgomery

Karina Montgomery NCLB is a total failure and Obama's platform addresses the disease, not just the symptoms.

Patricia Wexler

Patricia Wexler Obama for the teachers Romney he has no brains

George Henderson

George Henderson Obama's plan makes higher education more affordable to a larger segment of our society. Romney's plan would restrict access for many students by cutting funding for Pell Grants, increasing interest on student loans, etc. Obama's plan makes much more sense ...See More

Raysa Stroud

Raysa Stroud Because he understand the financial hardship..

Faith Turner

Faith Turner Mostly, because he is consistent and trustworthy.

Roni Knell

Roni Knell No Child Left behind allowed too many young people the right to literally stand around and just wait to be graduated but not actually work for an education.

Cherie Ernest

Cherie Ernest He has experienced public education and believes it generates most of the power in our society's engine for the future,

Kevin Burns

Kevin Burns He has the best interest of the country as his mantle. He is for every American, not just the top elite. He stands for hard work and a cool head in every aspect of being President.

Darlene Williams

Darlene Williams President Obama's stance on education has been strong before he came into office and he has taken steps to strengthen his stance ever since being in office. So I would say that his interest are genuine.

James Graziano

James Graziano Obama want to provide a path for all qualified students to advance. We need more people trained in high-tech areas, there is an employee shortage. Supporting education with Pell grants, making student loans more affordable, and more stimulus for the ...See More

Jerry Ez

Jerry Ez Unlike the incompetent GOP, Obama has invested in education as the GOP look for ways to de-Fund education.

Dan LaPoint

Dan LaPoint This is just a no-brainer. Equality of education is such a huge step towards equality of opportunity. While not perfect, Race to the Top is ages and miles better than NCLB

Awadhesh Kumar Misra

Awadhesh Kumar Misra Open opportunity -- evenly and equitably -- across the education system willl develop a culture of innovation and excellence in schools.

Mike Johnson

Mike Johnson Romney don't care for for the education issues of the america people

J Diego Chong

J Diego Chong Romney and the Republicans just want to rob education funding by creating Charter Schools, sapping money from Public Schools which should be supported since they are the way for everybody - rich or poor - to get their children educated. ...See More

Listiel Rock

Listiel Rock President Obama knows the importance of education even for those who have little or no means. Everyone must be given the opportunity to obtain a quality education.

Nancy Heifferon

Nancy Heifferon Obama takes a strategic approach that encourages and supports improvement. Romney's approach is tactical and limited.

Fred Valdez

Fred Valdez He wants to restore our education were Romney will cut education

Patrick Ciriello

Patrick Ciriello We need to get away from the idea that everyone is the same and one-size-fits-all in education. Every child is unique, and we need to find better ways of taking this into account.

Denise Oliver-Velez

Denise Oliver-Velez Romney is supported by the Tea Party who are anti-science. Barack Obama has supported more emphasis on math and science.

Martin Chiaravalloti

Martin Chiaravalloti Romney has not shown respect for the separation of church and state, bad new where it comes to education. Loan sharks should not be in the student loan business, they are Romney's buddies.

Celia Key

Celia Key Obama sees the fuller picture, Romney doesn't

Wayne A. Morris

Wayne A. Morris It's common sense, stupid!

JeaGloris Powell

JeaGloris Powell I SUPPORT THE PRESIDENT WITH MY CHILDREN AND YOUR CHILDRENS EDUCATION.MITT ROMNEY I DON'T TRUST THE MAN AS FAR AS YOU CAN THROW HIM. I AM GOING TO MAKE SURE THAT ALL OF MY PEEPS VOTE,ESPECIALLY THE YOUNGER GENERATIONS TO ...See More

Heather Houston

Heather Houston We might be one nation but we work globally. If you don't believe that look at the computer you are using or the chair you are currently sitting on. I support the Race to the Top. I want our children ...See More

Keni Jefferson

Keni Jefferson Obama cares about all US citizens, EVEN the poor and uneducated. His political ideals center around everyone, not just the wealthy. He believes in everyone paying their FAIR SHARE in taxes. He believes everyone should have the same opportunities, and ...See More

Sam Lehman

Sam Lehman Corporations want you to be uneducated to fall for scams, buy overpriced products, and pay for more than they give you,,,,Mitt Romney is the face of corporatism...Need I say more?

Renarldo Spight

Renarldo Spight He is a great man who know the issue, He have a good read on this country and other country to slove american problem. I endorse obama, We need Obamecare that the main thing people need in their life beside ...See More

Marden Marquez

Marden Marquez The rich are very happy when you don't have an education.

Emmanuel Elijah

Emmanuel Elijah Obama wants to improve education to all Americans regardless of party affiliation. Mitt wants to cut important programs that helps poor smart children to improve wealthy children of millionaires and billionaires

Victor Karels

Victor Karels Romney's solution for financing the average American's education is to find your own way, just ask your parents for the money.

Harold Troger

Harold Troger How do you educate without good teachers. Ask Romney where would companies be if we limited executive remuneration 25 times employee salaries as it beforeReagan cut corporate taxes. Today its 300 to 500 times and wages are down. so much ...See More

Judy Zitko

Judy Zitko He supports a strong education system. GOP wants to cut education and in many Republican controlled states, teachers have been laid off which reduces the quality of education, plus they support more private education and these private schools can pick ...See More

Jane Davis

Jane Davis Obama is FOR education. Romney would cut it out to save money for his pocket book.

John Harris

John Harris Expecting the wealthy to voluntarily fund public education is a game for fools. They don't CARE. They themselves attended private schools and send their children to private schools. The Right-Wing, particularly Right-Wing religious groups, have repeatedly attempted to de-fund public ...See More

Yannick Luce Yambaka

Yannick Luce Yambaka I believe that President Obama has Americans best interest at heart. Romney is only concerned about that 15%.

Jason Safford

Jason Safford The Republicans seemed to be poorly educated on what an education costs and who pays the bills. I try to avoid stupid people at all costs.

Michaelle Michelle Marks

Michaelle Michelle Marks Not all of us learn the same and can have difficulty in certain learning environments. Standardized sounds like one way. That's not life. Life is about exploring and expanding our own potential for the best growth. You cannot do that ...See More

Ja Lo

Ja Lo Strength as a country depends on being properly educated. I have achieved my MSN during this administration and my job options have grown exponentially.

Muthu Ganapathy

Muthu Ganapathy Eduction is most important to the society. Teachers are important in education. Teachers must be trained well.

Chris Jones

Chris Jones He can get the facts strait.

Michelle Kosek

Michelle Kosek Standardized testing is the equivalent of remembering the eye chart at the optometrist's office. Sure, you may remember what the 20/20 line says, but it doesn't help you at all in your life if you can't see. I want everyone ...See More

Anna Neaphyte

Anna Neaphyte Unions are very low on my list of things to 'fear'. Period.

Jay Staxx Sr.

Jay Staxx Sr. President Obama has made tremendous strides in the forward direction, investing in the education and our future. Re-structuring student loans, increase in Pell Grants, job retraining at community colleges and investments in R&D are all steps FORWARD!

Ruhy Bremen

Ruhy Bremen He has a better vision.

Beverly A Pietlicki

Beverly A Pietlicki Education desperately needs to be more personalized and less driven by standards. Standards can wait, creating a child's desire to learn lasts a lifetime. . .

Nancy Langwiser

Nancy Langwiser Romney doesn't hae a education policy that is good for everyone

Jeff Bunting

Jeff Bunting Obama believes in the arts and is a deep intellectual who cares about the future of our children. Romney on the other hand could care less about the future or our children.

Harris Walker

Harris Walker After working with the President's administration to fight for children with learning disabilities and other impairments, I firmly believe that the President is committed to long-lasting change for our nation by stimulating our education system. Along with Secretary Arne Duncan, ...See More

Sage Keramet Bellamy

Sage Keramet Bellamy The "no child left behind" is a failure in itself.

Mike Askme

Mike Askme to be honest their both on the same page when it comes to education, but i do think MItt favors for profit instead of the greater good educational system.

Thad Berry

Thad Berry Praising No Child Left Behind is lunacy, Willard.

Mamie-Louise Anderson

Mamie-Louise Anderson On every issue, President Obama has demonstrated a sensitivity to the most vulnerable and a dedication to ensuring that the majority of the American people have access to the nation's vast potential. Education is a cornerstone of his campaign and ...See More

Richard Salim Rawson

Richard Salim Rawson The only sensible program for education.

Marie Saunders Batten

Marie Saunders Batten because i believe in equal rights for all citizens...because healthcare needs to be addressed...because going to war at the drop of a hat is no longer an option for us...because finding energy sources other than oil is necessary...because someone else's ...See More

Herb Lesser

Herb Lesser Romney Platform is against any public investment in our childrens- future.he is interested in investments that give him and his pals a dollar return. I live in N.J. and our republican governor does the same

Renet' Rains

Renet' Rains Teach the children,for they are our future that will ultimately decide our fate and our Countries strength

Mary Lang

Mary Lang Not everyone has rich parents who can simply lend them money to go to college, but everyone deserves an education.

Sheri Rhodes

Sheri Rhodes President Obama is the only one cares about real people. Not just the 1%.

Dawana Lee

Dawana Lee Would like to hear more from the president about this issue. But I support him becasue Education shouldnt come at a cost and Romneys budget would cut funds to education.

Jack Nixon

Jack Nixon I'm not Mormon once again, and I was not born with a gold fork up my butt! Also I couldn't borrow money from my parents like Mitt suggest!

Michael Ramey

Michael Ramey R&R have already declared war on the Teacher's Unions, rather than focusing on rebuilding the ability of students to compete in math, science and engineering with the rest of the planet.

Tommy Rabid

Tommy Rabid "No child left behind" was a disaster. Standardized testing will show us what we already know: That not every child is "smart", and we can't keep lowering the standards to allow kids who cant read to graduate, or keeping bright ...See More

Robert J Stedman

Robert J Stedman He policies promoteducation what Mitt want you to do i borrow from your parieents who don't and will not have jobs as he will out source.

Bahaa Adel

Bahaa Adel He believes that university education is not Luxury and has to be supported by the government

Edna M. Rankine

Edna M. Rankine Understand the struggle of paying for student loans...

Marlene Langkilde Tuitele

Marlene Langkilde Tuitele Obama is for education. Romney is for money.

Dev Sta

Dev Sta Student loans ... public schools ... better teachers..

Pam Miner

Pam Miner The republicans are trying to de-fund the schools. Obama is pro-public schools.

Ray Barnes

Ray Barnes DONE A GREAT JOB !!!!!!

Patty Scott Miller

Patty Scott Miller Because I can.

William Jones

William Jones because he is the right man for the job

Reba Dubay

Reba Dubay He is a perfect example of a public school system success. Romney was educated in private schools and so were his kids. He knows nothing about this.

Orlena Joyce Sizemore

Orlena Joyce Sizemore i believe more person will get a good education with obama

Fernando Salazar

Fernando Salazar I believe anyone that has the thirst for knowledge should have the opportunity. Unfortunately parents these days do not have the money to pay for their children education. Some say, we can't finance college for everyone. Well, does that means, ...See More

Melody Goad

Melody Goad President Obama understands that we need to be a well educated nation in order to compete on the global stage. This is one of the things that our forefathers believed also!

Jason Varner

Jason Varner Education needs reform. While some might dislike President Obama for his unorthodox methods, I believe he might be just the man to give education the changes it needs. I am still voting for Ron Paul or Gary Johnson...but between these ...See More

Anthony Childress

Anthony Childress Democrats tend to place a stronger emphasis on education.

Louie Pittarelli

Louie Pittarelli No Child Left Behind was a disaster, I've experienced it. Providing schools with incentives and support seems like a much better way to improve the standard of teaching than simply firing teachers and enforcing a universal curriculum.

Rodney Griffith

Rodney Griffith Because all kids have the right to have a education to succeed in life.

Linda Allred Holmstrom

Linda Allred Holmstrom The education of our children are our future. This should be a priority for any candidate for the presidency. No Child Left Behind was a disaster. Teaching to a test is the absolute wrong thing to do. We should demand ...See More

Pam Miner

Pam Miner I believe that public schools need to be there for kids.

Bob Stanfield

Bob Stanfield "Want an education, borrow from your parents." (WMR) We would only get GEBs and WMRs. I would never have gone to college, much less attained a doctorate in engineering from MIT. How many Googles and other fantastic start ups would ...See More

Frank Robert

Frank Robert Without going into detail....I just do

Spot Ify

Spot Ify Republican fundies hate edumacation.

Srinadh Godavarthy

Srinadh Godavarthy Republicans are short sighted. They forget future depends on well educated work force and with good infrastructure. Without these two any tax cut will have no benefit what's so ever long term. Mitt Romney and Republicans have very short sighted ...See More

Emberdink Humberdittle

Emberdink Humberdittle The obvious choice is President Obama - America should support and embrace a secondary education, not resent it. After World War II, public support for the GI bill and an expansion of public universities helped many Americans get college degrees. ...See More

D-Faried Ahmed

D-Faried Ahmed Jan Kuns Zimmerman wrote: I trust Barack Obama because he is a representative of the American Dream: work hard; get a solid Public Education and with good grades; scholarships and extended family support, a disadvantaged youth rose from humble beginnings ...See More

Jan Kuns Zimmerman

Jan Kuns Zimmerman I trust Barack Obama because he is a representative of the American Dream: work hard; get a solid Public Education and with good grades; scholarships and extended family support, a disadvantaged youth rose from humble beginnings to be the President ...See More

Henry Exhaust

Henry Exhaust Romney had his education paid by "Daddy". Partied to hearty.

Mary Gannon Stolle

Mary Gannon Stolle I trust the President on these issues because he has had more first-hand experience. Romney was raised in a bubble.

Ludwig G. Kuttner

Ludwig G. Kuttner Support for quality, accountability, charter schools.

RickandCarol Fidler

RickandCarol Fidler 95 percent of our charter schools do not have sports of physical education. The US Olympic teams depend on Jr and Sr High public schools to birth new Athletes.

Jasmine Jackson

Jasmine Jackson Romney wants schools to dismiss teachers whose students fail to meet standards or show consistent improvement which is absolutely ridiculous when evaluations done by students are objective and don't fully show the worth of a teacher. The only teachers that ...See More

Hussein M. Ali

Hussein M. Ali Cheap Higher Education for All Americans.

Carlos Gonzales

Carlos Gonzales Given Romney and his RNC Party of HATE against Education and Against Teachesrs, my Vote DEFINITIVELY Goes to President Obama

Johnice Reid

Johnice Reid Because education is an investment in our future not a voucher based private venture industry. Education (primary and grade school) is the building block for higher education and successes in all phases of life. Privatizing the education sysiem in this ...See More

Eric Ferrer

Eric Ferrer Federally backed loans enabled me to obtain an education. My children and their children should have the same opportunity.Romney suggested that we should all go and borrow from our parents. Well most of us don't have rich parents like him. ...See More

Patty Wright

Patty Wright Again I support Obama because if it were up to Romney it would be handled like a business and he would gut the education system, push the costs out to the states and do away with federally funded lunches.

Bob Wilkes

Bob Wilkes support charter schools.

Bill Hopper

Bill Hopper Evidence based

Anthony Davis

Anthony Davis Romney is trying to cut the Dept of Education. With his investment in a For-profit schools, Romney want you to pay him for your kids education. http://tinyurl.com/9y38983

Hanns Barker

Hanns Barker Definitely Obama! Once again,his approach to education is much more reasonable than Romney's or the GOP! I also don't believe creationism should be taught in schools,either! I think we should start national control of all ISD's because education is unequal ...See More

Ellen Gallagher

Ellen Gallagher He knows what it is like to have student loans for one thing.

Elaine Bishop

Elaine Bishop i am an educator

Eric Jackson

Eric Jackson He's for Education for everyone. Will support those who want to go to College.

Solja Itstrue

Solja Itstrue The President has given states the opportunity to compete for federal dollars by designing better educational experiences for our kids. He believes in education to his core, and it shows in his actions! He wants more funding for public schools ...See More

Susan H. Smith

Susan H. Smith President Obama places too much emphasis on standardized tests. However, he supports strong public schools as the core of the education system and he does not demonize teacher unions which not only safeguard teachers but work very diligently for superior ...See More

Dennis Gates

Dennis Gates The repubs want to cut education

Robert Lieb

Robert Lieb The GOP is so filled with hate at unions that they are willing to "throw out the baby with the bath water". When they do come up with a plan it's a joke like No Child Left Behind.

Ruth Fish

Ruth Fish President Obama's Ed. Plan is good, but I feel it could be much stronger!

Rachel Ward

Rachel Ward The unions need to be stopped and teachers need to be held accountable by giving them 1 year contracts. They need to stop "social promotion" of children who can't read/write, promoting them because it makes the teacher & school look ...See More

Jeff Egan

Jeff Egan No child left behind was a complete failure that needed to go.

Alan Ireland

Alan Ireland Simply because he cares , MR couldn't give a hoot about Joe or Joan American

Melissa Leitzel Martin

Melissa Leitzel Martin Never agreed with No Child Left Behind, and do not want to go back to that. I also appreciate Obama's stance on school loans. Not the biggest fan of Obama's support of Charter schools, and would rather see our resources ...See More

Angela R. Rudolph

Angela R. Rudolph His own words say it best: "My vision is to make sure that our education system is working for every child, not just some children. So I want to help school districts hire the best teachers, new teachers -- especially ...See More

Sandra Singer

Sandra Singer These are the most common sense solutions I see available for our country regarding education. I am still paying on my student loans, and both my son & daughter are repaying theirs as well. I want to see less emphasis ...See More

Brian Lehto

Brian Lehto I agree a with Obama on Education because of the things he has done with pell grants and student loans that can help me a member of the working poor to be able to pay back my student loans without ...See More

This is easy, lol....

Shaun Dakin

Shaun Dakin Because he is awesome.

Obama's Statements (592)

January 17, 2010
Now, there’s been a lot said in this race about how it’s not the Kennedy’s seat -- it’s the people’s seat.  And let me tell you, the first person who would agree with that was Ted Kennedy.   See, the only thing he loved more than the people of this commonwealth was serving the people of this commonwealth.    He waged a personal battle on behalf of every single one of you -- even if you don't know it -- for seniors who are living on fixed incomes, for families struggling to get health coverage for their children, for students who dream of a college education.    He fought for the working men and women whether they were teachers in Pittsfield or longshoremen in New Bedford.  Ted Kennedy was always on your side in so many of the battles that led this commonwealth and this nation forward.
Request a Fact Check
January 19, 2010
Now, it's clear that doing the same old things will not get the job done for our kids -- or for America, or for our future.  So when I took office, I asked Arne Duncan to work with states and local school districts to take on business as usual in our education system, and that's how the Race to the Top competition was born last July.  It's a national competition among states to improve our schools.
Request a Fact Check
January 19, 2010
Over the past few months, we've seen such a positive response that today I'm announcing our intention to make a major new investment -- more than $1.3 billion -- in this year's budget to continue the Race to the Top.  And this support will not only reaffirm our commitment to states engaged in serious reform, it will also expand the Race to the Top competition to include local school districts that are also committed to change.  So innovative districts like the one in Texas whose reform efforts are being stymied by state decision-makers will soon have the chance to earn funding to help them pursue those reforms.
Request a Fact Check
January 19, 2010
Third, we urged states to use cutting-edge data systems to track a child's progress throughout their academic career, and to link that child's progress to their teachers so we know what's working and what's not working in the classroom.  Fourth, we encouraged states to show a stronger commitment to turning around some of their lowest-performing schools.
Request a Fact Check
January 19, 2010
We'll open up opportunity -- evenly and equitably -- across our education system.  We'll develop a culture of innovation and excellence in our public schools.  And we'll reward success, and replicate it across the country.  These are some of the principles that drive Race to the Top.  These are some of the principles that will drive my forthcoming budget.
Request a Fact Check
January 19, 2010
These steps won't transform our education system overnight  -- not every school is going to be a Graham immediately.  But they will help put us on a path to raise the quality of American education, to prepare our children to succeed in their lives and their careers, and to secure America's success in the 21st century.  That's a goal my administration will be focused on achieving in the months and years to come.
Request a Fact Check
January 20, 2010
Now, in Washington, $5 billion might not seem like a lot of money.  But if we were to invest that money in education, it would be enough to cover the cost of annual college tuition for more than half a million students.  If we were to invest in health care, it would be enough to cover 2.5 million children.  If we were to invest it in energy, it would be enough to weatherize more than half a million homes.
Request a Fact Check
January 22, 2010
That's why we enacted initiatives that are beginning to give rise to a clean energy economy.  That's part of what's going on in this community college.  If we hadn't done anything with the Recovery Act, talk to the people who are building wind turbines and solar panels.  They would have told you their industry was about to collapse because credit had completely frozen.  And now you're seeing all across Ohio some of the -- this state has received more funds than just about anybody in order to build on that clean energy economy -- new cutting-edge wind turbines and batteries that are going to be going into energy-efficient cars.
Request a Fact Check
January 22, 2010
Q    Thank you, .  It's an honor to be here with you today.  I work here in LCCC's financial services office. I am proud to be part of finding pathways for students who attend college.  I feel that a college education is a lifeline to the future of our citizens.  We greatly appreciate the increase in the Pell Grant, which allowed our neediest students to access a college education.    It increased buying power as  college costs continue to rise.  My question to you is, will your administration support continued increases to the Pell Grant so that our neediest students have access to higher education?
Request a Fact Check
January 22, 2010
The answer is yes.  I want everybody to understand, we made -- and this was the help -- with the help of the members of Congress who are here -- made an enormous investment in higher education, making sure that young people could afford to go to great institutions like this.  So we significantly increased the level of each Pell Grant, and we also put more money so that we could have more Pell Grants.
Request a Fact Check
January 22, 2010
Now, we want to continue to do this.  I mentioned during my formal remarks the fact that a lot of banks and financial institutions are still serving as middlemen in the financial aid process, and they take out several billions dollars' worth of profits from that.  It turns out that actually it can be administered in such a way where these loans go directly to the students.  And if you do that, then you're saving several billion dollars that can then be put back into the system.  We want to get that finalized; we want to get that done.  That will be an enormous boost.
Request a Fact Check
January 22, 2010
Now, one thing I have to say, though.  Even as we put more money into the Student Loan Program, we are also trying to reach out to university presidents and administrators to figure out how can we reduce the inflation in higher education -- because the fact is, is that the only thing that has gone up faster in cost than health care is -- guess what.  Higher education.  And the problem is, if we're not thinking about ways to curve the inflation, then even if we put more money in, what that money is buying becomes less and less.  And so trying to find creative ways for universities to do more with less is going to be important.
Request a Fact Check
January 22, 2010
Now, in fairness to universities and colleges, part of the reason they've been having to jack up their costs is they used to get more support from the state.  State budgets got into a hole, and then it became harder, and so they had to make it up on the tuition side.  Nevertheless, what is also true, though, is just their general costs of operating have gone up in ways that I think we can improve.  So we're going to be working on that as well.
Request a Fact Check
January 22, 2010
One of the provisions -- one of the reforms we want is to make sure that your 26- or 27-year-old could, up until that age, could stay on your insurance, so that once they get out of high school and college, they can stay on their parents' insurance for a few years until they've got a more stable job.
Request a Fact Check
January 25, 2010
For two years, Joe and I traveled this country and we heard stories that are all too familiar:  stories of Americans barely able to stay afloat despite working harder and harder for less; premiums that were doubling, tuition fees that were rising almost as fast; savings being used up, retirements put off, dreams put on hold.  That was all before the middle class got pounded by the full fury of the worst economic crisis since the Great Depression.
Request a Fact Check
January 25, 2010
THE VICE PRESIDENT:  Hey, folks.  A year ago when President Obama established the Middle Class Task Force and asked me to chair it -- and I might add, we were only in office I think two days, Melody, when he set up this Middle Class Task Force -- because as we campaigned around the country, he made it clear that we were going to be sure that as we grew this economy, the middle class was not left behind as they had been the previous 10 to 12 years.  And as we move from recession to recovery, our focus is the middle class.
Request a Fact Check
January 25, 2010
The fourth thing is we're going to be strengthening the income-based repayment program for student loans -- fancy way of saying a lot of kids and families graduate with significant loan responsibility and literally -- literally are left with very few options.  They've got to go out and get the highest-paying job they can, maybe in an area they had no intention of working in, just to pay back the loan.
Request a Fact Check
January 25, 2010
So our proposal ensures that Federal Student Loan payments for overburdened borrowers are never more than 10 percent of their income -- a change like that makes a real difference for a kid just out of school.  For someone who earns 30,000 bucks and owes $20,000 in loans, this would lower his or her monthly payment from $228 a month under the standard repayment plan to $115 a month.  People who have to budget every day just to get by, they understand that's a big difference.  That's a big difference.
Request a Fact Check
January 27, 2010
We can't afford another so-called economic "expansion" like the one from the last decade –- what some call the "lost decade" -– where jobs grew more slowly than during any prior expansion; where the income of the average American household declined while the cost of health care and tuition reached record highs; where prosperity was built on a housing bubble and financial speculation.
Request a Fact Check
January 27, 2010
When we renew the Elementary and Secondary Education Act, we will work with Congress to expand these reforms to all 50 states.  Still, in this economy, a high school diploma no longer guarantees a good job.  That's why I urge the Senate to follow the House and pass a bill that will revitalize our community colleges, which are a career pathway to the children of so many working families. 
Request a Fact Check
January 27, 2010
To make college more affordable, this bill will finally end the unwarranted taxpayer subsidies that go to banks for student loans.    Instead, let's take that money and give families a $10,000 tax credit for four years of college and increase Pell Grants.    And let's tell another one million students that when they graduate, they will be required to pay only 10 percent of their income on student loans, and all of their debt will be forgiven after 20 years –- and forgiven after 10 years if they choose a career in public service, because in the United States of America, no one should go broke because they chose to go to college. 
Request a Fact Check
January 27, 2010
Now, the price of college tuition is just one of the burdens facing the middle class.  That's why last year I asked Vice President Biden to chair a task force on middle-class families.  That's why we're nearly doubling the child care tax credit, and making it easier to save for retirement by giving access to every worker a retirement account and expanding the tax credit for those who start a nest egg.  That's why we're working to lift the value of a family's single largest investment –- their home.  The steps we took last year to shore up the housing market have allowed millions of Americans to take out new loans and save an average of $1,500 on mortgage payments.
Request a Fact Check
January 28, 2010
And Tampa, like so many communities across our country, has felt the lash of shuttered businesses and lost jobs and home foreclosures and vanished or dwindling savings.  And this storm came at the end of what some call a lost decade -- because what happened between 2000 and now, it was a decade in which paychecks shrank and jobs barely grew, and the costs of everything from health care to college education went up.  Irresponsibility from Wall Street to Washington left good, responsible Americans who did everything right still struggling in ways they never imagined.
Request a Fact Check
January 28, 2010
We're not going to stop fighting to give our kids a world-class education, to make college more affordable, to make sure that by 2020 we have the highest rate of college attendance of any country in the world.    So we proposed that graduates should only pay 10 percent of their income to pay back their student loans.    Students like that.    And what I've said is we'll forgive student loan debt after 20 years -- but after 10 if you choose a career in public service.  Because if you decide you want to be a teacher -- if you decide you want to be a cop, if you're not making huge amounts of money we don't want to discourage you from that because of the cost of college.  And by the way, I've been there and Michelle has been there -- it took us 10 full years to pay off Michelle's student loans, 15 to pay mine off.    So I've been there.  And our belief, and I think your belief, is in the United States of America nobody should go broke because they chose to go to college.  We want everybody to go to college, and we don't want them going broke doing it. 
Request a Fact Check
February 18, 2010
Michael closed a budget deficit and balanced two budgets in a row by finding innovative ways to get the job of city government done.  Then, he took over the public school system where progress was stalled and budgets were shrinking, and he turned that around, too.    He invested in your schools and your classrooms, he expanded early childhood education for your kids, finished with graduation rates up and student achievement climbing faster than in any other district in the state.    In just a few short years, Michael proved himself to be one of America's great education reformers.
Request a Fact Check
February 19, 2010
And it's got to stop, because the challenges have been mounting all around us.  A health care system that saddles businesses and families with skyrocketing costs.  An economy powered by fuels -- are fuels of the 20th century instead of the 21st, and endanger our planet and our security.  We've got an education system unsuited for a global era, and a financial system that has been rewarding reckless risks.  And we've got a structural deficit that threatens to leave our children a mountain of debt.
Request a Fact Check
February 19, 2010
That's the future.  That's the future, Henderson.  That's going to be one of the main things that helps to bankrupt local school districts, because all these teachers, all these employees, those health care costs go up.  Universities -- those young people who are about to go to college, part of the reason your tuition is going up is because every employee at the university, their health care costs are going up.  And that gets passed on to you.
Request a Fact Check
February 19, 2010
So we want to make sure that we are recruiting more math teachers, we're recruiting more science teachers.  We want all outstanding teachers to be getting higher pay.    We want to make sure that there's constant professional development when it comes to the teaching profession, so that if you had the best way of teaching math five years ago, it might not be the best way of teaching math five years from now, and so you should be able to go back and constantly sharpen your skills.
Request a Fact Check
February 19, 2010
To the students I want to say this.  We're doing a lot of work on education reform.  We are doing a lot to bring in new teachers, to improve classrooms, to make sure that they're all connected to the Internet, to make sure that college is more affordable.    But let me just say that it won't make any difference if our students aren’t working a little bit harder. 
Request a Fact Check
February 22, 2010
This all goes hand in hand with our efforts to give every American a complete and competitive education.  We are making college more affordable by increasing Pell Grants, we're continuing a new $2,500 tax credit for four years of college tuition, we are working to ease graduates’ debt burdens, because I believe and I think you do too that nobody should go broke because they decided to go to college.  We’ve provided the resources to effectively implement the Post-9/11 GI Bill, because every returning soldier should have the chance to begin a new life prepared for the new economy.
Request a Fact Check
February 22, 2010
We’re strengthening our community colleges, because all of you know that they are outstanding career pathways for the children of so many working families.  And we’re working to reform the student loan program and save tens of billions of dollars that currently go to subsidizing financial intermediaries, because instead of having that money go to middle men we think it makes sense to spend that money educating the next generation.
Request a Fact Check
February 24, 2010
And what’s more, this recession follows what some have called the “lost decade” -– a decade in which the average family income fell while the costs of health care and tuition skyrocketed; a decade in which a continued erosion of America’s manufacturing base hollowed out many communities around the country and put too many good jobs out of reach.
Request a Fact Check
February 24, 2010
Not only does that kind of rhetoric deny our history, but it prevents us from asking hard questions about the right balance between the private and public sectors.  Let me give you some examples.  Too little investment in a competitive infrastructure or an education system that works for our children and we risk falling behind countries that are making these investments right now.  On the other hand, if we just throw money at poorly planned projects or failing schools, then we'll remain in debt to those same countries for decades to come.
Request a Fact Check
February 24, 2010
And to achieve my goal of ensuring America again has the highest proportion of college graduates in the world by 2020, I’m urging the Senate to pass a bill that will make college more affordable by ending the unnecessary taxpayer subsidies that go to financial intermediaries for student loans.  It’s a bill that will also revitalize our community colleges, which this organization has recognized are a career pathway to the children of so many working families.
Request a Fact Check
February 25, 2010
We have somebody who has been a great entrepreneur of the arts who we're glad accepted the position of chairman of the NEA, Mr. Rocco Landesman, who is here.  Please give him a big round of applause.    Another individual who had an extraordinarily distinguished career in Congress and has been a consistent supporter of the arts and the humanities, and is somebody who doesn’t just talk bipartisan, but has always walked the bipartisan walk -- we're grateful to have him here, Mr. Jim Leach, chairman of the NEH.    Where’s Jim?  There he is.
Request a Fact Check
February 26, 2010
Thank you, everybody.  Please have a seat.    Thank you very much.  Well, it is wonderful to be here.  And thank you for the outstanding introduction by Mr. Smart.  And I was complimenting him on his bowtie -- (laughter)  -- as well as the excellent scholarship that he’s showing.  I want to thank all the student leaders from HBCUs and some of the fantastic men and women that I've named to serve on my HBCU advisory board.  So thank you, all of you, for what you are contributing to this important cause.
Request a Fact Check
February 26, 2010
I also want to acknowledge Dr. Earl Richardson, who is finishing tenure as President of Morgan State University.  Please, sir.    And a great friend, President of Hampton University for more than 30 years, Dr. William Harvey.    I promised him I'd come back to Hampton, so I'm going to be speaking at his commencement this year. 
Request a Fact Check
February 26, 2010
Before the Civil War and the creation of what we now call the Historically Black Colleges and Universities, an education –- much less a higher education -– just wasn’t possible for most African Americans.  Where it was happening, reading and writing were often taught in secret.  But as the Civil War ended and the 13th and 14th and 15th amendments were signed, a freed people demanded a freed mind.  And the war on illiteracy and ignorance began.
Request a Fact Check
February 26, 2010
But like all colleges and universities, HBCUs face tough challenges today.  Endowments and state budgets are shrinking, too many facilities are deteriorating, enrollment is falling -– and the cost of education keeps going up.  And these schools feel the pain more acutely –- they do more with less, and they enroll higher proportions of low- and middle-income students.  And that's why the Recovery Act that was passed last year invested in their infrastructure and technology and nearly doubled the Pell Grant award.  And that's why the budget I've proposed this year increases HBCU funding by nearly $100 million at the Department of Education alone.
Request a Fact Check
February 26, 2010
That’s why education reform has been a top priority of my administration.  We launched a national competition to improve our schools by investing only in reform that closes the achievement gap, and inspires students to excel in math and science, and turns around failing schools that steal the future from too many young Americans.  We’re working with states and governors to develop and implement standards that better position all our students to graduate high school prepared for college and careers.
Request a Fact Check
February 26, 2010
I’ve urged the Senate to pass a bill that will make college more affordable by ending unnecessary taxpayer subsidies that go to financial intermediaries for student loans, revitalize our community colleges that serve as career pathways for the children of so many working families, and invest more than $2 billion in Minority Serving Institutions, including HBCUs.  All of this will help achieve our goal of ensuring that America once again has the highest proportion of college graduates in the world by 2020 -– and keeping our HBCUs strong is vital to achieving that goal.
Request a Fact Check
March 30, 2010
Last week, our President signed an historic health care bill that will provide quality, affordable medical care for millions of Americans.    Today we are here to celebrate another historic piece of legislation -- one that will make a college education a reality for millions of middle-class Americans. 
Request a Fact Check
March 30, 2010
All of us here today know that higher education is essential to the success of our children and vital to the economic future of our country.  But too many American families, they’ve had to take on crushing debt to pursue a college degree.  I see every day in my classroom just how hard my students work in order to pay their tuition bills.  Often their family budgets are stretched to the limit.  And when things get tough -- someone loses a job or a family member gets sick -- a college education is the first thing to go.
Request a Fact Check
March 30, 2010
I am pleased to say that the reforms in this bill will make a huge difference to those Americans who need it most.  The expansions in Pell Grants will provide critical financial support to millions of middle-class Americans who are struggling with the costs of college.  The caps on student loan repayments will ensure that our students don’t go broke because they chose to pursue a college education.  And I am particularly thrilled that this bill invests in community colleges across our country so that more students can gain the knowledge and technical job skills that they need to compete and succeed.
Request a Fact Check
March 30, 2010
I have seen firsthand the power of community colleges to change lives and serve as a gateway to opportunity for students at all stages of their lives and careers.  This bill increases investments in community colleges around the country to help these institutions do what they do best -- prepare our students for the workforce of today and tomorrow.
Request a Fact Check
March 30, 2010
The President has set an ambitious goal for higher education in this country.  By 2020, we want America once again to have the highest proportion of college graduates in the world.    To make this happen, we’ll need to invest in these students and invest in the colleges that they will attend.
Request a Fact Check
March 30, 2010
You see, for almost two decades, we’ve been trying to fix a sweetheart deal in federal law that essentially gave billions of dollars to banks to act as unnecessary middlemen in administering student loans.  So those are billions of dollars that could have been spent helping more of our students attend and complete college; that could have been spent advancing the dreams of our children; that could have been spent easing the burden of tuition on middle-class families.  Instead, that money was spent padding student lenders’ profits.
Request a Fact Check
March 30, 2010
We need to invest that money in our students.  We need to invest in our community colleges.  We need to invest in the future of this country.  We need to meet the goal I set last year and graduate more of our students than any other nation by the year 2020.  And through the extraordinary leadership of Education Secretary Arne Duncan, that’s what the reforms I’m signing today will help us do. 
Request a Fact Check
March 30, 2010
And I just -- President Templin handed me a sheet just as I walked in.  Just in case you’re wondering whether this makes a difference, so far this year -- and the year isn’t over -- right here at NOVA, Pell Grant recipients increased by 41 percent over last year.    The total dollar amount of Pell Grants increased by 59 percent.  The number of federally guaranteed loans increased by 43 percent and loan awards increased by 68 percent.  That’s right here at this one community college, because of the steps that we had already taken. 
Request a Fact Check
March 30, 2010
Community colleges like NOVA are incredibly important because they serve a varied group of learners, from recent high school grads seeking a pathway to a college degree, to adults seeking training for the jobs of tomorrow.  By forging private sector partnerships, community colleges can offer students the education and training they need to find a good job when they graduate -- and it helps offer businesses the assurance they need that graduates will be ready for the jobs that they’re hired to do.
Request a Fact Check
March 30, 2010
And because community colleges like NOVA are so essential to a competitive workforce, I’ve asked your outstanding professor, Dr. Jill Biden -- who does not have enough to do -- to host a summit on community colleges at the White House this fall.  And we’re going to bring everybody together, from educators to students, experts to business leaders.  We are going to bring everybody together to share innovative ideas about how we can help students earn degrees and credentials, and to forge private sector partnerships so we can better prepare America’s workforce and America’s workers to succeed in the 21st century.
Request a Fact Check
March 30, 2010
Now, to help open the doors of higher education to more students, we’ll also reinvest part of that $68 billion in savings in Pell Grants, one of the most popular forms of financial aid.  Pell Grants once covered more than three-quarters of the cost of going to college.  But now, because the cost of college has skyrocketed, the amount Pell Grants cover is about one-third.   Today, students hoping to attend college on a Pell Grant are going to be able to feel more secure, because not only are we going to offer over 800,000 additional Pell awards over the next 10 years, we’re also going to raise the amount they’re worth to almost $6,000, so that inflation doesn’t erode the value of your grant. 
Request a Fact Check
March 30, 2010
Now, third, we’re going to restore a measure of fairness to how students repay their loans.  Today, two out of every three students graduates with help from a loan, and often they take on a mountain of debt as a result.  Here in Virginia, the typical student carries almost $20,000 in debt.  Across the country, the average student graduates with over $23,000 in debt.  I know what that’s like.  Michelle and I had big debts coming out of school  -- debts we weren’t able to fully repay until just a few years before I started running for office.
Request a Fact Check
March 30, 2010
Today, we’re making it easier for responsible students to pay off their loans.  Right now, if you’re a borrower, you don’t have to spend more than 15 percent of your income on loans.  But starting in 2014, you won’t have to pay more than 10 percent of your income in repaying your student loans.    That will make a meaningful difference for over one million more students.  We’re also going to give students an incentive to do what’s right -- if you pay your loans on time, you’ll only have to pay them off for 20 years.  And you’ll only have to pay them off for 10 years if you repay them with service to your community, and to our country, as a teacher or a nurse or a member of our Armed Forces. 
Request a Fact Check
March 30, 2010
The reforms in this bill are significant, but they’re just part of a broader effort to strengthen our entire higher education system.  We’re putting college tuition tax credits in the pockets of millions of students from working families to help them pay for college.  We’ve taken steps to simplify the federal college assistance form -– called the FAFSA -– because it shouldn’t take a PhD to apply for financial aid.    And we’re helping ensure that America’s high school graduates are ready for college.  All of this is paid for.  We’re redirecting money that was poorly spent to make sure we’re making investments in our future.
Request a Fact Check
March 30, 2010
Now, this won’t solve all of our problems in higher education.  We continue to expect colleges and universities to do their part to hold down tuition increases.    That has to happen.  We’ve got to work on that.  And we also need to take greater initiative not only to help more students enter college, we’ve got to make sure that we see more students successfully earn a college degree.  But what we’ve done over the past year represents enormous progress.
Request a Fact Check
March 30, 2010
So I’ll close by saying this.  For a long time, our student loan system has worked for banks and financial institutions. Today, we’re finally making our student loan system work for students and our families.  But we’re also doing something more. From the moment I was sworn into office, I’ve spoken about the urgent need for us to lay a new foundation for our economy and for our future.  And two pillars of that foundation are health care and education, and each has long suffered from problems that we chose to kick down the road.
Request a Fact Check
April 26, 2010
So it’s somebody like Mark Teixeira.  Before he was a three-time Golden Glove winner, Mark was a 21-year-old kid fresh out of Georgia Tech.  Shortly after signing his first Major League contract, Mark visited his old high school and asked how much it would cost to set up a scholarship in the name of a friend who had been killed in a car accident.  And when he was told it would cost $75,000, he wrote a check on the spot.  He’s been funding that scholarship ever since -– helping to make the dream of college a reality for students in his hometown. 
Request a Fact Check
April 27, 2010
By the way, that’s why we took on the special interests.  We finally reformed the student loan system so it works for students and not bankers.    Saved us tens of billions of dollars in wasteful spending, and we’re reinvesting that money where it should have gone in the first place -– and that's to your education.  We’re making college more affordable, and we’re upgrading America’s most under-appreciated asset -– and that's community colleges just like this one.  And we’re proud to do it.
Request a Fact Check
April 27, 2010
So we can eliminate all foreign aid, all earmarks, and we’d still have a huge problem, because most of our budget goes to Social Security, Medicare, Medicaid, defense spending.  Those things account for about 70 percent of the budget.  Everything else we do is only about 30 percent of the budget -- everything from national forests to the Agricultural Department to student loans.  All that stuff is only -- is less than a third of our budget.
Request a Fact Check
April 27, 2010
Q    My mom is a teacher at the high school, too -- just thought I’d bring that up.  She’s -- well, we were just wondering, you talk a lot in the Recovery Act about how you will get -- you will have student loans for kids that graduate high school to go to college, but what about the kids that do not graduate high school? 
Request a Fact Check
April 27, 2010
But I’ll answer your question.  You’re absolutely right that we can do a great job financing community colleges and student loans and college educations, but if we haven’t dealt with K through 12 we’re going to have problems.  And the truth is we’re slipping behind.  We used to have by far the best education system in the world, by a huge margin.  And we don’t now.  I mean, we’ve got some of -- we still have the best universities in the world, the best college system in the world, and we have some of the best schools in the world.  But our overall education system is kind of in the middle of the pack, in terms of advanced countries, especially in science and math, which is a huge problem because science and math is the future.  That's what’s going to allow you to innovate.
Request a Fact Check
April 27, 2010
But what we had to do, moving forward, is, number one, really emphasize teaching.  We’ve got to treat our teachers better.  We’ve got to give more professional development.  We’ve got to pay them higher salaries.    We’ve got to attract more young people to go into teaching.  We’ve got to put a bigger emphasis on math and science teaching.  So we’ve just got to give teachers a lot more support than they’re getting right now.
Request a Fact Check
April 27, 2010
So that's the bargain that we’re trying to strike with teachers:  more support for teachers, more professional development, better pay, better incentives, but also we want to make sure that teachers help to shape an accountability system so our kids we know are doing well.  That's going to be the single most important thing we can do. 
Request a Fact Check
April 27, 2010
And we are going to -- and we set up something called Race To The Top, which is a competitive fund where we say to local school districts and states, you know what, if you can come up with great ways to train teachers, great ways to hold the school system accountable, you’re focusing on not just the best students but also the low-performing students -- if you do these things that we know work in terms of reform, then we’re going to give you a little bit of extra money, a little bit of incentive.  We’re going to allow you to compete for excellence, not compete for mediocrity.
Request a Fact Check
April 27, 2010
The last thing I’m going to say -- and this is actually important not only about education but about how we’re going to succeed as a nation in this new century.  We can have the best teachers in the world, we can fund the best programs in the world, we can give all the scholarships in the world, but if parents aren’t parenting their kids and emphasizing the importance of learning and education, then it’s not going to make any difference.  That’s the key. 
Request a Fact Check
April 27, 2010
So I want everybody here as parents, as community members, as church members, to know that if we’re supporting our kids -- if we’re supporting our kids and we are instilling the values of responsibility, and hard work, and excellence, and second place isn’t good enough -- that’s how America got built.  That’s how we’re going to build up our education system.  That’s how we’re going to improve our economy.  Government can only do so much.  We’re going to be there to partner with you, but you’re going to have to make it happen.
Request a Fact Check
April 28, 2010
I don’t know if people paid attention to this.  Because we were having such a big debate around health care, people may have missed this.  The way the student loan system was working, the federal government was guaranteeing these loans but the banks were still taking billions of dollars of profits out of the student loan program.  And my attitude is, well, if we’re guaranteeing them, then where’s the risk?  So what are you getting paid for?
Request a Fact Check
April 28, 2010
I want to thank POET for their great hospitality today.  I want to make a few acknowledgements.  We've got some special guests:  first of all, your outstanding governor of the great state of Missouri -- Jay Nixon.    The mayor of Macon, Doug Bagley.    One of my favorite people who I believe is going to be doing outstanding things, has already done great work as Secretary of State and I think is going to be an outstanding -- eventually -- United States senator as well, Robin Carnahan.    Your Attorney General, Chris Koster, is here.    The Missouri Director of Agriculture, Dr. John Hagler, is here. 
Request a Fact Check
April 28, 2010
That means making our schools more competitive, and our colleges and our community colleges more affordable to young people.  That means health insurance reform that gives families and businesses more choice, and more competition, and better protection from some of the worst abuses of the insurance industry.  It means common-sense reforms that prevent the irresponsibility of a few people on Wall Street wreaking havoc all across Main Street, all across America.  And it means igniting a new, clean-energy economy that generates good jobs right here in the United States and starts freeing ourselves from dependence on foreign oil. 
Request a Fact Check
April 29, 2010
But let’s be clear -– I think all the teachers here would agree with me this is not the responsibility of teachers alone.  Our teachers can prepare the best lesson plans imaginable, but you all can’t guarantee that your students will show up ready to learn.  You can be there for them before school, after school, and during lunch, but you can’t be there at night to make sure those assignments get done, or in the morning to make sure they’re out of bed and to school on time.  You can give your students all the encouragement in the world, but you can’t give them the constant support and unconditional love that they need to succeed.
Request a Fact Check
April 29, 2010
So let’s turn off the TV.  Let’s put away the video games. Let’s read to our kids once in a while.  Let’s make sure that homework is done, and that they get a good night’s sleep and a decent breakfast.  Let’s reach out to their teachers and ask what we can do to help.  Let’s be partners with teachers to prepare our kids to lead productive, fulfilling lives.
Request a Fact Check
May 20, 2010
Because of Wall Street reform, we’ll soon have in place the strongest consumer protections in history.  If you’ve ever applied for a credit card, a student loan, or a mortgage, you know the feeling of signing your name to pages of barely understandable fine print.  It’s a big step for most families, but one that’s often filled with unnecessary confusion and apprehension.  As a result, many Americans are simply duped into hidden fees and loans they just can’t afford by companies that know exactly what they’re doing.
Request a Fact Check
May 20, 2010
I also said when I took office that we can’t simply rebuild this economy on the same pile of sand -- on maxed-out credit cards or housing bubbles or reckless risk-taking on Wall Street. We’re going to have to build it on a firmer, stronger foundation for economic growth.  That’s why we invested in renewable energies that currently have the potential of creating new jobs all across America.  That’s why we’re reforming our education system so that our workers can compete on the global stage.  That’s why we passed health care reform that will lower costs for families and businesses.  And that’s why we’re about to pass financial regulatory reform -- to protect consumers and ensure that we don’t have another crisis caused by the irresponsibility of a few.
Request a Fact Check
May 26, 2010
We know that if we want to build a real future in an economy this competitive with China and India and Brazil and other countries on the rise, that we’re going to have to go back to basics.  We’ve got to fix our education system.  We’ve got to make sure that every young person in America has a chance to go to college.    We’ve got to make sure -- and by the way, you may have missed it during the health care debate, but we added billions of dollars in funding to student loans by cutting out the financial middlemen.    That was just -- that didn't even get front-page news. 
Request a Fact Check
June 25, 2010
Over the last 17 months, we passed an economic Recovery Act, health insurance reform, education reform, and we are now on the brink of passing Wall Street reform. And at the G20 summit this weekend, I’ll work with other nations not only to coordinate our financial reform efforts, but to promote global economic growth while ensuring that each nation can pursue a path that is sustainable for its own public finances.
Request a Fact Check
June 30, 2010
And the other thing is, there are no powerful interests to lobby for a clean energy future that may be starting years from now, or the research that may lead to the life-saving medical breakthrough a decade from now.  There aren’t powerful lobbyists for the student who may not be able to afford a college education right now but if they got that college education would end up starting a business that would create thousands of jobs here in Wisconsin.
Request a Fact Check
June 30, 2010
Some of that we can't stop.  I mean, that's just technology, the world has shrunk.  We've got to be more competitive.  And what that means is our workers have to be better trained than we've ever been, which means we've got to make sure our education system is the best in the world, and that our kids are going to -- get secondary school and community college and university educations.
Request a Fact Check
June 30, 2010
We helped universities and community colleges to create new labs and set up a better infrastructure.  And as part of the health care bill -- a lot of people don't know this -- that as part of the health care bill we also have an education bill in there.  It’s just the health care bill is getting so much attention, people miss the fact that we changed the rules so that the way previously the student loan program was working, it would go through a bank or a financial institution and they took out billions of dollars of profits even though the loan was guaranteed so they weren’t taking any risk.  So we said, well, if the government is guaranteeing this loan, why are we going through a bank?  Let’s just give it directly to the student.  We’ll take that money to reduce the cost of the loan. 
Request a Fact Check
June 30, 2010
So here was the answer.  What we’re doing is we’re putting more money into student loans.  We’re also talking to universities and colleges about how they can control their costs so that tuition is not so expensive.  And we need to make sure that colleges and universities are doing their part.  They can’t just keep on jacking up rates 15 percent a year and then expect Uncle Sam to come in and help students pay more and more money.  So they’ve got to control their costs as well.
Request a Fact Check
June 30, 2010
And by the way, I want to make clear, this doesn’t just mean a four-year college.    Community colleges are doing great work.    And one of the things that we’re trying to do is to work with community colleges so that they can be matched up with businesses and employers to help set up -- sometimes it might just be a one-year training program, sometimes it might just be a six-month training program -- that would help workers train for jobs that are actually there, that actually exist, so that when you go through that program you know that there’s a job there for you.
Request a Fact Check
June 30, 2010
And so not only do we want to make sure that you have the money you need for college in those first four years, or first two if you’re going to community college, but you have the opportunity for life-long learning, so that a worker who is 35 or 40 wants to suddenly make a career change, or suddenly they’ve got new computers and equipment in their plant and they’ve got to retrain, that they’ve got an opportunity to get that training so that they can keep on upgrading their skills, get more money, get a higher paycheck, get more job security.
Request a Fact Check
July 21, 2010
Now, for all those Americans who are wondering what Wall Street reform means for you, here’s what you can expect.  If you’ve ever applied for a credit card, a student loan, or a mortgage, you know the feeling of signing your name to pages of barely understandable fine print.  What often happens as a result is that many Americans are caught by hidden fees and penalties, or saddled with loans they can’t afford.
Request a Fact Check
July 29, 2010
It’s an economic issue when the unemployment rate for folks who’ve never gone to college is almost double what it is for those who have gone to college.    It’s an economic issue when eight in 10 new jobs will require workforce training or a higher education by the end of this decade.  It’s an economic issue when countries that out-educate us today are going to out-compete us tomorrow.
Request a Fact Check
July 29, 2010
Now, because a higher education has never been more important –- or more expensive -– it’s absolutely essential that we put a college degree within reach for anyone who wants it.  And that’s why we’re making higher education more affordable, so we can meet the goals I’ve set of producing a higher share of college graduates than any other nation by 2020.  I want us to be back at number one instead of number 12. 
Request a Fact Check
July 29, 2010
And in pursuit of that goal, we eliminated taxpayer subsidies to big banks.  We saved tens of billions of dollars, and we used those savings to open the door to additional financial aid -- to open the door for college to millions more students.  This is something that a lot of you may not be aware of, but we have added tens of billions of dollars that were going to bank middlemen, so that that money is now going to students -- millions more students who are getting scholarships to go to college.    That’s already been done.
Request a Fact Check
July 29, 2010
And we’re reinvesting in our Historically Black Colleges and Universities.    Our HBCUs, we are reinvesting in them, while at the same time reforming and strengthening our community college, which are great, undervalued assets -- great assets that are a lifeline to so many working families in every community across America.
Request a Fact Check
July 29, 2010
That’s why I want to challenge our states to offer better early learning options to make sure our children aren’t wasting their most formative years -- so that they can enter into kindergarten already ready to learn -- knowing their colors, knowing their numbers, knowing their shapes, knowing how to sit still.    Right?  That’s no joke.  You got to learn that, especially when you’re a boy.    That’s why we placed such heavy emphasis on the education our children are getting from kindergarten through 12th grade.
Request a Fact Check
July 29, 2010
So I want teachers to have higher salaries.  I want them to have more support.  I want them to be trained like the professionals they are –- with rigorous residencies like the ones that doctors go through.     I want to give them a career ladder so they’ve opportunities to advance, and earn real financial security.  I don't want talented young people to say I’d love to teach but I can’t afford it. 
Request a Fact Check
July 29, 2010
I want to commend some of the teachers unions across this country who are working with us to improve teaching -- like the Delaware Education Association, which is working with state leaders as part of their Race to the Top efforts, not only to set aside 90 minutes of collaboration time a week to improve instruction, but to strengthen teacher development and evaluation.  That's the right way to go.
Request a Fact Check
July 29, 2010
Now, so far, about 30 states have come together to embrace and develop common standards, high standards.  More states are expected to do so in the coming weeks.  And by the way, this is different from No Child Left Behind, because what that did was it gave the states the wrong incentives.  A bunch of states watered down their standards so that school districts wouldn’t be penalized when their students fell short.  And what’s happened now is, at least two states -– Illinois and Oklahoma –- that lowered standards in response to No Child Behind -- No Child Left Behind -- are now raising those standards back up, partly in response to Race to the Top.
Request a Fact Check
July 29, 2010
And that’s why we’re challenging states to turn around our 5,000 lowest performing schools.  And I don’t think it’s any secret that most of those are serving African American or Hispanic kids.  We’re investing over $4 billion to help them do that, to transform those schools -– $4 billion, which even in Washington is real money.    This isn’t about -- unlike No Child Left Behind, this isn’t about labeling a troubled school a failure and then just throwing up your hands and saying, well, we’re giving up on you.  It’s about investing in that school’s future, and recruiting the whole community to help turn it around, and identifying viable options for how to move forward.
Request a Fact Check
July 29, 2010
And I know there are a number of other steps we need to take to lift up our education system -- like saving teachers’ jobs across this country from layoffs -- and I’ll continue fighting to take those steps and save those jobs.  But I’ll also continue to fight for Race to the Top with everything I’ve got, including using a veto to prevent some folks from watering it down. 
Request a Fact Check
July 29, 2010
Now, let me wrap up by saying this.  I know there are some who say that Race to the Top won’t work.  There are cynics and naysayers who argue that the problems in our education system are too entrenched, that think that we’ll just fall back into the same old arguments and divides that have held us back for so long.  And it is true, as I’ve said since I ran for President, and that everybody here knows firsthand, change is hard.  I don't know if you’ve noticed.  That's why I’ve got all this gray hair.
Request a Fact Check
July 29, 2010
Fixing what was broken in our health care system is not easy.  Fixing what was broken on Wall Street is not easy.  Fixing what’s broken in our education system is not easy.  We won’t see results overnight.  It may take a decade for these changes to pay off.  But that’s not a reason not to make them.  It’s a reason to start making them right now, to feel a sense of urgency -- the fierce urgency of now. 
Request a Fact Check
July 29, 2010
So, yes, our federal government has responsibilities that it has to meet, and I will keep on making sure the federal government meets those responsibilities.  Our governors, our superintendents, our states, our school districts have responsibilities to meet.  And parents have responsibilities that they have to meet.  And our children have responsibilities that they have to meet. 
Request a Fact Check
July 29, 2010
I got a letter recently postmarked Covington, Kentucky.  It was from Na’Dreya Lattimore, 10 years old -- about the same age as Sasha.  And she told me about how her school had closed, so she had enrolled in another.  Then she had bumped up against other barriers to what she felt was her potential.  So Na’Dreya was explaining to me how we need to improve our education system.
Request a Fact Check
August 16, 2010
Now, that’s not easy.  We’ve been through a terrible recession -– the worst that we’ve seen since the Great Depression.  And this recession was the culmination of a decade that fell like a sledgehammer on middle-class families.  For the better part of 10 years, people were seeing stagnant incomes and sluggish growth and skyrocketing health care costs and skyrocketing tuition bills, and people were feeling less secure economically.
Request a Fact Check
August 16, 2010
Now, that’s not easy. We’ve been through a terrible recession -– the worst that we’ve seen since the Great Depression.  And this recession was the culmination of a decade that fell like a sledgehammer on middle-class families.  For the better part of 10 years, people were seeing stagnant incomes and sluggish growth and skyrocketing health care costs and skyrocketing tuition bills, and people were feeling less secure economically.
Request a Fact Check
August 17, 2010
Part of what has made this recession so tough is middle-class families were struggling before the crisis hit.  They were hurting before the storm struck.  They had seen a decade of sluggish growth.  They had seen a decade of sluggish job growth.  Incomes and wages had gone down for most families when you factored in inflation, at the same time that health care and tuition were all skyrocketing.
Request a Fact Check
August 17, 2010
We’ve got to make sure that our workers can compete on -- with any other workers on Earth.  And that's why we’re also reforming our education system based on what works for our children, not on what works for the status quo.  We’ve eliminated billions of dollars in taxpayer subsidies to the big banks that provide college loans so that all those billions of dollars can go to make a college education more affordable for millions of students.  Patty was one of the people who took the lead in that critical change.  
Request a Fact Check
August 17, 2010
If we did not deal with our health care system now, we were looking at the possibility that health care alone -- Medicare and Medicaid -- would consume all of our discretionary spending at the federal level -- all of it -- because of the direction that health care cost was going.  If we didn’t tackle the education system now, then not only have we slipped already from first to 12th in college graduation rates, we might have slipped even further.
Request a Fact Check
August 17, 2010
We revamped our student loan system so that, instead of sending tens of billions of dollars to the banks as middlemen for guaranteed loans where they were taking no risk, we were able to cut out the middleman.  And now millions more young people here in Washington State and all across the country are going to be able to get assistance to go to college, which means they’re going to be able to go to work for Microsoft or all these other wonderful companies that are up here.    And we’ll be able to maintain our cutting edge -- which reminds me we also made the largest investment in research and development in our history -- because the essence of America is innovation and entrepreneurship and technological leadership.
Request a Fact Check
August 18, 2010
The thing that will probably most determine our success in the 21st century is going to be our education system.  I’ll just give you a quick statistic.  A generation ago, we ranked number one in the number of college graduates.  We’ve now slipped to number 12 in the number of college graduates.  That’s just in one generation.  That is putting us at a huge competitive disadvantage.  Because, look, companies these days, they can locate anywhere.  You’ve got an Internet line, you can set your company up in India, you can set up your company in the Czech Republic -- it doesn’t really matter where you are.
Request a Fact Check
August 18, 2010
And what we’ve done is we’ve set up something called the Race to the Top, where, although a lot of federal money still flows to schools just based on a formula and based on need, we’ve taken a certain amount of money and we’ve said, you know what, you’ve got to compete for this money.  And you’ve got to show us that you’ve got a plan to improve the education system, to fix low-performing schools, to improve how you train teachers -- because teachers are the single most important ingredient in the education system -- to collect data to show that you’re improving how these kids are learning.
Request a Fact Check
August 18, 2010
The second thing that we’ve got to solve is that college became unaffordable for a lot of people.  And Joe and Rhonda, we were just talking -- we’re about the same age and we got married I think the same year.  Our kids are about the same age.  So we’ve kind of gone through the same stuff.  And Michelle and I -- I don't know about you guys -- we didn’t talk about this -- but Michelle and I, we had a lot of debt when we finished school.  It was really expensive.  And neither of us came from wealthy families, so we just had to take out a bunch of student loans.  It took us about 10 years to pay off our student loans.  It was actually higher than our mortgage for most of the time.
Request a Fact Check
August 18, 2010
So here’s what we did.  Working with Sherrod, working with Mary Jo, Democrats in Congress -- this didn’t get a lot of attention, but we actually completely transformed how the government student loan program works.  Originally what was happening was all those loans were going through banks and financial intermediaries.  And even though the loans were guaranteed by the government so the banks weren’t taking any risks, they were skimming off billions of dollars in profits.
Request a Fact Check
August 18, 2010
And we said, well, that doesn't make any sense.  If we’re guaranteeing it, why don't we just give the loans directly to the students, and we’ll take all that extra billions of dollars that were going to the banks as profits, and we’ll give more loans.  And as a consequence, what we’ve been able to do is to provide millions more students additional loans and make college more affordable over time.  That's the second thing.
Request a Fact Check
August 18, 2010
Third thing we’ve got to do is we’ve got to focus on community colleges, which are a wonderful asset.  Not everybody is going to go to a four-year college.  And even if you go to a four-year college, you may need to go back and retrain two years -- for a year or two, even while you’re working, to keep up, keep pace with new technologies and new developments in your industry. So what we’ve really tried to do is to partner with community colleges, figure out how we can strengthen them, put more resources into them, and link them up to businesses who are actually hiring so that they’re training people for the jobs that exist, as opposed to the jobs that don’t.
Request a Fact Check
August 18, 2010
So what we’ve said is we’re going to have a strong consumer finance protection agency whose only job is to look after you when it comes to financial products.  And Joe and Rhonda and I were just talking about how it was only seven, eight years ago when Michelle and I were trying to figure out our student loans, how were we going to invest for the kids’ college education.  We had -- at the end of the month, I’d be getting my credit card bills, and I’m a pretty smart guy, but you open up some of those credit card bills -- you don't know what’s going on.  You don't read all that fine print.  You just look at the statement.
Request a Fact Check
August 18, 2010
But to come back strong, to rebuild for the long run, we've got work.  We've got to ensure that our workers can compete with any workers on Earth.  And that's why we’re reforming our education system based on what works for kids, not what works for the status quo.  We eliminated billions of dollars in taxpayer subsidies to the big banks that were acting as middlemen on the college loan program.  And as a consequence of this, we saved tens of billions of dollars that are now making college educations more affordable for millions of more students.  
Request a Fact Check
August 18, 2010
To ensure that our workers can compete with any workers on Earth, we are reforming our education system based on what works for our children, not on what works for the status quo.  We’ve eliminated billions of dollars in taxpayer subsidies to the big banks that were providing college loans to take that money, the savings, and use it to make college more affordable for millions of students.
Request a Fact Check
August 29, 2010
And we see that here at Xavier.  Less than a month after the storm struck, amidst debris and flood-damaged buildings, President Francis promised that this university would reopen in a matter of months.    Some said he was crazy.  Some said it couldn’t happen.  But they didn’t count on what happens when one force of nature meets another.    And by January -- four months later -- class was in session.  Less than a year after the storm, I had the privilege of delivering a commencement address to the largest graduating class in Xavier’s history.  That is a symbol of what New Orleans is all about. 
Request a Fact Check
August 29, 2010
So that’s how we’re helping this city, and this state, and this region to recover from the worst natural disaster in our nation’s history.  We’re cutting through the red tape that has impeded rebuilding efforts for years.  We’re making government work better and smarter, in coordination with one of the most expansive non-profit efforts in American history.  We’re helping state and local leaders to address serious problems that had been neglected for decades -- problems that existed before the storm came, and have continued after the waters receded -- from the levee system to the justice system, from the health care system to the education system.
Request a Fact Check
August 31, 2010
Unfortunately, over the last decade, we’ve not done what’s necessary to shore up the foundations of our own prosperity.  We spent a trillion dollars at war, often financed by borrowing from overseas.  This, in turn, has short-changed investments in our own people, and contributed to record deficits.  For too long, we have put off tough decisions on everything from our manufacturing base to our energy policy to education reform.  As a result, too many middle-class families find themselves working harder for less, while our nation’s long-term competitiveness is put at risk.
Request a Fact Check
August 31, 2010
Part of that responsibility is making sure that we honor our commitments to those who have served our country with such valor.  As long as I am President, we will maintain the finest fighting force that the world has ever known, and we will do whatever it takes to serve our veterans as well as they have served us.  This is a sacred trust.  That’s why we’ve already made one of the largest increases in funding for veterans in decades.  We’re treating the signature wounds of today’s wars -- post-traumatic stress disorder and traumatic brain injury -- while providing the health care and benefits that all of our veterans have earned.  And we’re funding a Post-9/11 GI Bill that helps our veterans and their families pursue the dream of a college education.  Just as the GI Bill helped those who fought World War II -- including my grandfather -- become the backbone of our middle class, so today’s servicemen and women must have the chance to apply their gifts to expand the American economy.  Because part of ending a war responsibly is standing by those who have fought it.
Request a Fact Check
September 22, 2010
Incomes for working families fell by almost 5 percent.  All the while, middle-class families saw everything from tuition bills to health care bills skyrocket.  And for too many hardworking families, the American Dream was slowly slipping away.
Request a Fact Check
September 22, 2010
Over the last 19 months, we’ve passed a new college tax credit worth $10,000 in tuition relief for each child going to four years of college.  We want to make that permanent, too -- because in good times or bad, no family should have to stop investing in their children’s future.  That's what we believe.  That's what we stand for as Democrats.  Those are our priorities.  That's the choice in this election. 
Request a Fact Check
September 27, 2010
First of all, we're making college more affordable.  For example, we've changed the way federal student loans are administered.  Instead of handing over $60 billion in unwarranted subsidies to big banks that were essentially getting this money even though the loans were guaranteed by the federal government, we're redirecting that money so that it goes directly to students.  And that's allowing us to support community colleges and make college more affordable for nearly 8 million students and families.
Request a Fact Check
September 27, 2010
We're tripling the investment in college tax credits for middle-class families.  We're raising the value of Pell Grants and we're going to make sure that they keep up with inflation.  What we've also done is made sure that future borrowers are able to choose a plan so that you never have to pay more than 10 percent of your salary each month to service student loans that you’ve taken.  And if you go into public service and you keep up with your payments, whatever leftover student debt that you have will be forgiven after 10 years.  And finally, as part of this effort, we're simplifying financial aid forms.
Request a Fact Check
September 27, 2010
Our second priority is making sure that higher education creates a workforce that's ready for the new jobs of the future. Community colleges are going to play a critical role in getting there, and I've asked Dr. Jill Biden to hold the first-ever White House summit on community colleges.  That way stakeholders are going to be able to discuss how community colleges can make sure we've got the most educated workforce in the world in relevant subjects that help people get jobs.  That summit is going to be here next week.
Request a Fact Check
September 27, 2010
A third part of our higher education strategy is where all of you have an important role, and that's making sure that more students complete college.  We've done okay in terms of college enrollment rates, but more than a third of America’s college students and more than half of our minority students don't earn a degree, even after six years.  And that's a waste of potential, particularly if folks are racking up big debt and then they don't even get the degree at the end -- they still have to pay back that debt, but they’re not in a stronger position to be able to service it.
Request a Fact Check
September 27, 2010
MR. DAILEDA:  I’ll do that.  Okay, so I’ve heard some of my professors call our generation the “lost generation” because we’re going to get out of school with a ton of debt due to student loans and not be able to pay them off really because, well, we don't -- not going to get a steady job -- it’s not that likely to begin with -- and the economy is in the shape it is currently in.  So I guess my question is, do you think there’s some truth to that?  And do you think it will take a longer time than usual for our generation to get on our feet?
Request a Fact Check
September 27, 2010
In the meantime, what we’re also doing -- and this is already in place, this doesn’t wait till 2014 -- we have increased the Pell Grant.  We’ve made it available to more people.  We’ve made it more reliable.  And so hopefully students who are studying now are going to be able to keep their student loan -- their debt lower than I did when I went to school or Michelle did when we went to school.  That's obviously going to help.  That's a second thing.
Request a Fact Check
September 27, 2010
I mean, you’ve got a situation right now where the Republicans put out their Pledge to America that says we’re going to give $4 trillion worth of tax breaks, $700 billion of those going to millionaires and billionaires, each of whom would get on average a $100,000 check.  And to even pay for part of that, we’re going to cut all the improvements that we just talked about making on student loans, so that 8 million young people would see less support on student loans.  We’d cut back our education assistance through the higher education by 20 percent.  Well, that's a big choice.  That has big consequences.
Request a Fact Check
September 27, 2010
MR. SCHONHAUT:  Well, my question is that I think there’s a lot of concern, especially in public universities, that education is becoming increasingly less affordable.  I know like at UCLA last year they raised tuition by 32 percent to help make up for slashed funding from the state, which accounts for like $200 million at just our university this year.  And student aid has increased some in this time, especially for lower-income groups, but I think especially in the middle class a lot of families are just not being able to compensate.  So my question is how would you address this concern that public higher education is becoming more of a strain on families?
Request a Fact Check
September 27, 2010
Well, I talked about what we’re doing to increase financial aid to students and obviously that’s important.  But there’s another part of the equation and that is just the cost of college generally, both at the public and private institutions.  If I keep on increasing Pell Grants and increasing student loan programs and making it more affordable, but health care -- or higher education inflation keeps on going up at the pace that it’s going up right now, then we’re going to be right back where we started, putting more money in, but it’s all being absorbed by these higher costs.
Request a Fact Check
September 27, 2010
So improving the economy overall is going to be critical.  That will take some pressure off the states.  We also, though, need to work with the states and public universities and colleges to try to figure out what is driving all this huge inflation in the cost of higher education, because this is actually the only place where inflation is higher than health care inflation.  And some of it are things that are out of the control of the administrators at universities -- health care costs being an example.  Obviously personnel costs are a big chunk of university expenses, and if their health care costs are going up 6, 8 percent a year, then they’re going to have to absorb those costs some way.
Request a Fact Check
September 27, 2010
And that's why our health care bill generally should help, because what we’re trying to do is to control health care costs for everybody.  But there are other aspects of this where, frankly, I think students as consumers, parents as consumers, and state legislators and governors are going to need to put more pressure on universities.  And I’ll just give one example, which people may not want to hear, but when I go to some colleges and universities, public colleges and universities, and I look at the athletic facilities that exist these days, or the food courts or the other things that have to do with the quality of life at universities, it’s sure a lot nicer than it was when I was going to college.  Somebody has to pay for that.
Request a Fact Check
September 27, 2010
And part of what I think we’ve got to examine is are we designing our universities in a way that focuses on the primary thing, which is education.  You’re not going to a university to join a spa; you’re going there to learn so that you can have a fulfilling career.  And if all the amenities of a public university start jacking up the cost of tuition significantly, that’s a problem.
Request a Fact Check
September 27, 2010
How courses are taught, so that we’re making sure that the teaching loads at universities continue to emphasize research and continue to give professors the opportunity to engage in work outside the classroom that advances knowledge, but at the same time reminding faculties that their primary job is to teach, and so you’ve got to structure how universities operate to give students the best deal that they can -- that’s important, too.
Request a Fact Check
September 27, 2010
And you guys have to be good consumers, and your parents have to be good consumers, and we've got to offer you more information.  You should know where your tuition is going.  There should be a pie chart at every university that says, out of every dollar you spend in tuition, here’s where your money is going.  And you should have some good understanding of that and be able to make some better decisions as a consequence of that information.
Request a Fact Check
September 28, 2010
Well, now we rank 21st in science education in the world, and we rank 25th in math education in the world. So the trendline is that we’re not at the top in terms of college graduates, we’re not at the top at science, we’re not at the top at math. We’ve got a third of our students who enroll who never graduate from high school. And all this means that not only is it bad for the young people who aren’t getting this education -- typically a high school grad gets paid about $10,000 less than a college grad, and over the course of a lifetime it means hundreds of thousand dollars in lost income -- but it’s also bad for the country as a whole because we don’t have as many engineers, we don’t have as many scientists, we’re not inventing the new products that are going to make all the difference in terms of how well we succeed.
Request a Fact Check
September 28, 2010
So the reason I want to raise this is because there are a lot of issues we’ve been working on in Washington, a lot of them get a lot of attention, but something that hasn’t gotten as much attention is what we’ve been trying to do, working with states and local school districts over the last two years to make sure that we’re moving in a new direction in improving our education system.
Request a Fact Check
September 28, 2010
And as a consequence of this competition called Race to the Top -- we had about $4 billion -- we’ve ended up seeing 32 states change their laws to reform the system so that the whole education structure works better for our kids and makes it more accountable and we start providing better training and better recruitment for our teachers and more professional development and additional resources.
Request a Fact Check
September 28, 2010
Third thing we’ve been doing is focusing on higher education. Now, it turns out that we’ve got -- the lottery scholarship program here in New Mexico is terrific, but we’ve got a whole lot of states all across the country and a lot of young people who still rely on Pell Grants and student loan programs in order to finance their overall education.
Request a Fact Check
September 28, 2010
And what we’ve been able to do is when we came into office, tens of billions of dollars were going to banks and financial intermediaries who were essentially acting as middlemen for the student loan program, even though it was federally guaranteed. So they weren’t taking any risks, but it was passing through them and they would take -- they would skim off tens of billions of dollars of profit.
Request a Fact Check
September 28, 2010
So we said, well, that doesn’t make any sense. Why don’t we just have the money go directly from the government to the student and we’ll save all that money. And now what we have, we’ve been able to save $60 billion that we’re putting in now to make sure that millions more young people across the country are able to get the student loans and the Pell Grants that they need. And starting in 2014, we’re actually going to be able to say to young people that you will never have to pay more than 10 percent of your income in repaying your student loans.
Request a Fact Check
September 28, 2010
So there are a whole range of things that we’re trying to do, working with colleges, community colleges, universities to try to improve our education system. One of the things that I announced this week was we’re really going to focus on science and math, because that’s where our young people I think are falling the most behind. And we’ve made a commitment that we’re going to hire over the next couple of years 10,000 new science and math teachers. And we’re going to work with the schools to help redesign their math and science curriculums, so that we start boosting -- I want to get to the point where we’re number one in science and math.
Request a Fact Check
September 28, 2010
That’s their main economic plan. And when you ask them, well, how would you pay for some of this stuff, they don’t really have good answers. But one way they would pay for it is to cut back our education spending by 20 percent and eliminate about 200,000 Head Start programs and reduce student aid to go to college for about 8 million students.
Request a Fact Check
September 28, 2010
Second question, we can’t always depend on government to help us as far as education is concerned. I do think -- my wife is a teacher in an elementary school -- it all has to start at home. We as parents have to educate our children on how to get educated. It starts at home. And I want to thank you for everything you’ve done for public education. Thank you again. But we all have to understand it kind of starts at home, as parents.
Request a Fact Check
September 28, 2010
But that is why it is so important for us to make sure that we are meeting our commitments to them not just individually as parents but also as a society. So when we increase student aid so that these young people that just wrote to me are able to afford going to college, and you’ve then got the other side in this election pledging to reverse those increases so that they’re less likely to be able to afford going to college, that should motivate you at the voting booth in terms of what your priorities are.
Request a Fact Check
September 28, 2010
When we’re talking about -- when we -- here’s a good example, and the congressman will remember this. We had a debate in Washington because states were very hard-strapped for cash and were starting to lay off teachers. And we said, let’s close a corporate tax loophole that is incentivizing companies to ship jobs overseas, let’s close that loophole and use that money to help states keep teachers and firefighters and cops on the job, because there are a bunch of states -- Hawaii, actually, had gone to a four-day-a-week school week because they just couldn’t afford teachers. Think about that. Four days a week you go to school. They are missing a fifth of the school year because of budget crunches.
Request a Fact Check
September 28, 2010
Now, we’ve still got a ways to go, but this is again an example of where, come November, we’ve got to start making some choices because if, for example, we give tax breaks to millionaires and billionaires that cost us $700 billion that we don’t have, that money has to come from somewhere. And we’ve got to be able to provide for our veterans. I’d rather choose veterans. I’d rather choose these young people who are looking for scholarships.
Request a Fact Check
September 28, 2010
And you got to ask yourselves, what direction do I want this country to go in? Do I want to invest in our people, in our middle class and making it stronger, and our infrastructure and our education system and clean energy -- is that one vision or are we just going to keep on doing the same things that got us into this mess in the first place?
Request a Fact Check
September 29, 2010
I want to acknowledge our mayor, Dwight Jones.  Thank you so much for being here.  And of course, I’ve got to say thanks again to Ms. Shelton for being here.  We are graced by your presence.   This is really a casual setting, so I hope that we just open it up for a good conversation about where the country is at, where it’s going, how folks are feeling down here in Richmond.  I want to hear from you at least as much as you’re hearing from me.    I find this really useful to me because when you’re in Washington all the time and you’re in these battles, sometimes you’re in what’s called the bubble.  And I’m always trying to do what I can to break out of it and be able to get back with folks and have a conversation.   What I want to do is -- what I want to do is just speak briefly about what’s going on in the economy, and then just open it up.    Obviously we’re going through a tough time.  And these last two years have been as tough as any that we’ve seen in most of our lifetimes, except for Ms. Shelton.  Because the truth is, is that the financial crisis that we experienced was the worst since the Great Depression.  We lost about 4 million jobs in the six months before I was sworn into office.  We lost 750,000 jobs the month I was sworn into office; 600,000 jobs the two months after I was sworn in. So before any of my economic policies were put into place, we had already lost most of the 8 million jobs that we ended up losing in this recession.     And my first job was to make sure that the banking system did not completely collapse, and to make sure that we didn’t dip into a second depression.  And we’ve done that.  The economy that was contracting is now growing.  We’ve had eight straight months of private sector job growth.  So we’re making some progress.   But the truth is, is that people were having a tough time even before the crisis hit.  We had gone -- from 2001 to 2009, there was a period in which the average middle-class family lost 5 percent of their income -- 5 percent of their wages -- during that period.  At the same time, the costs for health care and college tuitions were skyrocketing.  It was the slowest period of job growth since World War II, from 2001 to 2000.   So middle-class families were generally having a very difficult time even before the crisis hit.  And obviously the crisis just made things worse.  And this is all at a time when we’ve got increased global competition.  You’ve got countries like China and India and Brazil that are really moving.  They’re educating their kids much more aggressively than they ever were.  They are exporting much more than they ever were.  And so we’re having to compete at levels that we didn’t have to compete before.     And so part of the reason I ran for President was because I felt it was very important for us to start grappling with some longstanding issues that we’ve been putting off for way too long.   We had to stop a health care system that was broken from bankrupting families and businesses and the federal government, so we initiated health reform so that we could start getting a better bang for our health care dollar.        And it’s estimated that we’ll end up saving over a trillion dollars because we make the system more efficient over time, even though we’re going to be insuring more people.          We had to re-regulate the financial system so we never have a system where we’ve got taxpayer bailouts again. And so we passed financial regulatory reform.  We had to transform our education system.  And one of the things I’m most proud of, although it hasn’t gotten some of the fanfare that some of these other issues have gotten, is we’ve initiated reforms across the country through a program called Race to the Top where we’re encouraging states to reform how they do business, emphasizing more math, emphasizing more science, making sure that we’ve got the very best teachers in the classroom, making sure that we’re focusing on low-performing schools -- because it’s unacceptable where you’ve got schools in which a third of the kids or half of the kids drop out, and even the kids who graduate aren’t graduating at grade level.   We use to be at the top in terms of math and science performance.  Now our kids typically rank around 21st in science and 25th in math.  That’s just not acceptable.    We used to have the highest proportion of college graduates in the country -- now we rank around 12th.  And that’s going to affect how we can compete long term, so part of what we did was to shift tens of billions of dollars that were going to subsidies to financial services groups in the direct student loan program, give those dollars directly to students, and we’ve got millions more students who are now getting grants and cheaper student loans.   Now, the other thing that we had to do is we had to confront all these problems -- a financial crisis, people losing their jobs, small businesses not getting the financing they need to open or expand their businesses -- we had to all do this in the context of a really bad budget.     When Bill Clinton left office, we had a record surplus.  We hadn’t had a surplus since World War II. And suddenly by the time I took office, we had a $1.3 trillion deficit. And this was a direct result of some policies that thought only about the present and didn’t think about the future.   So we had tax cuts, mostly for millionaires and billionaires, in 2001 and 2003 that weren’t paid for, and there weren’t the cuts to go with it.  So that ballooned the deficit.  Then we had two wars that weren’t paid for.  That further ballooned the deficit.  We had a prescription drug plan that was put into place that cost about $800 billion.  That wasn’t paid for.  So you add all those things up, by the time I got into office we already had a $1.3 trillion deficit and we had exploded the national debt.   So one of the challenges now that I’ve got, having stabilized the economy but we still need it to grow, we still need small businesses to get help, we still have to help people find work, we want to invest in research and development and technology -- we’ve got to do all that but we’ve also got to think, how are we going to get our budget under control over the long term.   And I was amused as I was driving in, there were some signs there that said “cut spending” -- which sounds plausible and I know your congressman here I think has strong ideas about what he says he wants to do.  Last week, the Republicans put forward what they called a Pledge to America, which purported to say we’re going to cut your taxes and we’re also going to control spending and we’re going to somehow balance the budget.  But when you actually looked at the numbers, it was hard to figure out how they all added up.   Now, I’m not a math teacher.   But I know a little bit about math.  They’re proposing about $4 trillion worth of tax cuts.  About $700 billion of those tax cuts are for people who typically are millionaires and billionaires, and on average would get $100,000 in tax relief -- $700 billion that we don’t have, we’d have to borrow in order to provide these tax cuts.  And 98 percent of Americans wouldn’t see any benefit from it.     And keep in mind that because we don’t have it, it would actually end up costing more than $700 billion, because we’d end up having -- since we’re borrowing it, we’d have to pay interest on it.   Now, just to give you some sense of how they are proposing to pay for this, they’re recommending a 20 percent cut in education spending.  They are proposing essentially that we lower our support to students on student loans who want to go to college and grants for students who want to go to college, which would affect millions of students all across the country.  They are proposing to roll back tax cuts that we had put in place during the Recovery Act that give 95 percent of working Americans tax relief.   So when you add it all up, essentially their proposal would drastically expand the deficit instead of shrinking it.  Now, what they’ll say is, well, we’re going to have additional cuts.  But they don’t specify what those cuts would be. And one of the things I’m here to tell you -- and then I want to sort of hear from you in terms of what your priorities are -- is I’ve got some very smart people working for me in my budget office.  But they will tell me that one thing they can’t do is cut taxes for the wealthiest Americans by $700 billion, protect Social Security, protect Medicare, protect veterans funding, and balance the budget.  They just can’t do it.  The math doesn’t add up.     And so part of the challenge, I think, particularly if we’re thinking about the next generation, is making sure, as we move forward over the next couple of years, that we have an honest and serious conversation about how we’re going to get control of our budget.  That is going to be a big challenge.        And the choice that you make in this election I think should be based on facts and making sure that whatever politicians are saying, that they can back it up with some actual figures and numbers that work.        I know that here in Virginia and all across the country, there are a lot of people who are genuinely, legitimately and sincerely concerned about the deficit and the debt.  And no matter how much I say to them, well, this really has to do with problems that we inherited, it’s not because of the emergency measures we took last year, their attitude is, okay, but it’s still your job to solve it.        And I think that’s a legitimate point of view.  But if you are genuinely and sincerely concerned about debt and deficits, then you have to understand the other side just is not presenting a serious idea of how to balance our budgets and put us on a stable fiscal footing.        What they’re selling is the same thing that they sold back in 2000 and 2001, which is you could slash taxes, including for the wealthiest Americans, and somehow that’s not going to affect anything.  And that’s just not how it works.  It’s not how it works in your household, right?  So it’s not going to work for the country, either.  And we’ve got to have an honest conversation about it.  All right?        So, with that -- I know it’s a little warm in here, but if anybody wants to pull out their fans, feel free.  If gentlemen want to take off their jackets, I’m sure nobody will mind.  And let’s just open it up for questions and comments.        And as I said, I don’t -- it doesn’t have to be a question.  You can give me a suggestion.  If you’ve got good ideas, I need to hear them.     And we’ll start with this gentleman.  Please introduce yourself.        Q    Thanks, .  I manage a small business.  We serve ESOP companies -- hundreds of ESOP companies.  And I’ve just found it extraordinary in visiting many of these ESOP companies with the culture that they’ve developed, and the productivity and competitiveness, and it’s a good model for keeping jobs here in the U.S.          You want to just explain to everybody what ESOPs are?  These are employee-owned businesses -- I just want to make sure everybody understands.        Q    Exactly, exactly.  And I wanted to just -- the ESOP laws that have been in place for over 35 years have allowed employee owners to share a piece of the action of the business while not having to get in their -- dig in their own pockets for that, so it’s helped them get to retirement, which is tough these days long term.        My main question is just, with your good initiatives -- you’re for focusing on small business in the new act -- will you consider encouraging or expanding the law to help more small privately held companies look to the ESOP model?  Thank you.          I would absolutely be interested in taking a look at it.  The idea behind these ESOPs is that if employees have a piece of the action -- they’re essentially shareholders in these companies -- then you are aligning the interests of workers with the interests of the company as a whole.     Now, what that means is, is that when a company has a tough time, workers have to take a hit because they’re owners, essentially.  On the other hand, when things are going well, they’re getting a share of the profits.  And so theoretically, at least, it’s something that can help grow companies, because the workers feel like they’re working for themselves, and they’re putting more of themselves into their job each and every day.        I think that it’s something that can be encouraged.  I have not seen specific proposals that are out there legislatively, but I’m sure you can share them with me.        Q    Yes, there actually has been a lot of strong research recently.          Good.  So I’ll be interested in taking a look at that stuff.        Let me say something more generally about small businesses.  As part of the Recovery Act, we actually cut taxes for small businesses eight different ways.  And I make mention of that because -- and then I just signed a bill this week on Monday, before I went on the road, that further cuts taxes for small businesses, including eliminating capital gains for investments in startup businesses, making sure that small businesses can invest in inventory or in plant and equipment now and be able to take these deductions now so it gives them an incentive to start investing earlier on.     We have provided tax breaks for small companies who are providing health insurance to their employees because typically it’s -- small businesses are the hardest folks to be able to provide health insurance because they -- they’re not part of a big pool.  And what we’ve said is, let’s give them a tax break -- they can get up to a third of the premiums that they’re paying for their employees as a credit so that it’s just cheaper for them to provide health insurance.        So I wanted to point that out because somehow there’s a myth out there I think that we have raised taxes on small businesses.  If you listened to the other side, you’d be thinking, boy, Obama is just trying to crush small businesses with these high taxes.  We’ve lowered taxes on small businesses over the last two years.  In fact, we’ve lowered taxes on just about everybody over these last two years.  And -- but when you look at the polls, there’s a decent number of folks who still think that somehow their taxes have gone up instead of gone down.          And that debate is going to be coming to a head now.  I mentioned this $700 billion in tax cuts that they want to provide to the top 2 percent.  We’re in danger of seeing lapse tax breaks that everybody here probably is getting on their paychecks every two weeks.  A lot of people didn’t notice that they were getting a tax break because we did it incrementally, paycheck -- it wasn’t in one lump sum; it was like each paycheck you had a little bit less taken out in taxes.  That’s going to lapse if we don’t renew it and the proposal -- the Republicans are proposing to eliminate it.        So this is an example of where we’ve got to know what the facts are in order to make sure that the broadest base of people are getting the broadest base of help.        Yes, sir.        Q    President Obama, my name is Dan Ream.  I’m a librarian at Virginia Commonwealth University here in Richmond, the state’s largest public university.            We love libraries.        Q    We thank you.  Libraries love the love.    VCU, where I work, has benefited tremendously from your stimulus program.  In fact, there are countless librarians, faculty and staff members there who have their jobs today thanks to the stimulus program.  So thank you for that.  It’s very important to us.          Thank you.  I appreciate it.        Q    My son, by the way, is a student at Davidson College.  He is a swim coach here at the Southampton swim team, and he is in Madrid today.  And he said, this is the most exciting thing that has ever happened on my street and I’m out of the country.    So, Dad and Mom, would you ask my question?          Okay, go ahead.        Q    May I?          Although I have to say being in Madrid is not that bad.           Q    It’s not.          I mean, that’s a pretty good deal.         Q    He loves it. Anyway, this is from Paul Ream, who is probably watching this on TV somewhere in Madrid.            Good.        Q    His question is this:  In this public discussion of the economic crisis and in the nation’s political discourse in general, I feel like Democrats have lost hold of the populist attitude and rhetoric that truly embody the party’s foundations.          Our swim team community here at Southampton provides a wonderful example of that attitude.  Like politics, it’s a sport that focuses on individual performance.  But what leads to success is a team-oriented, sportsmanlike approach.  Respect for each other and respect for one’s opponents are key to the success.  And I think those are important elements of the Democratic Party.     With that in mind, what are the ways we can change the dialogue to really emphasis this?  Doing what’s best for the people is not characterized by doing what’s best for some individuals at the cost of others, which is the interpretation of some citizens today, especially with regard to the economy.  How can we reframe the debate and really highlight the respectful and sportsmanlike nature of policies directed at benefiting the American people as a whole?          Well, that’s a pretty good question.        Q    It’s from Paul Ream.            I like that.    And you read it very well, too.  So I’m sure he’ll --        Q    Thank you.  I have my own question, too, if we have time.          -- he’ll be very happy with your presentation.        Q    Thank you.          Look, I think he makes a terrific point, and I’ve tried to make this point in most of my speeches when I talk about the economy.  Part of what makes America the greatest country on earth and what has made our economy the envy of the world for the last hundred years is that we combine this incredible sense of individual freedom and entrepreneurship and the profit motive and dynamic capitalism so that if you’ve got a good idea, if you want to start a whitewater rafting company or you want to open a new restaurant because you’ve got this great recipe, you can do it.  And you don’t have to go through a lot of bureaucracy, and you don’t have to pay a bribe.  And that is the wellspring of our wealth and how well we do.        Now, at the same time, part of what our strength has been is what we do in concert, in common, just like a team.  Dwight Eisenhower built the Interstate Highway System.  Nobody individually could build a highway system.  So we pool our resources together to build the highway system, and that then provides opportunity and a platform for businesses to grow and prosper.        The Internet was direct -- a direct result of a investment in research and science, through the government, that created the initial platforms that evolved into the Internet.  And now there are all kinds of Internet companies that are starting, and you’ve got Facebook, and -- a lot of wealth has been generated, a lot of jobs have been created. But those individual initiatives couldn’t have happened if we hadn’t made that initial investment, through our government, in the resources and development, because there was no sure thing.  It wasn’t like there was money to be made tooling around with these computers, trying to figure out how to communicate with each other more efficiently.        Clean energy is a good example as we move forward.  Right now all of us would benefit if we had a cleaner, more efficient energy policy in this country.  But nobody individually has that much incentive to do it.  The oil companies -- they’ve got tons of money, but they’re making tons of money by selling oil.  And the more oil they sell, the better off they’re going to be.  So they’re not making huge investments in solar or wind or biodiesel.        A lot of people I think would benefit from retrofitting their homes or their buildings or hospitals. But it turns out that even though they’ll recoup their money, they might not be able to afford up front to make the investment without some help.  And so they don’t do it, which means that we probably use 30 percent more energy because we’ve got buildings that are poorly insulated or poorly designed. And it would make sense for us to help small businesses and individuals make that investment.        If we gave them some loans on the front end, then all of us would benefit, and individually each of us would benefit.  But the point is, is that Abraham Lincoln, the first Republican President, I think had it right.  He basically said, we should never do things for people that they can do for themselves.  But government’s role is to do what people can’t do better by themselves -- whether it’s our collective defense, whether it’s our firefighters, whether it’s our libraries, whether it is our infrastructure or investments in research and development.          And I think that that’s part of what the choice we’re making in this election and over the next several years is going to be:  Are we still able to make those decisions together about how to move the country forward, or are we each going to just be looking out for ourselves, in which case, what’s going to happen is, is that if you’ve got enough money that you an afford to live in a gated community, then you don’t have to worry about police.  If you can afford to have private schools, then you don’t have to worry about public schools.        But over time what happens is, as a group, we’re going to get poorer, even though some people do very well. All right?        Q    Thank you.          Thank you.  Yes.        Q    Hello, .  I’m a teacher at Albert Hill Middle.          What do you teach?        Q    I teach civics.  I teach eighth graders.          This is a good thing.  You’ll be able to tell your class tomorrow that you --        Q    Yes. Actually, I have some questions --          Oh, no --        Q    -- that I would love to give to you from my students.          All right.  I will try to respond to some of them.        Q    Okay. Especially if you can send a picture and some autographs to them.          Okay.   All right, sounds good.        Q    I’m from a education family -- my mother is a teacher, my husband is a teacher also for the city at Thomas Jefferson High School, and I’m a mother of three.  And the main focus has been on the middle class and the poor, but what about working-class families?  They seem to be on the fringe, not able to get a lot of these incentives and other programs of help.  Childcare is a major issue.  Education for our children.  Proper nutrition -- being able to afford proper food is an issue for working families.  What is the government going to do for that?        And then I also have another question, if I could ask about the education reforms that you’re going to do.  A lot of my students are concerned about those education reforms and they would like some explanations about how is an extended day and how is going to school for an extra month going to make them more competitive in the global world.          Well, let me take the second question first, because I want to be clear -- I haven’t passed a law that everybody has got to go to school for an extra month.  I was asked about this on the Today Show and I made the observation, which is absolutely true, that most of our competitors, most other advanced countries, have their kids go to school about a month longer every year than we do. The three-month summer is a direct result of public schools having been started when most of us still lived on farms, and so you took three months off because you had to help on the harvest.          But there’s nothing written in stone that says we’ve got to have the organization, the school year the way we have it.  There is a -- studies show that kids lose something during that three-month period.  Poorer kids lose more during that three-month period because they may not have as many books at home, supplemental activities. They may not be going to the museum or on field trips during the summer. And so they tend to lose more of what they’ve learned.  And that’s part of what contributes probably to the achievement gap and them falling behind.        So I think it’s important for states to look at what they’re doing and finding ways that potentially kids don’t lose ground compared to kids in China or South Korea or other parts of the country.        Now, it’s going to cost some money if we decide to make the school year longer because teachers and custodial workers, that means that they’re in -- they’re working even longer than they’re already working.  And so we’d have to make some choices budgetarily.        Keep in mind, though, that this is why the choice in this election is so important.  I’ll give you an example.  During just a couple months ago, we had a debate in the House of Representatives.  The Democrats decided to -- because they were worried about states laying off teachers, decided to close a corporate tax loophole that actually incentivized investment overseas instead of investment here in the United States.  So they decided to close one of these loopholes.        And that saved enough money to send several billions of dollars to the states so that they could keep their workforce intact.  This is at a time, by the way, where there are states like Hawaii that had gone down to a four-day a week school week because they couldn’t afford to pay teachers for the fifth day.        Now, I promise you we can’t compete against other countries if our kids are going to school four days a week. We can’t compete if teachers are being laid off and classrooms get more crowded and teachers are having to dig more into their pockets for basic supplies in their classroom.        But when we had this proposal, we could not get any Republicans to support this position.  And they had the usual rhetoric about Obama’s trying to kill business and raise taxes, et cetera.  No, we’re just trying to make sure that we’re making investments in the long term for our kids, which will be good for business -- because businesses in this country aren’t going to succeed if we don’t have engineers and scientists developing new products and so forth.        So I don’t want to lose the votes of all your kids by saying that they need to be in school another month.   I do think that we have to have a debate, state by state in local school districts, about making sure what we can do to ensure our kids keep up.        Now, in terms of the issue that you raised about sort of middle class versus poor versus working class, my attitude is that everybody who is working hard, who’s meeting their responsibilities, trying to raise a family, trying to send their kids to college, trying to retire with dignity and respect, trying to get health care -- those folks -- that’s what it means to be middle class in this country.        This is who Michelle and I came from.  I mean, I was raised by a single mom.  I lived most of my formative years in an apartment that probably was smaller than this room right here, living with my grandparents, and sometimes when my mother was -- when I was living with her, it definitely was an apartment smaller than this.        Michelle, her dad worked as a blue-collar worker for the City of Chicago.  And he had multiple sclerosis, but he never missed a day of work.  He never graduated from college.  Her mom never graduated from college.  And yet somehow they were able to -- both of our families were able to give us the best education in the world, and we grew up to be President and First Lady.        Now, that’s what the American Dream is about.  So I don’t make a distinction between middle class, working class, poor folks who are trying to get into the middle class.  As long as you’re working hard, trying to meet your responsibilities, trying to better yourself and your family, that’s what the American Dream is about.        All the policies that we’ve put in place have been designed to help those folks.  So if you are a working family, whether you’re making -- your family income is $100,000 a year or $50,000 a year or $30,000 a year, if you’ve got a kid with a preexisting condition and you can’t get health insurance, because of health reform that child is going to be able to get insurance.  And if you can’t afford it because your boss doesn’t offer health insurance, you’re going to be able to be part of a big pool and buy the same health insurance that members of Congress get.        Regardless of where you fall on that income spectrum, if you’ve got a credit card, then the new financial reform bill says credit card companies can’t jack up your interest rates without letting you know.  And they can’t increase your interest rates on your existing balances.  They can’t run a bait-and-switch and say you’re on -- this is a zero percent interest credit card, then you get $5,000 on your credit card, and you get a letter saying suddenly interest is 29 percent. Can’t do that.        Mortgage brokers can’t steer you into interest rates on buying a house that are more expensive than what you could have gotten because they’re getting a kickback.     A lot of the consumer protections that we put in place, they affect everybody out here.          The student loan programs that we put into place, that impacts families across the board, because, again, whether you’re making $100,000 or $50,000 or $30,000, if you’re trying to send your kid to college, they’re going to probably have to take out some debt.  And what we did to take billions of dollars that were going to banks in unjustified subsidies and us saying, no, we’re going to give that money directly to young people in the form of more grants or cheaper loans, capping how much they’re going to have to repay in college to 10 percent of their income -- that helps everybody.        So I think that that -- what will make our economy grow is if this beating heart of our economy, middle-class folks who are working hard, pushing to improve their lot in life, if they’re given some hands up to help them get to where they want to go, then I think our economy as a whole will do well.        Okay.  Yes, sir.        Q    I’d like to ask you about a local and regional issue -- the James River that runs through Richmond here and the Chesapeake Bay into which it goes.  The Perrys depend on the James River to make a living with their outfitting company.  Your EPA has very thankfully initiated a wonderful effort to finally clean up all the waters that enter the Chesapeake Bay.          However, our state government is resisting playing its part, whereas going ahead with this cleanup would create thousands of private sector jobs as well as the benefits from clean water and better fish.  They’re saying that we can’t afford to do this in this economy, when actually doing it would be the kind of thing that would help the economy and our waters recover.  Do you have anything to say about that?          Well, I agree with you, and I’ll pass on your suggestions to Mr. McDonnell -- because -- look, the point you make I think is important as sort of a general point, which is for a long time we tended to think of the environment in conflict with the economy, right?  The notion was clean air, clean water is nice to have, but if it comes down to it, it’s more important that we have jobs.        The point you’re making is that clean air and clean water can improve the economy and create new jobs if we think about it in creative ways.  And that’s part of the argument that I’ve been making about clean energy.        Let me give you an example. When I came into office, we were producing about 2 percent of the advanced batteries that are used in hybrid cars and electric cars -- 2 percent of the market.  And we were probably just barely hanging on.  Eventually, if you only got 2 percent of the market, you’re going to end up with zero percent of the market.          So what we did was we said as part of the Recovery Act, let’s invest in a Made in America, homegrown battery manufacturing effort.  And we now have across the country people working in factories making advanced batteries that are going into American-made cars, because what we also did at the same time was we raised fuel-efficiency standards on cars and trucks for the first time in 30 years.  We didn’t do that, by the way, through legislation.  We actually got autoworkers and auto companies and environmentalists and all the stakeholders to agree on raising fuel-efficiency standards nationally.  So it didn’t get a lot of attention, because there wasn’t a big ruckus in Washington, we just did it.     And so automakers now want to make more fuel-efficient cars, and we now have the advanced battery manufacturing here in the United States to take advantage of that new market.  We estimate that by 2015, we’re going to have 40 percent of the advanced battery market.          So you’ve got a homegrown manufacturing industry here in the United States, putting people to work in good jobs and good wages.  But that wouldn’t have happened if there wasn’t a market for clean cars.     That’s one of these guy’s -- one of those mics is going off, so I think we’re good.    But I want everybody to understand there are going to be some times where we do have to make some choices.  I mean, coal is a good example, where -- coal is a dirty-burning fuel, and mining coal can often be environmentally really destructive, particularly to rivers and waterways.  On the other hand, we’ve got tons of coal.  We’re the Saudi Arabia of coal.     So what I’ve said is, well, let’s invest in research and development to see if we can burn coal cleanly. And if we have regulations that provide incentives for coal companies to burn coal cleanly and mine coal cleanly, they’ll adapt and they’ll start using new technologies, and that will create a more future-oriented growth industry.     But a lot of folks resisted. Their attitude is, well, no, we don’t want to change anything.  We just want to keep on doing what we’ve been doing.     Sooner or later, the world passes you by.  China, India, Japan -- all these countries are all thinking about new ways to find clean energy.  And if we’re not the ones who get there first in terms of figuring this stuff out, then they’re the ones who are going to get the jobs of the future.  And I don’t want them to get those jobs.  I want us to have those jobs right here in the United States.   So, yes, sir.   Q    My name is Bob -- I’m retired.       Here, Bob, why don’t you grab a mic, although you’ve got a good strong voice.        Q    And I had one question for you regarding interest rates.  The federal government’s current policy seems to be to keep interest rates at a historical low level.  The impact this has on retired seniors is the loss of income they receive on interest on CDs and IRAs.  When do you see this policy changing so rates can get back to more normal levels?          Well, first of all, I just want to make clear the administration doesn’t make decisions on interest rates.  The Federal Reserve makes decisions on interest rates.  And so the -- they really are an independent agency.  I have to be very careful when I have a conversation with Ben Bernanke, the head of the Federal Reserve.  I can talk generally about the economy, but I can’t tell him “lower or jack up interest rates.”  So I want to make that clear.        But your general point I think is an important one.  Interest rates are at a historic low because that was part of the way to avoid us tipping into a depression.  By keeping interest rates very low, that meant that businesses that had seen consumer demand really shrink were still able to service their debt and to keep their doors open.  And so it was the right thing to do to keep interest rates low.        You are absolutely right that that does have an adverse impact on savers, and particularly seniors on fixed incomes because they’re not getting as much of a return on their savings. The flip side of it is, though, is that inflation is also at a historic low.  And so in terms of actual purchasing power, inflation is still low enough that savers are not losing a whole lot of money; they’re just not seeing sort of the compounded interest expand their nest egg like it once did.        I think that you will see a return to higher, more normal interest rates when the economy gets stronger; you naturally start seeing more inflation than you’re currently seeing.  And when that happens, that will I think change the position of the Federal Reserve Bank.  But as I said, this is not -- this is one of those areas -- the President has got a lot of power, a lot of juice.  This is not one area where he’s got juice.        Q    What about the over 70 1/2 mandatory deduction you have to take from your savings, IRA savings?  Last year you changed it -- we didn’t have to do it.          Yes, we did that temporarily as part of an effort because we understood that people were really going through a tough time and might have to dip into savings.  We wanted to make sure they weren’t penalized for it.        Q    But we’re still doing that.          Yes, the -- well, things don’t always get through Congress the way you want them.  But we’re going to be working on this.  We’re going to have to examine a lot of these issues moving forward as part of how we think about simplifying the tax code, making it fairer, and also making sure that folks in fixed incomes aren’t harmed in this environment where it’s harder and harder to save for retirement.  So thank you for the question.        Q    , my name is --          Well, hold on a second, though -- just because -- I’ll get to you, but this gentleman had his hand up first.  Or somebody over here did.  It was over here.        Q    President Obama, I’m a small business owner, and one thing for sure about small business owner -- tremendously busy.          What kind of business are you in?        Q    It’s an arborist firm, tree care. And get home at night, I feel like now I’m one of the few Americans who doesn’t think he can watch a little bit of cable TV and tell everything you know about how to run the economy.         I don’t have time to watch it.  It’s over my head.  A good percentage of what we talk about here, the economy, I know I’m too busy working to understand how to tell you how to fix the economy.          So what I like to do is elect an official and send him to Washington and have all you smart guys figure that out.  Returning to Dan’s question that we didn’t get all the way through, and a young person can recognize it, and I certainly recognize it trying to build team in small business -- is there hope for us returning to civility in our discourse to healthy legislative process to something that I can trust, so as I strap on the boots again tomorrow morning I know you guys got it under control?  Because I’m not smart enough to fix it.  I’d love to send you guys to Washington and have you do it.  And it’s hard to have that faith right now.          Well, look, the -- first of all, I think you give everybody too much credit when you say everybody in Washington is smart guys.    I -- we might dispute that.     But you’re making such a powerful point.  I think a lot of people were inspired by our campaign because we tried to maintain a very civil tone throughout the campaign.  And part of my agenda was changing Washington, right?  I mean, I came into national notice when I made a speech in Boston talking about there aren’t red states and blue states, there’s the United States of America.  I believe that so profoundly.        I will tell you that changing the culture in Washington is very hard, and I’ve seen it these last two years, because I think that folks in Washington tend to think about how to stay in power more than they think about how to solve problems.          Now, if you look at what happened over the course of these last two years -- and look, I’m sure I made some mistakes -- but essentially what happened was the other side made a calculated decision.  They said, “You know what, we really got beat in 2008 bad.  The economy is a mess.  It’s probably going to take us a while to dig our way out of it.  We’ve got two choices.  One choice would be to cooperate with the President and work with him to kind of solve these problems, in which case if things don’t work, we get to share the blame, and if things do work, he gets all the credit, and he’ll stay in power.”        So just from a pure political calculation, they said, “We’re better off just saying no to everything, blocking everything.  If things don’t work, then Obama will get all the blame.  And if things get a little bit better, we won’t be any worse off than we would have been.”  That I think was the political calculation.     Now, I have to give them credit -- that from just a raw political point of view, it’s been a pretty successful strategy, right?  Because right now people are frustrated.  All the good feeling that we had coming into the campaign is dissipated. Everybody is thinking to themselves, well, gosh, you know, we sent Obama up there, we thought the tone would change, folks are arguing just as much as they were before, so we’ve kind of lost hope and we’re a little discouraged, and that means a lot of the people who were supporting me may stay -- are talking about maybe just staying home in the election.  And meanwhile, the other side is all ginned up -- we can take power back.        I think that the only way this is going to change is if the same folks who supported me in 2008 -- not just Democrats, but independents and Republicans who want to see the country move forward -- if they don’t sit on the sidelines, they don’t give up, you don’t give up, but you say I’m going to keep on looking for folks who are trying to offer serious solutions to problems.  And, you know, we don’t expect our elected officials to be perfect but we do expect them to be honest and real with us about what we’re going to do about education or what we’re going to do about energy or what we’re going to do about this problem or that problem.        And I’ve just got to assume that if people more and more insist and demand on that kind of attitude and are willing to punish folks when they go over the top, whether it’s on the left or the right, in being not so civil, that eventually politicians adapt because they start saying to themselves, well, you know what, this is what voters want.        Now, there’s one last aspect of this that makes it tough and that is the media has gotten very splintered. So what happens is these cable shows and these talk show hosts, they figure -- a lot of them have figured out, the more controversial I can be, if I’m going out there and I’m calling Obama this name or that name or saying he wasn’t born in this country or -- that will get me attention.  I will then write a book, I’ll go and sell it, I get -- right?          And there are folks on the left who do the same thing, trying to be purposely provocative, saying the meanest, nastiest things you can say about the other side.  They get rewarded in the way our media is set up right now.     So part of the challenge is figuring out how to create a space for people saying we’re all Americans and we’re just going to try to solve our problems, and we’re going to have some differences, because some of these issues are hard -- is there a way where those voices get heard, because right now they’re not really getting heard.        I was amused -- Jon Stewart, the host of “The Daily Show,” apparently he is going to host a rally called something like Americans in Favor of a Return to Sanity or something like that.  And his point was, you know, 70 percent of the people, it doesn’t matter what their political affiliation are, 70 percent of the folks are just like you, which is they’re going about their business, they’re working hard every day, they’re looking after their families.  They don’t go around calling people names.  They don’t make stuff up.  They may not be following every single issue, because they just don’t have time.  But they are just expecting some common sense and some courtesy in how people interact.  And having those voices lifted up is really important.  So hopefully, since they’ve got a whole bunch of cameras here, somebody was just listening to you.        Q    We’re counting on you, because if you can’t do it, I’m not sure who is going to.          Well, I appreciate that.        Q    So my wife and I are counting on you.          Thank you so much.  It means a lot.  All right, you get -- I’m going to have to make this the last question.  Go ahead.        Q    Okay, lucky me.  , I’m the President of a very small community bank locally.  And my question is this.  Do you believe that our country, our nation, is stronger as a result of your leadership, having been elected President?  And the reason I ask this question is, I was reading earlier today that the consumer confidence index is down almost to the lowest point this year in the last September reading.  And the expectations index is also trending downward.  And I wonder if you think our nation is strong -- which I would hope you do -- the question is, what is the disconnect between consumers’ perception of the nation, of our economy, and yours?          Right. Well, it’s a great question.  There is no doubt in my mind that the country is stronger now than it was a year ago.  And so the policies we put in place have reversed a contracting economy.  It’s now growing.        As I said before, we were losing hundreds of thousands of jobs a month; now each month we’re adding jobs in the private sector.          Businesses are very profitable, which is why the stock market has actually recovered a lot of its value is because companies are making a profit.  But I think that the reason there is a disconnect has to do with a couple of things.  Number one, it’s the point that -- I’m sorry, what was your name?        Q    Scott.          The point that Scott made.  I think people just -- it seems like everybody is out there yelling at each other and angry, and so that kind of is disquieting.  It makes people feel like the country just is pulling apart as opposed to coming together.        And then that adds to an atmosphere -- oops -- remember I talked energy-efficient buildings, we got to -- (laughter.)  So I think that’s part of it.  But obviously the most important part of it is just that people are still hurting economically. Even though things have gotten modestly better, you’ve still got millions of people out there who are out of a job.        You’ve still got hundreds of thousands of folks out there who are losing their homes.  I hear from them every day in settings like this.  I hear from them because I get letters every night from folks who are asking me, why aren’t we seeing faster progress in terms of the economy picking up.     And so, you know, this has been now -- this was the longest recession and the deepest recession by far that we’ve experienced since the Great Depression.  Basically, unless you were of age during the Great Depression, folks have never seen anything like this.        So understandably, people are nervous.  And I think those two things combine because if you don’t have confidence that the country can pull together and you know that the problems are hard to solve and you know that we’ve got competition from China and India and Brazil and Europe, then you start thinking, well, maybe we’re not going to be the same land of opportunity 20 years from now or 30 years from now as we were.  And I think even people who are doing okay right now are anxious about the future of the country.        And I guess my response then to people is to say, look, in our own individual lives each of us go through times where it just seems like we get -- it feels like we get some bad breaks or we make some mistakes, something happens in our life where we’re kind of in a hole.  And the deeper the hole sometimes the harder it is to muster up the energy and the go-get-’em attitude to be able to climb out of it.        But if you persist -- at least I’ve found in my life and I’m sure everybody here has found in their lives -- if you persist, if you stay with it, if you have a positive attitude that doesn’t ignore problems but says, “I can solve these problems, as long as I apply myself, and if something doesn’t work I don’t brood on the fact that it doesn’t work; I’m going to try something different.  But I’m just going to keep my eye on a better future,” then eventually you get out of the hole.  You figure it out. And America has always done that.  We’ve been in tough times before, but we’ve always figured it out.  Eventually -- this isn’t the first time we’ve had such contentious politics.  I mean, shoot, I was -- some people may remember when Bill Clinton was President, folks were going nuts, calling him names, and Hillary names, and frankly, when Ronald Reagan was President, the first couple of years, they were -- the economy went through a very tough time.   And even though now everybody remembers him as a great communicator, at the time, everybody was saying, “Oh, the country is falling apart.”  We had inflation and high unemployment.  But we got our way -- we found our way through it.   And I think we’ll find our way through this as well.  We’re just going to have to be persistent.  And the one thing I think everybody has to admit about me, even my detractors, is I’m stubborn.  I just -- I stay with it.  And I’m not going to lose heart about this country because I know what this country has given to me in my own life.   This is the only country in the world where somebody born in my circumstances could stand before you as the President of the United States -- or as the President of their country. There’s no other country that can provide that kind of opportunity.  And if that was true for me, that’s going to be true for the next generation. But we’re just going to have to keep on pushing.  And being with families like all of yours gives me great confidence in the future.   So thank you very much, everybody.  Appreciate it. 
Request a Fact Check
September 29, 2010
That’s why we’ve put so much emphasis on education reform.  And this is one area where I think that we’ve actually gotten some compliments from Republicans because we’re -- we are not taking an ideological approach.  We’re saying how do we create more accountability in the system, how do we encourage better teachers in the classroom, how do we break through some of the bureaucracy to make sure our kids are learning what they need to learn.
Request a Fact Check
September 29, 2010
And I just want to use as an example the proposal that they put forward with respect to tax policy.  They want to borrow $700 billion to provide tax cuts for the top 2 percent of Americans, people making more than $250,000 a year.  It would mean an average of a $100,000 check to millionaires and billionaires.  That’s $700 billion we don’t have, so we’d either have to borrow it, which would add to our deficit, or we’d have to cut -- just to give you an example, about 20 percent of the amount of money that we spend on education.  We’d have to cut investments we’ve made in clean energy.  We’d have to cut investments we’ve made in Head Start.  We’d have to cut improvements in terms of student loans for kids going to college that would affect about 8 million kids.
Request a Fact Check
September 29, 2010
One of the things that we did this year that didn’t get a lot of attention was we were able to change the student loan program out of the federal government to save about $60 billion that’s going to go directly to students in the form of higher grants, reduced loan burdens, debt burdens when they get out of college.  It’s going to make a difference to them.  So we’re going to do everything we can to make sure they can succeed educationally.
Request a Fact Check
September 29, 2010
The second most powerful thing I can do to reduce the poverty rate is improve our education system because the single biggest indicator of poverty is whether or not you graduated from high school and you’re able to get some sort of post-secondary education.  And right now too many of our schools are failing.
Request a Fact Check
September 29, 2010
Then what we’re trying to do is make sure that we’re working with community colleges and ensuring that they are providing a great pathway for young people who do graduate from high school.  They may not go to four-year colleges right away, but the community college system can be just a terrific gateway for folks to get skills.  Some start at a community college and then go on to four-year colleges.  Some just get technical training, get a job and then come back maybe five years later to upgrade their skills or adapt them to a new business.
Request a Fact Check
September 29, 2010
My question for you comes from a member of my congregation who is 55 years of age, has a wife, two children who are freshmen in high school.  A year ago he lost his job in manufacturing.  He’s been unemployed now for a year plus.  What will your economic policies do for him within the next year, and hopefully to be able to secure a job and have that American Dream again, which has now been lost?
Request a Fact Check
October 22, 2010
And that’s why Harry Reid and Dina Titus and Shelley Berkley, that’s why Democrats in Congress helped to take away tens of billions of dollars that were going in unwarranted subsidies to banks, and they shifted those to fund college scholarships for young people all across the country, millions of young people -- millions of young people getting more help to go to college.  That’s what this election is about.  That’s the choice that we face. 
Request a Fact Check
October 22, 2010
We play for first.  And that's why, instead of giving unwarranted subsidies to the banks, we've taken tens of billions of dollars and we’re now putting them where they should go -- to students like you -- to make sure that you can afford a college education, and a $10,000 tuition tax credit for every young person in America so you can get the education you deserve.  That's the choice in this election. 
Request a Fact Check
October 23, 2010
That’s why Amy, that's why Al, that's why we worked together -- Keith, Patty -- that's why we came together to make sure that we took tens of billions of dollars that were going to banks in unwarranted subsidies and we sent that money where it should be going -- to you.  We are financing millions of young people’s college educations more effectively now -- higher Pell Grants, better student loans; a $10,000 tax credit for every young person going to college.  Those are the kinds of choices we're making.  And that’s the choice in this election.
Request a Fact Check
October 23, 2010
And so we saw a massive hole. And that in and of itself would be sufficient to make this a difficult political environment.  But what makes it worse is that crisis was really a culmination of what some have called the lost decade.  Between 2001 and 2009, we had the slowest job growth in any time since World War II. Between 2001 and 2009, we actually saw the middle class lose 5 percent of their income -- 5 percent of their income.  This is at a time when the costs of health care, the costs of a college education were all skyrocketing. People were watching manufacturing ship out to other countries.
Request a Fact Check
October 23, 2010
And so we started off with education.  We've seen a transformation of our education agenda.  Not only did we save the jobs of teachers, but we also instituted a reform agenda that now has states all across the country raising standards, training teachers more effectively, going out there each and every day and finding out what are the best practices that can ensure that our kids can learn and compete in the 21st century.  And that's K through 12.
Request a Fact Check
October 23, 2010
And then we said, that's not enough.  We've got to make sure that every young person in America is prepared for college and then can afford to go to college.  So we took tens of billions of dollars that were going to the banks in unwarranted subsidies and we shifted those to our student loan programs and our Pell Grant programs.  And we've got millions of young people all across the country who are now able to afford college because of the steps that these courageous members of Congress were willing to take during the course of this year.
Request a Fact Check
October 25, 2010
Between that same period, 2001 to 2009, middle-class families on average lost 5 percent of their income. Think about that.  This is at a time when health care costs skyrocketed.  College tuition, off the charts.  More jobs being shipped overseas.  Families just barely keeping up, working two jobs, three jobs to pay the mortgage, to pay the bills.
Request a Fact Check
October 25, 2010
That’s why, with the help of a Democratic Congress, we took tens of billions of dollars that were being put into unwarranted subsidies for banks in the student loan program.  We said, let’s not do that.  Let’s have the money go where it belongs -- to the students.  And we now have millions more young people who are able to get student loans and Pell Grants -- higher levels of grants, a $10,000 tuition relief credit for each student.  That’s our agenda for economic growth.  That’s what’s going to make a difference.
Request a Fact Check
October 26, 2010
I mean, we made a different choice when it comes to education.  Not only have we been willing to reform education in ways that sometimes offends some of our core base because it’s the right thing to do.  But we also, for example, took tens of billions of dollars that were going in unwarranted subsidies to banks, and they’re now going to students in direct student loans, and in increased Pell Grants, and making college much more affordable, and boosting up our community colleges, which serve as a gateway for so many working families.
Request a Fact Check
October 29, 2010
Meanwhile, as your incomes were going down, your costs of living, health care, college tuition, groceries, all were going up. Too many jobs were leaving this area and going overseas. Too many parents couldn’t afford to send their kids to college or go to a doctor when they got sick. Americans were working two to three jobs just to make ends meet. All this was happening before the crisis. And it all culminated and was compounded by the worst economic situation since the Great Depression.
Request a Fact Check
October 30, 2010
I want to thank the first-time voters and Temple University Young Democrats -- for all the great work you guys have done.  And give it up for Quincy Lyons for the great job he’s doing organizing.    Now, I am not here to give a long speech, because I want everybody out there, not in here.  I’m here to deliver two messages.     The first message is thank you, because not only did all of you mobilize, organize and energize in 2008 to help send me to the White House -- but over the last two years, so many of you have continued to be involved each and every day to make sure that we could keep moving this country forward. It’s because of you that young people are getting college scholarships that weren’t getting it before.    It’s because of you that young people can now stay on their parents’ health insurance till they’re 26 -- and folks who have health insurance aren’t dropped by insurance companies when they get sick.     And the fact that -- and it’s because of you that we’re also going to be able to fund AIDS.  It’s because of you that we are going to be in a position to make sure that each and every person out there is able to find work after a devastating economic crisis that made such a difference to so many families all across this country.   Now, here’s the thing, though, guys.  You cannot stop now, because the fact of the matter is we are in a difficult election.  It’s difficult here in Pennsylvania. It is difficult all across the country.   And unless each and every one of you turn out, and get your friends to turn out, and get your families to turn out, then we could fall short, and all the progress that we’ve made over the last couple of years can be rolled back.     So the key right now is not just to show up here, it’s not just to listen to speeches.  It’s to go out there and do the hard work that's going to be required to bring this home over the last few days.  That's going to be the key.    And so I know that some of you may have been at the rally we had with 20,000 folks of Germantown.    But you know what, coming to a rally, that's not the hard part.  What I need this weekend is 20,000 doors knocked on by all the volunteers who are here today.    Is that something that you think you can do, 20,000?          In order for Joe Sestak to be successful and Dan Onorato to be successful and the entire Democratic ticket to be successful, you're going to need to talk to folks everywhere you can and make sure that you describe to them the future that you see for this country.       You want a country where every young person can get a decent education. You want a country where nobody is bankrupt because they get sick.  You want a country where our seniors can retire with dignity and respect, and Social Security is there not just for this generation but for future generations.       You want a country that has the best infrastructure in the world.  We used to be number one.  We can’t have the best rail lines and the best airports built in China or Singapore.  They need to be right here in the United States of America.        We don't want to be falling behind in math and science and technology. We’ve got to be first in research and development and technology to make sure that the new products and new services are developed right here in the United States.       We want clean energy here.  We don't want solar panels and wind turbines and electric cars built in China or Europe.  We want them built here in the United States with American workers.        And so it is absolutely critical that you go out there and you describe your hopes for the future, especially the young people here, because this election is not just going to set the stage for the next two years.  It’s going to set the stage for the next 10, for the next 20.         And for those of you who were so excited two years ago, I just want to remind you this.  Two years ago was not about me.  It was about you and it was about this country.  And I said then that change was going to be hard.  Now, we’ve been involved in some tough fights over the last two years.  We can’t move backwards now.  We’ve got to keep moving forward now.  And that's all going to be up to you.     So I want everybody to get out there, knock on doors, make phone calls, volunteer, talk to your friends, talk to your neighbors, go into the beauty shops, go into the barber shops, when you’re in church or -- you know, this weekend, I want everybody to be talking about -- have folks voted.         If you do that, then I am confident we’re not just going to win this election but we’re going to keep on moving this country forward so that the American Dream is accessible for everybody, not just some.       Thank you very much, Philadelphia.  I love you.  God bless you.  Let’s get busy.  Let’s go to work.  Thank you. 
Request a Fact Check
October 30, 2010
That's why we took tens of billions of dollars that were going in taxpayer subsidies, unwarranted subsidies to big banks and sent that money to where it needed to go, to students and to families to help them pay for college. That's why we’ve got a new college tax credit worth $10,000 in tuition relief to every student. That's the future we believe in. That's the choice in this election. That's the America that we believe in.
Request a Fact Check
October 31, 2010
The Alderwoman -- we’re in Chicago, you got to talk about your Alderwoman -- Leslie Hairston is in the house.  Democratic nominee for Lieutenant Governor and my great friend Sheila Simon is here.    Another wonderful friend, nominee for Treasurer, Robin Kelly.    Outstanding young public servant nominee for Comptroller, David Miller.    Alderman and Democratic nominee for Cook County Board President and my Alderwoman, Toni Preckwinkle, is here.    I want to thank Common for doing such a great job in the opening.   Chicago boy.     And Treasurer and soon-to-be Senator from the great state of Illinois, Alexi Giannoulias, is here.    So you’re fired up and ready to go?    How about you?  Are you fired up and ready to go?    I can’t think of -- I can’t --       AUDIENCE:  Obama!  Obama!  Obama!  Obama!         Thank you.  Look, I can’t think of anything better than being with a hometown crowd that is fired up.   Plus, I’m going to sleep in my own bed tonight.       Now, Chicago, in three days, you have the chance to set the direction of this state and this country for years to come.  And just like you did in 2008, you can defy the conventional wisdom, the kind that says you can’t overcome cynicism in politics, you can’t overcome the special interests, you can’t overcome the big money, you can’t overcome all the negativity, you can’t overcome the big challenges any more, you can’t elect a skinny guy with a funny name to the U.S. Senate or the presidency.  In three days you’ve got the chance to once again say what?       AUDIENCE:  Yes, we can!          Look, there is no doubt -- there is no doubt that this is a tough election.  It’s tough here in Illinois.  It’s tough all across the country.         And the reason it’s tough is because we’ve been through an incredibly difficult time as a nation.  It didn't just start a year ago.  It didn't just start two years ago.  For the last decade, for the last 10 years, the middle class has been getting a tough time.       Between 2001 and 2009, the wage -- the incomes of the average middle-class family went down 5 percent.  Between 2001 and 2009, job growth was slower than any time since World War II, so families were seeing their incomes go down even as their costs for health care, their costs for college education, their costs for groceries were all going up.       Folks were having to keep two, three jobs just to keep up.  Meanwhile, too many jobs were disappearing overseas.  And all this culminated in the worst financial crisis since the Great Depression and the worst economic crisis since the 1930s.         So families that were already worried, already having a tough time, already having to skip going to the doctor because they didn't have insurance, or already having to say to their kids maybe you can’t go to college this year because we don't have the money, things got even worse.   We lost 4 million jobs in the six months before I took the oath of office; 750,000 the month I took the oath; 600,000 the month after that; 600,000 the month after that.  We lost almost 8 million jobs before any of our economic policies had a chance to take effect.         Now, when I got to Washington, my hope was that we could bring both parties together, that we could put politics aside to meet this once-in-a-generation challenge.  That was my hope because although we are proud to be Democrats, we are prouder to be Americans.        And I believe -- I believed then and I still believe now that there are a lot of Republicans around the country who feel the same way, and a lot of independents around the country who feel the same way.     But the Republican leaders in Washington, they made a different decision. Rather than roll up their sleeves and get to work, they looked around and they said, “Boy, we made a really big mess.  We made such a big mess that it’s going to take everything just to try to solve it.  And it may not be solved in a couple of years.  So many folks have already lost their jobs.  So many businesses have already closed.  We might be better off just sitting on our hands, sitting on the sidelines, and just going after Obama and saying no to every single thing he proposes, and then maybe the Democrats will get the blame when people get angry and frustrated for the lack of progress.”   In other words, the other side, their political strategy was that all of you would get amnesia.    That was their strategy. They’re betting that everybody around the country would forget who caused this mess in the first place.     So Chicago, it’s up to you to let them know that we have not forgotten.    We don't have amnesia.  It’s up to you to remember that this election is a choice between the policies that got us into this mess and the policies that are starting to lead us out of this mess.    If the other side wins this election, the chair of a Republican campaign committee promised the “exact same agenda” that we had before I took office.  Now, we know what that agenda was.  We know what that agenda is.  They want to cut taxes, mostly for millionaires and billionaires.  They want to cut the rules for special interests. They want to cut middle-class families loose to fend for themselves.     So if you’re out of work -- tough luck, you’re on your own.  If you don't have health insurance or your insurance company drops you when you get sick -- too bad, you’re on your own.  You’re a young person trying to make it to college, but you don't have a lot of money -- too bad, pull yourself up by your bootstraps, you’re on your own.     It’s the same agenda that turned record surpluses into record deficits; that allowed Wall Street to run wild that nearly destroyed our economy.     So I bring this up -- I wanted to just go down Memory Lane there for a moment not to re-argue the past, but because we don't want to relive the past.   We’ve been there before.  We’ve tried what they’re selling.  And we’re not buying it.   We’re not going back.    Around the country I’ve been trying to describe it this way.  Imagine the American economy as a car.   And the Republicans were at the wheel and they drove it into a ditch.  And it’s a steep ditch, it’s a deep ditch.  And somehow they walked away.   But we had to go down there.  So me and all the Democrats, we put on our boots and we repelled down into the ditch.    And it was muddy down there and hot.  We’re sweating, pushing on the car.  Feet are slipping.  Bugs are swarming.     We look up and the Republicans are up there, and we call them down, but they say, no, we’re not going to help.  They’re just sipping on a Slurpee -- fanning themselves.  They’re saying, you’re not pushing hard enough, you’re not pushing the right way.  But they won’t come down to help.  In fact, they’re kind of kicking dirt down into us, down into the ditch.    But that's okay.  We know what our job is, and we kept on pushing, we kept on pushing, we kept on pushing until finally we’ve got that car on level ground.    Finally we got the car back on the road.   Finally we got that car pointing in the right direction.        And suddenly we have this tap on our shoulder, and we look back and who is it?       AUDIENCE:  Republicans.         It’s the Republicans.  And they're saying, excuse me, we’d like the keys back.       AUDIENCE:  No!         And we’ve got to say to them, I’m sorry, you can’t have the keys back.  You don't know how to drive!   You don't know how to drive.  You can ride with us.    But we’re driving, and we’re going to have the middle class sitting right beside us because they're the folks that we’re fighting for.        Look, because of the steps we’ve taken, we no longer face the possibility of a second depression.  The economy is growing again.  We’ve seen private-sector job growth for nine months in a row.     But we’ve still got a long way to go.  We’ve still got a lot of work to do.  All across this state, from Carbondale, to Elgin, to Quincy, to Chicago, folks are hurting.  There are too many folks without jobs.  Some families are hanging on by a thread.     That's what keeps me up at night.  That's what keeps Pat up at night. It’s what keeps Alexi up at night.  That's what keeps us fighting because we know that we’ve still got a long way to go.     See, we’ve got a different idea about what the future should hold for families across Illinois and across this country.  And it’s an idea rooted in our belief about how this country was built.       You know, we -- you think about our stories.  Pat came from humble beginnings; Alexi from an immigrant family.  Me -- you guys know my background.  We didn't come to the scene -- we didn't come to the scene with a silver spoon in our mouths here.         Our families worked hard, and they knew that government doesn’t have all the answers to our problems.  We believe government has to be lean and efficient.  We believe that free enterprise is the greatest engine for prosperity ever known to man.     But in the words of the first Republican President, Abraham Lincoln, we also believe that government should and must do for the people what they cannot do by themselves individually.    We believe in America that rewards hard work and responsibility for everybody and creates ladders of opportunity.  We believe in a country where we look after one another, where we say, I am my brother’s keeper, I am my sister’s keeper.    That's the America we believe in.  That's the America we know.    That's the choice in this election.        We believe in an America that invests in its future and in its people.  We believe in an America that's built to compete in the 21st century.  We know the jobs and businesses of tomorrow will end up in the countries that have the best educational system, the best infrastructure, the strongest commitment to research and technology.  I want that nation to be the United States of America.      There’s no reason why China should have the fastest railroads or Singapore have better airports.  We’re the nation that built the Transcontinental Railroad right through Chicago.  We’re the nation that built the Interstate Highway System right through Chicago.       Today, we’re seeing America put folks to work, thousands of people building new roads and railways and runways, because that's what America is about.  We build.  An America where we build an infrastructure for the 21st century, putting people back to work, doing the work that needs to be done.       We see an America where we invest in homegrown innovation and ingenuity, where we export goods, we don't just import goods; where we create jobs here at home; where we make it easier for somebody with a good idea to start a business or patent an invention.  We don't want to keep on giving tax breaks to corporations that ship jobs overseas.  We want to give tax breaks to companies that are investing right here in Illinois --   right here in the Midwest, all across America, investing in small businesses and American manufacturers and clean energy companies.  We don't want solar panels and wind turbines and electric cars made in Asia or in Europe.  We want them made here in America, by American workers. That's the choice in this election.        We see an America where every citizen has the skills and the training to compete with any worker in the world.  We can’t allow other countries to outpace us when it comes to math and science and our college graduation rates.  We used to be number in college graduation rates. We used to be number one in math and number one in science.  And now we’re ninth in college graduation rates; 21st in math; 25th in science.  That's not acceptable.  And that's why we over the last two years made historic investments in education.  That's why we set a goal:  By 2020, we are going to be number one again in the proportion of college graduates.          And we didn't just talk about it.  We put our money where our mouth was.  And we stopped providing subsidies to the big banks, and poured tens of billions of dollars into student loans and Pell Grants to make college more affordable for students all across this country.        Millions of young people are seeing college more affordable because of the actions we took.  And now we’ve got the other side saying that to pay for a $700 billion tax cut that would go to the top 2 percent -- the wealthiest 2 percent -- they want to cut education by 20 percent.       AUDIENCE:  No!         That makes no sense.  It makes no sense.  Do you think China is cutting back education spending by 20 percent?       AUDIENCE:  No!         Do you think Germany is cutting back education spending by 20 percent?       AUDIENCE:  No!         Those countries aren’t playing for second place.  And we don't play for second place.  This is the United States of America.  We play for first place.  That's the choice in this election.  That's what this election is all about.        That's why we have to continue to provide assistance to young people going to college.  That's why we have to renew the tax credit we’ve instituted -- $10,000 per young person who is going to college for four years -- so that they're not loaded down with a mountain of debt.  And they can aspire to anything that their imagination leads them to.  That's what this election is about.       Look, this election is also about not leaving a mountain of debt for the next generation.  The other side talks a good game about deficits, except you will recall that the last time they were in charge they took record surpluses from a Democratic President and left record deficits that I inherited.       And so when we make decisions about deficits, we’re not going to do it on the shoulders -- on the backs of students or seniors or veterans or the vulnerable.  We’re going to make sure that we do it in a sensible way that shares sacrifices.  We’re going to go after those deficits, but we’re going to do it in a way that's fair and reflects the need to grow this economy over the long term.  And that's what this election is about.  And this election is making sure that we don't turn the keys back to the special interests in Washington.         AUDIENCE:  No!         When we passed health care reform, let me tell you something.    We did that because all across this country there were folks, hardworking folks, who paid their insurance premiums and then suddenly found insurance companies dropping them when they got sick; or folks who were working hard and wanted to get insurance but had a preexisting condition and couldn’t get it.       And so we said, anybody in America, anybody in America who is working hard, who is doing the right thing, they shouldn’t go bankrupt when they get sick.  And so we passed a law that made sure that insurance companies could no longer drop you when you got sick.        We passed a law that said everybody under the age of 26 could stay on their parents’ health insurance.    We passed a law to make sure that 30 million folks can get affordable, accessible insurance, and we did it in a way that will reduce our deficit by over a trillion dollars.        And now the other side says they want to roll that back.       AUDIENCE:  No!         The same thing is true for financial reform.  We just went through the worst crisis since the 1930s.  And so we passed a bill that says you can’t be cheated by your credit card company; they can’t jack up your rates for no reason; that we’re not going to have taxpayer bailouts again.  And they said their number one priority -- they want to roll this back.     So, look, we’ve got a lot of work to do, not only to move the country forward, but to make sure that the progress we’ve made continues. And we need to work together -- Democrats and Republicans -- to get it done.       But I’ve got to tell you, the other side right now they're feeling kind of cocky.  And they don't see it that way.  The Republican leader of the House says that, quote, “this is not a time for compromise.” The Republican leader of the Senate said that his main goal over the next two years -- his number one priority -- is to beat me in the next election.         AUDIENCE:  No!         I mean, keep in mind he didn't say his number one priority was put more people back to work, help more small businesses succeed.  It wasn’t to reduce the deficit.  His top priority was to win the next election.  We haven’t even finished this election yet.       But that's the kind of cynicism we’re fighting.  That's the kind of politics that we decided to change in this country, the kind of politics that puts scoring points ahead of solving problems.  And that's where you come in.       And I want to speak not just to Chicago; I want to speak to everybody in Illinois.  The only way to fight this cynicism, the only way to match the millions of dollars of special interests’ money, all that money that's being poured in as attack ads against Alexi, against Pat, the only way to do it is with your voices -- the millions of voices who are ready to finish what we started in 2008.        We need you to get out and vote.  But we need you more than that.  We need you to work to help get everybody out to vote, because if everybody who fought for change in 2008 shows up in 2010, we will win this election.       And you know a lot of you got involved in 2008 because you believed we were at a defining moment in our history.  A lot of you believed that this was a time when the decisions we made about the challenges we face wouldn’t just affect us; they’d affect our children and our grandchildren and our great grandchildren.       That's why you knocked on those doors.  That's why you made those phone calls.  That's why you cast in some cases your votes for the very first time because you understood what was at stake.  And now, two years later, I know that some of the excitement that we had in Grant Park, you know, that fades away.       AUDIENCE:  No!         Some of the excitement -- some of the excitement of Inauguration Day -- you know, Beyoncé was singing -- and Bono was up there and everybody was feeling good -- I know that good feeling starts slipping away.  And you talk to your friends who are out of work, you see somebody lose their home, and it gets you discouraged.  And then you see all these TV ads and all the talking heads on TV, and everything just feels negative.  And maybe some of you, maybe you stop believing.       AUDIENCE:  No!         Maybe you lose faith.  But I want everybody here to understand, don't let anybody tell you that this fight hasn’t been worth it.  Don't let them tell you that you haven’t already made a difference.         Because of you, there’s a woman somewhere in Illinois who doesn’t have to choose between losing her home and treating her cancer.     Because of you, somewhere here in Illinois there’s a parent who can look their child in the eye and say, “You are going to go to college.  We can afford it.”        Because of you, somewhere in Illinois there’s a small business owner who is able to keep their doors open and keep all the families that were supported by jobs at that business -- keep that company going.       Because of you, somewhere in Illinois there is an outstanding veteran -- one of the hundreds of thousand brave men and women -- who are no longer at war in Iraq because of you.        So don't let folks tell you that change isn’t possible.  Don't let that get you down.  I know things are hard sometimes, but you know what, this country was founded on hard.         You know, this country started -- 13 colonies -- who folks said didn't have a chance against the British Empire.  And then they drafted this document with ideas that had never been tried before:  “We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, endowed by their Creator with certain inalienable rights, that among these are life and liberty and the pursuit of happiness.”        But even after they drafted those documents, it was still hard.  And we had to abolish slavery.  And we had to win women the right to vote.   And we had to win workers the right to organize.   We had to battle through depression and the war against fascism and the divisions in our own country to perfect this union.  And we haven’t gotten there yet, but at every stage we’ve made progress because somebody stood up.        And when one person stood up, then suddenly 10 people stood up.  And then maybe a thousand people stood up, and then maybe 100,000 stood up.    And then maybe a million stood up.       That's what happens with change.  It’s infectious.  And that's the spirit we need today.         You know, in the introductions, I think some people mentioned a dear friend of mine who passed this past weekend. Bishop Brazier had a church right down the street.  Michelle and I used to go to church at Apostolic sometime. And here’s somebody who knew me when I was a young lawyer, had just moved to Chicago.  And I remember when I was making the decision to run for President, I called him.  And I said, you know, Bishop, I’m really not sure this is possible.  I don't know if I’m going to make it, but I think it’s worth trying.  And he says, I don't know what God has in store for you, Barack.  But he did say you won’t know either unless you try.        And that idea is what has motivated so many people across the decades. That idea is the quintessentially American idea -- that this journey is never easy.  But we’ve got to try.        And the journey we began together two years ago was not about putting me in the White House; it was about building a movement for change that endures.  It was about realizing that in the United States of America anything is possible if we’re willing to work for it, if we’re willing to fight for it, if we’re willing to believe in it.           So, Chicago, I need you to keep on fighting.    Illinois, I need you to keep on believing.    I need you to knock on some doors.    I need you to talk to your neighbors.   I need you to get out and vote in this election -- because if you do, if you’re willing to step up, if you’re willing to try, we won’t just win this election.  Pat won’t just win this election.  Alexi won’t just win this election. But we will restore our economy.  We will rebuild the middle class. And we will reclaim the American Dream for another generation and generations to come.        God bless you and God bless the United States of America. 
Request a Fact Check
October 31, 2010
In two days, you have the chance to set the direction of this country and this state for many years to come. Just like you did in 2008, you can defy the conventional wisdom  -– the kind of conventional wisdom, the stale wisdom that says you can’t overcome cynicism in our politics; that says, no, you can’t overcome all the special interests and the special interest money; that says, no, you can’t tackle the biggest challenges in this country.   In two days, you’ve got the chance to once again say, “Yes, we can.”      Now, Cleveland, there is no doubt that this is a difficult election.  And that’s because we’ve gone through an incredibly difficult time as a nation.  And nobody knows that more than the folks in Cleveland and the folks in Ohio.     For most of the last decade, middle-class families have been struggling.  This didn’t just start a year ago, it didn’t just start two years ago.  Between 2001 and 2009, the average middle-class family saw their incomes across the country go down by 5 percent, when the other side was in charge.  Between 2001 and 2009, job growth was slower than any time since World War II.  Meanwhile, the costs of everything, from health care to sending a child to college, kept on going up and up and up.  Too many families couldn’t send their kids to college.  Too many families couldn’t visit a doctor when somebody got sick.  Americans, too many of them were working two, three jobs and still couldn’t make ends meet.  And a whole lot of folks couldn’t find a job at all.    And these problems were then compounded by the worst economic crisis, the worst financial crisis, since the Great Depression.  I mean, think about it, we had a recession that was so bad we lost 4 million jobs before Joe and I were even sworn into office.  Then we had another 750,000 jobs lost the month we took office; 600,000 the month after; 600,000 the month after that.  We lost almost 8 million jobs before our economic policies could even be put into place.   Now, when Joe and I got to Washington, our hope was that both parties would put politics aside to meet this once-in-a-generation challenge.  Because although we are proud to be Democrats, Cleveland, we are prouder to be Americans.  And we had confidence and continue to have confidence that there are Republicans out there who feel the same way.   But the Republican leaders in Washington, they had a different calculation.  Their basic theory was, you know what, the economy is so bad, we made such a mess of things, that rather than cooperate, we’ll be better off just saying no to everything. We’ll be better off not even trying to fix the economy.  And people will get angry and they will get frustrated and maybe two years from now they will have forgotten that we were the ones who caused the mess in the first place.   In other words, their basic political strategy has been to count on you having amnesia.   They’re betting all of you forgot how we got here.      Well, Cleveland, it’s up to you to let them know we have not forgotten.    It’s up to you to remember that this election is a choice -– between the policies that got us into this mess and the policies that are leading us out of this mess.   If they win this election, the chair of a Republican campaign committee promised to pursue the “exact same agenda” as they did before I came into office.  Now, think about that.  We know what that agenda is -- it does have the virtue of simplicity.  You can describe it very quickly.  You basically cut taxes for millionaires and billionaires; you cut rules for special interests; and then you cut middle-class families loose to fend for themselves.  You don’t have a job?  Tough luck, you’re on your own.  You don’t have health care?  Too bad, you’re on your own. You’re a young person who can’t afford to go to college?  Pull yourself up by your own bootstraps, you’re on your own.     This is an idea, this notion of theirs, that turned a record surplus into record deficits.  You hear them talking down about how they are going to cut debt and deficits?  These are the folks who ran up the deficit.  These are the folks that allowed Wall Street to run wild.  These are the folks that nearly destroyed our economy.      Now, I bring this up not to re-argue the past.  I bring it up because I don’t want to re-live the past.    We’ve been there before, we’ve tried what they’re selling, and we are not going back.  We are not going back.           Cleveland, imagine the Republicans were driving the economy like a car, and they drove it into the ditch. And this is a very deep, steep ditch.  And Joe and I and Ted, we had to put on our boots, we had to rappel down.    And it’s muddy down there and dusty and hot.  Somehow the Republicans, they fled the scene.  And now they’re up on the street and they’re looking down, and we call them down to help and they say, no, that’s all right.    They’re sipping Slurpees -- they’re fanning themselves.  They’re saying, you’re not pushing hard enough.  Sometimes they’re kicking dirt down into the ditch -- making it a little harder for us.        But that’s okay.  We kept on pushing.  We kept on pushing.  We kept on pushing.   And finally -- finally we got that car back on level ground.  It’s moving -- it’s pointing in the right direction.  It’s a little banged up.  It needs to go to the body shop.  It needs a tune-up.  But it’s pointing in the right direction.           And just as we’re about to go, suddenly we get a tap on our shoulders.  And we look back, who is it?  It’s the Republicans.  And they’re saying, we want the keys back.        AUDIENCE:  Nooo --          Cleveland, we can’t give them the keys back. They don’t know how to drive.   You can’t give them the keys back.  They can ride with us, but we don’t want to go back in the ditch.     Have you noticed when you want to go forward, what do you do with your car?        AUDIENCE:  D!          You put it in D.  When you want to go backwards, what do you do?        AUDIENCE:  R!          You put it in R.  That’s not a coincidence.    I don’t know about you, but I want to move forward.           Look, because of the steps we’ve taken, we no longer face the possibility of a second depression.  The economy is growing again.  The private sector has created jobs nine months in a row.  And you heard Ted describe his track record here in the state of Ohio -- massively expanding access to education, seeing job growth month after month, building infrastructure to put people back to word.  That is Ted’s record.  That’s Lee’s record.        So at the federal level and the state level, we have been working hard.  But, look, we understand we’ve got a long way to go.  We’ve got a lot of work to do.  I know there are a lot of people out there who are still hurting.  I know there are families some of them still hanging by a thread.  It keeps me up at night.  It keeps Joe up at night.  It keeps Ted up at night.  That’s what we’re fighting to fix.          But, you know what, the way to fix it is not to go back to what got us here.  It’s to move forward with the policies that are getting us out.    See, Ted and Lee and Joe and I, we’ve got a different idea about what the next few years should look like.  And it’s an idea rooted in our belief about how this country was built.  We didn’t come from wealth.  We didn’t come from fame.  But our families understood, in America if you work hard, if you’re responsible, if you do the right thing, you’ve got a chance.     And our families taught us that government doesn’t have all the answers to our problems.  Government should be lean and efficient.  We can’t waste taxpayer dollars, especially at a time as tough as time.  But in the words of the first Republican President, Abraham Lincoln, we also believe that government should do for the people what they cannot do better for themselves.     We believe in an America that rewards hard work and responsibility and individual initiative; that believes in the free market.  But we also believe in a country where we look after one another -- where I am my brother’s keeper, where I am my sister’s keeper.      That’s the America I know.  That’s the America Joe knows.  That’s the America Ted knows.  That’s the America you know -- an America that invests in its future and in its people; an America that’s built to compete in the 21st century.     We know the jobs and businesses of tomorrow will end up in countries that educate their workers best, that build the best infrastructure, that have the strongest commitment to research and technology.  I want that nation to be the United States of America.   I want that taking place right here in Ohio, right here in Cleveland.  That’s how we’re going to rebuild.       There is absolutely no reason that China should have faster railroads, that Singapore should have newer airports.  We’re the nation that built the transcontinental railroad.  We’re the nation that built the Interstate Highway System.  Right now, we are seeing thousands of people working to rebuild our roads and our railways and our runways, right here in Ohio and all across the country, trying to start to rebuild an infrastructure for the 21st century, putting people to work doing the work that America needs done.   We see an America where we invest in homegrown innovation and ingenuity; where we export more than we import; where we make it easier to start a business or patent an invention.  We don’t want to keep giving tax breaks to companies that are shipping jobs overseas.  I want companies getting tax breaks that are investing in Cleveland and in Dayton and in Toledo and in Ohio and in the United States of America.    In small businesses and American manufacturing -- which is coming back -- and in clean energy companies.  I don’t want solar panels and wind turbines built in Asia or Europe.  I want them made right here in the U.S. of A. with American workers.   That’s the choice in this election.     We see an America where every citizen has the skills, the training to compete with any worker in the world.  We can’t allow other countries to outpace us when it comes to education.  We used to be number one in the rate of college graduation rates.  We used to be at the top in math and science.  Now we’re ninth in the proportion of college graduates, 21st and 25th in math and science.  That’s unacceptable.     And so we made historic investments in education, just like Ted has done here in Ohio.  We set a goal that by 2020 we’re going to be number one again in the proportion of college graduates.        Now, remember I said it is a choice this election.  The other side, their main economic idea -- this is their main idea  -- is to provide $700 billion worth of tax cuts to the top 2 percent of earners --   AUDIENCE:  Nooo --     -- the 2 percent of wealthiest Americans, an average of $100,000 for millionaires and billionaires.  Now, look, I want people to succeed.  I think it’s wonderful if folks get rich.  I want everybody to have a chance to get rich.  You do, too -- this guy is raising his hand.  I think that’s great.  That’s part of the American Dream.  But the way they want to pay for these tax cuts is to cut education by 20 percent and to borrow the rest from other countries.     AUDIENCE:  Nooo --     Let me tell you, do you think China is cutting education spending by 20 percent?   AUDIENCE:  No!     Is Germany cutting education by 20 percent?   AUDIENCE:  No!     They’re not because they’re not playing for second place.  They’re playing for first place.  And you know what, the United States of America, we don’t play for second place, we don’t play for ninth place or 21st place or 25th place -- we play for number one.    And that’s what we’ve got to do in education.        And that’s why we committed tens of billions of dollars that had been going in unwarranted subsidies to big banks and we steered that money to where it needed to be going -- to students right here at Cleveland State and all across the country -- increasing access to Pell Grants, increasing college scholarships.
Request a Fact Check
November 29, 2010
I did not reach this decision easily. This is not just a line item on a federal ledger. These are people’s lives. They’re doctors and nurses who care for our veterans; scientists who search for better treatments and cures; men and women who care for our national parks and secure our borders and our skies; Americans who see that the Social Security checks get out on time, who make sure that scholarships comes through, who devote themselves to our safety. They’re patriots who love their country and often make many sacrifices to serve their country.
Request a Fact Check
December 16, 2010
This will put more land in the hands of tribes to manage or otherwise benefit their members.  This law also includes money to settle lawsuits over water rights for seven tribes in Arizona, Montana and New Mexico -- and it creates a scholarship fund so more Native Americans can afford to go to college.
Request a Fact Check
January 21, 2011
Schenectady offers that kind of example.  Hudson Valley Community College created a program so students could earn a paycheck and have their tuition covered while training for jobs at this plant.  That’s helping folks find good work; it’s helping GE fill high-skill positions; it’s making this whole region more competitive.
Request a Fact Check
January 24, 2011
10:57 A.M. EST      DR. BIDEN:  Good morning.  And on behalf of the President and First Lady, the Vice President and myself, I want to welcome you and thank you for joining us here today at the White House. I want to offer a special welcome to our service members and military families.  Your presence here today honors us all. I’m proud to stand here this morning as a military mom.  My son is a captain in the Delaware Army National Guard and he recently spent a year in Iraq, so my husband and I know well the mixture of pride and concern that all military families share.    From our earliest times together, Michelle and I have had the privilege of meeting with military service members and their families all around the country -- people and families like so many of you who are with us here today. People like Jessica Sanders who I met at a deployment ceremony for members of the Delaware Army National Guard’s 126th Aviation Regiment.  Jessica’s fiancé, Captain Mark Thomas, will deploy in the coming weeks to Afghanistan where he and his unit will provide medical evacuations for troops, allies and Afghan civilians.  Captain Thomas’s parents are here today, too.  Thank you for your service.     People like Sandra Norris, the wife of Colonel John Norris, who I met when I traveled to Iraq last summer.  Sandra has volunteered thousands of hours of her time and expertise over the past 20 years –- leading family readiness groups and supporting other military families as an advisor and a friend -- all while raising two sons and coping with John’s 42 months in combat. Each of you here today brings your own story of service, strength and sacrifice -- just like the many other military families we have been fortunate enough to meet. Michelle and I have heard your concerns about schools and career issues.  We have shared your joy when your service members have returned from deployment.  And we have tried to offer solace when your soldiers have returned home injured.  And in each and every instance, we have been moved not just by your sacrifices, but by your incredible spirit and commitment to America. Michelle and I have talked a lot about the ways that all Americans can support our troops and thank those men and women for their service.  Today, we will highlight the efforts of the federal government to support our nation’s military families. At the direction of the President, the agencies are acting in a coordinated, strategic, and comprehensive way to bring the full force of the federal government to bear on this critically important issue. As a teacher, I am particularly pleased that the Department of Education is supporting the military children in public schools throughout the country.  And I am looking forward to working with Secretary Duncan to help teachers understand how they can meet the unique needs of the military students in their classrooms. I am also heartened by the efforts to respond to the challenges facing our Guard and Reserve families -- from helping them sustain their businesses to supporting their reintegration back into their communities after deployments. Today is an important next step in this administration’s commitment to support our servicemen, their families and our members. Michelle and I hold this commitment close in our hearts, just as we keep each of our soldiers in our hearts and in our prayers.  As long as we have the privilege and honor of serving in our roles, we will do whatever we can to support those who protect us. And now it is my pleasure to introduce my partner, my dear friend, and our First Lady, Michelle Obama.   MRS. OBAMA:  Good morning.  Thank you.  Good morning, everyone.    Thank you.  Thanks so much.  Thank you all.  Thank you for being here.  Thank you, Jill, for that kind introduction.  It has been a true privilege to work with you on these and so many other issues.  And we’ve got a lot more work to do, so I’m looking forward to it. I also want to recognize all the members of the Cabinet, the elected officials, and all of the military family advocates that we have here with us today.   And let me say a special word of thanks to folks like Patty Shinseki, Becky Gates, and all of the spouses of the Joint Chiefs of Staff and the senior enlisted advisors who have been such good friends and trusted counselors to both Jill and me over these past couple of years.   But most of all, I want to take a moment to thank those among us today and everyone outside of this room who wears our country’s uniform, and the families who serve right alongside them each and every day.   Working with all of you is some of the best work I do.  Your stories affect me not just as First Lady, but as a mother, as a wife, and as an American.  Stories like that of the military wife, who has balanced raising a daughter, volunteering for her unit’s family readiness groups, and a career as a community developer, all while living in seven different states over 17 years. Stories like the woman who had just gotten her nursing degree and quit her new job only after two months, so that she could take care of her Navy SEAL brother who was wounded by an IED -- two of my favorite people.  And today, he’s doing better, even running last fall’s Army 10-miler on a pair of prosthetic legs.   Stories like the young woman, just 15 years old, who took on the role of a third parent -- helping her brothers and sisters with homework, assisting with meals -- as her mother cared for her wounded father.  She summed it all up by simply saying, “They needed me and I was there for them.” Stories like these -- and stories like those of so many in this room -- are a reminder of what words like “service,” “strength,” and “sacrifice” -- what those words look like in real life.  They’re a reminder of the love that keeps us together -- the love of family, the love of country.   And for me, and for Jill, they are a reminder of our obligation to our troops, our veterans, and their families -- an obligation to work harder; an obligation to channel the strength and courage of our military families and veterans into our work on their behalf. Again, I know Jill feels the same way, and we’ve learned so much as we’ve tackled these issues together.  We visited with servicemen and women, like many of you, at Fort Bragg or Nellis Air Force Base in San Diego and New York, at Landstuhl and in Baghdad.  We’ve played with your kids at childcare centers.  We’ve sat with you at hospital bedsides.  We’ve heard your concerns around conference tables.  We’ve invited you to the White House for roundtable discussions and backyard picnics and even a Halloween haunted house or two.       We’ve seen you giving back to your communities, no matter how strapped you are for time or resources or sleep.  We’ve heard how difficult it is when the only way you can connect with your spouse is by sporadic cell phone calls or emails.  We’ve seen the strength you’ve shown when a loved one comes home with a wounded body or painful memories, and the journey back to normal takes longer than expected.    And the more we’ve listened, the more stories we’ve heard, the more we’ve recognized that there is no one, single definition of a military family; there’s no standard-issue set of challenges that you all face.   The lives you lead, the families you build, the issues you confront are as diverse as anything seen throughout America.  You’re not just a military wife or a husband.  Maybe you’re a mom or a dad.  Maybe you, too, wear a uniform, or take care of a wounded warrior or a survivor to one of our fallen heroes.   You’re starting your career, or looking to succeed in the one you already have.  You’re trying to save for college for your kids and retirement for yourselves.  You’re hoping to squeeze in that late night class and make it back in time for dinner.  You’re trying to save up for that down payment on the home and still afford the right daycare center for your kids. And so, for me and for Jill, this isn’t about just understanding your concerns.  It’s about addressing your concerns.  It’s about telling your stories throughout the country, but more importantly, giving you a voice with decision-makers.  But most of all, it’s about getting something done.  It’s about making real, lasting changes that make a real difference in your lives.   And that’s why today means so much to us.  That’s why we’re so excited.  Because back in May, I announced that my husband had directed his Cabinet to identify new priorities and new partnerships to support our military families.  So today, they have come back with 50 -- 50 specific commitments that aim to keep improving your quality of life.   For instance, the Department of Education, as Jill mentioned, is simplifying its financial aid application process just for you.  The Departments of Labor, Commerce, Defense, and the Small Business Administration are partnering with the business community to expand your career options.  The Departments of Health and Human Services, Education, Agriculture, and Defense are working together to expand your childcare options.   But the list of commitments goes on and on, addressing everything from homelessness to mental health to employment opportunities for young adults.  So this effort gives you all a seat at the table not just at the White House or at the Pentagon or at the VA.  It gives you a seat at the table all across the federal government.       And I want to emphasize that this is not a one-time press conference.  This isn’t just a headline for today that gets buried under tomorrow’s news.  These are lasting commitments by the government to address your needs and concerns for years to come.  And my hope is that these recommendations will live on no matter the President, no matter the party.     So today isn’t the end of this process, not by a long shot. Don’t think for one minute that Jill and I will not keep pushing and advocating and fighting for you, because we will.  And we’re not going to stop until every part of our society -– every part, both inside and outside of government -– is fully mobilized to support our troops and their families.  After all the time I’ve spent with you, I know how much you deserve our government and our people’s support.  I know it because of your stories.  I know it because of what you’ve done for this country.  I know it because of that 15-year-old who answered the call, just because she was needed.   Some of the best memories I’ve had in the past couple of years are with you.   And my husband feels the exact same way.  I know that because of the moments that we’ve shared with wounded warriors and survivors, because of the military children who have made us both smile, and because of the conversation that he and I have had long after those events are over.  That’s why he has been such a leader on these issues.   And that is why I am so proud to introduce this man –- because he hears your stories not only as President and Commander-in-Chief, but also as a loving father and as a wonderful husband.  He doesn’t hear me say that often.     So I give to you the President of the United States, Barack Obama.      Thank you, everybody.  Thank you.    Thank you so much.  Thank you very much.  Everyone, please have a seat.  Thank you so much.     Well, good morning, everyone.  I want to thank Michelle and Jill -- although I have to say I hate following both of them.    As I think all you sense, when they speak, the government listens.  You should know -- and I know Joe Biden would agree with this -- when they speak, the President and Vice President listen.     So, Michelle and Jill, on behalf of all of us, thank you for being such extraordinary champions for our military families and making sure that their priorities are America’s priorities.   To all the members of Congress who are here, the members of my Cabinet, the Joint Chiefs of Staff, leaders from across the administration, and most of all, our troops, their families, their advocates -- thanks for joining us as we make an unprecedented commitment to America’s military families.   Now, last month I was in Afghanistan to visit our troops and to thank them for their service, especially during the holidays. And I think as some of you are aware, we fly in, in the dark of night for security reasons, unannounced.  Folks I'm sure have to scramble on the other end to make sure that our visit works.  And we had a wonderful crowd, a great rally.  And then afterwards, I took the time not only to meet with General Petraeus and some of the other commanding officers, but I also met with a group of our special ops forces.  Now, anybody who’s met with SEALs and Deltas, you know these are some of the toughest, most battle-hardened troops in our military.  They are involved in some of the most dangerous fighting that there is.   There are tough guys.  Looking at them, you can tell they’re tough.  Some folks end up being tough, but these -- you can just tell these guys are tough.    And they embody the courage and character that makes our military the finest in the world.  And just to give you some sense, these guys are going out on helicopter raids at night with very little support and carrying out extremely dangerous assignments each and every day.   So I asked them.  I said, “What do you need from me?  What can I do to support you better?”  And without missing a beat, they looked me in the eye and they gave me their answer.  It wasn’t about more equipment.  It wasn’t about more resources on the battlefield.  In fact, it wasn’t about them.  They said -- to a man -- “Sir, take care of our families.  Take care of our families.  If we know our families are all right back home, then we can do our jobs.”   So we are here today because nearly a decade of war has been taking place, and our Armed Forces -- you and your families -- have done everything you’ve been asked to do.  You’ve been everything we could ask you to be.  You have done your duty.  And as a grateful nation, we must do ours.  We have to make sure that America is serving you as well as you have served us.     This isn’t just a military or -- this is not just a moral obligation.  This is a matter of national security.  With millions of military spouses, parents and children sacrificing as well, the readiness of our Armed Forces depends on the readiness of our military families.   As Michelle mentioned, she and I see this in the spouses we meet.  During vacation, while we were in Hawaii, we had a chance to see a whole bunch of military families out on Kaneohe Marine Base.  And what was true then in the conversations we had is what we find wherever we go around the country -- truly heroic wives and husbands who become single parents on the home front and somehow keep it all together —- the house, the kids, maybe even a job of their own.     We see it in the resilience of so many military kids -— boys and girls who, like all the other kids, are just trying to grow up, trying to find their way, but who, unlike other kids, are also having to worry about whether their mom or dad is going to come home safe.   We see it in the devotion of caregivers who tend to their loved ones, our wounded warriors, around the clock, day in, day out.  And we see it in the quiet pride of our veterans, who only ask that we live up to those words from President Lincoln, that as a nation, we truly care for all those who have “borne the battle.”  We see it in the unending love of the families of the fallen —- our Gold Star families who’ve given their nation the people they loved most in the world.   As Commander-in-Chief, I am determined to do everything in my power to make sure that we are fulfilling that request from our troops, that we are taking care of their families.  And that’s why, over the past two years, we’ve made major investments:  more military housing, more childcare, new schools for our military kids; more counseling and career support for spouses; more help for those tireless caregivers; dramatic increases in veterans health care, and helping hundreds of thousands of veterans and family members pursue their education through the Post-9/11 GI Bill.   And that’s why I ordered this government-wide effort, a Presidential Study Directive, to bring together the resources of the federal government for this mission.  Now, for those of you who aren’t familiar with these presidential directives, these are reserved for some of our most important and complex national security challenges.  I think Mike Mullen will share with you, since becoming President I’ve only ordered about a dozen, including this one, which we believe is the first one ever on behalf of military families.     And today, I’m proud to announce that for the first time ever, supporting the well-being of our military families will be a priority not just for the Department of Defense and the Department of Veterans Affairs, but all across the federal government.  That's why all these Cabinet folks are here today.  Sixteen members of my Cabinet have committed their departments and agencies to making military families one of their highest priorities.   We’re focusing on four areas —- the things you said matter most to you, whether you’re Army, Navy, Air Force, Marine or Coast Guard -- active Guard or Reserve, a veteran or a member of a family of the fallen.  We didn’t wait for today to launch these efforts.  Many of these efforts have already been underway.  And that includes innovative new partnerships so that, in tough fiscal times, our government is more efficient and serves you better.     So let me just list our primary areas of focus.  First, we are putting new emphasis on the quality of life for our military families.  The Departments of Defense and Health and Human Services, for example, have joined forces to improve community mental health services and prevent suicides.  A new office in the Treasury Department is working to protect military families from abusive practices like predatory lending.  It turns out that military families are more subject to some of these financial scams than just about any other group.     The Agricultural Department is expanding its support for families in rural areas.  A disproportionate number of our military families come from rural areas or are stationed in rural communities.     The Interior Department -- we use our national parks to help our wounded warriors recover.  And we are going to remain relentless -- not just at VA, but at HUD and HHS and across the government -— in our fight to end homelessness among our veterans.  We have to have zero tolerance for homelessness among our veterans.       Second, we’re putting a new focus on the education and development of our military children, most of whom go to public schools.  So for the first time ever, the Department of Education will make military families a priority for some of its grant programs.  And that’s going to give states and communities new incentives to address the unique needs of military children.          The Interior Department, which is already one of the largest federal employers of young people, will create more opportunities, like summer jobs, for young people from military families.  And today, we are renewing our call for every state to adopt the Interstate Compact, which makes it easier for military children to transfer between schools and succeed in the classroom.     Third, we’re redoubling our efforts to help military spouses pursue their educations and careers.  As Michelle said, we’ve brought in the departments of Labor and Commerce and the Small Business Administration.  We’re going to help spouses get that degree, find that job, or start that new business.  We want every company in America to know our military spouses and veterans have the skills and the dedication, and our nation is more competitive when we tap their incredible talents.     And finally, we’re going to keep increasing childcare for our military moms and dads with young children.  This is not just a job for the Department of Defense.  As Michelle said, the departments of Education, Health and Human Services, and Agriculture are now helping, too.  And working together, we believe we can find new childcare options for tens of thousands of military children.   So these are just some of the nearly 50 specific commitments that my administration is making today.  In other words, we’re not simply reaffirming our responsibility to our military families, we are upping our game.  In fact, these 16 members of my Cabinet have signed their name to this report, pledging personally to see this through.  So, gang, you are all on the hook.    We know where to find you -- and not only to fulfill these commitments, but to make sure that as we go forward our military families are being heard across the government.  That's what we’re looking for here.     Michelle and Jill said they’re going to keep pushing —- and I promise you they are not kidding.    And as President, I’m going to make sure that we get this done.   We also recognize that this can’t be a mission for government alone.  Government has its responsibilities, but 1 percent of Americans may be fighting our wars; 100 percent of Americans need to be supporting our troops and their families -- 100 percent.       So to help launch this effort, Michelle will be on “Oprah” this week to urge --   MRS. OBAMA:  Oooh!      -- to urge every American to join a new national campaign to support our military families.  That's a pretty good plug.   You see, this is one of those challenges, and one of those moments, when we have to remember what unites us as Americans, what we can achieve together -- and what we owe to each other, especially to those who serve and sacrifice so we can live free and be safe.   I want every service member who’s deployed to know that when you’re over there taking care of the country that you love, your country is back here taking care of the families that you love.  I want every military wife and husband to know that we’re going to help you keep your family strong and secure.  I want every military kid to know that we’re going to be there for you, too, to help you grow and to live your dreams.   I want our Gold Star families to know that this nation will never forget and will always honor the supreme sacrifice that your family has made to our nation.     And I want every single American to remember that as the beneficiaries of their service, each of us has an obligation —- a sacred duty —- to care for those who have “borne the battle.”      These are my commitments; these are Michelle and Jill’s commitments; these are my administration’s commitments; and they must be America’s commitments.  And as long as I am President, we’re going to keep working to fulfill those commitments for all who serve.     Thank you very much, everybody.  God bless you.  
Request a Fact Check
January 25, 2011
Race to the Top is the most meaningful reform of our public schools in a generation.  For less than 1 percent of what we spend on education each year, it has led over 40 states to raise their standards for teaching and learning.  And these standards were developed, by the way, not by Washington, but by Republican and Democratic governors throughout the country.  And Race to the Top should be the approach we follow this year as we replace No Child Left Behind with a law that’s more flexible and focused on what’s best for our kids. 
Request a Fact Check
January 25, 2011
Of course, the education race doesn’t end with a high school diploma.  To compete, higher education must be within the reach of every American.    That’s why we’ve ended the unwarranted taxpayer subsidies that went to banks, and used the savings to make college affordable for millions of students.    And this year, I ask Congress to go further, and make permanent our tuition tax credit –- worth $10,000 for four years of college.  It’s the right thing to do. 
Request a Fact Check
January 25, 2011
And if we truly care about our deficit, we simply can’t afford a permanent extension of the tax cuts for the wealthiest 2 percent of Americans.    Before we take money away from our schools or scholarships away from our students, we should ask millionaires to give up their tax break.  It’s not a matter of punishing their success.  It’s about promoting America’s success. 
Request a Fact Check
January 28, 2011
Because she was sick, no insurer would cover her. As she put it, she was scared to death -– not of cancer, but how she’d pay her bills with each round of chemo that cost $16,000. And she thought that she and her husband, Matt, would have to spend everything they saved to pay for their two sons’ college education in order to afford treatment.
Request a Fact Check
February 14, 2011
So the world is getting smaller and what it means is, is that there are terrific opportunities for us to partner with people around the world, but it also means that the world is more competitive -- because when you graduate from high school and when you graduate from college, you're going to be competing with people all around the world to make the best products and the best services.  And so, for us to be successful as a country, you’re going to have to succeed.  And for you to succeed, you're going to have to be able to possess the skills and knowledge of a 21st century economy.
Request a Fact Check
February 14, 2011
So right now I'm in the process of putting together a big federal budget.  And some of you may know that we've got a big deficit because we just came out of a big recession, and so people are worried about how we're going to be able to pay for things in the future.  And the message that I delivered today was, just like in your own households, if things get a little tight you may stop going out to dinner or stop going to the movies, but you're still going to make sure that you're paying for the things that are really important like heat or fixing the roof or your parents are setting money aside for your college education -- we've got to do that same thing as a country.
Request a Fact Check
February 14, 2011
Right now, this school, Parkville, is preparing our kids for the jobs and careers of the 21st century.  It’s a school that nurtures what students are passionate about and prepares them for success.  Students in the magnet program here start out by taking courses in each of four subjects –- from applied engineering to environmental science -– gradually focusing their studies on one subject over the next couple of years.
Request a Fact Check
February 14, 2011
Engineering and math, critical thinking, problem solving –- these are the kinds of subjects and skills that our kids need to achieve success in the 21st century.  That’s why we’re spearheading a drive to prepare more than 10,000 new math and science teachers over the next five years, and train 100,000 more current teachers in those fields.  That’s why we’re pushing forward on a Race to the Top in our schools that has led over 40 states to raise their standards for teaching and learning for less than 1 percent of what we spend on education each year. That’s why we’re protecting the more than $800 increase that we added to the most widely used federal scholarships, and making the tough choices to put them on a firm footing for years to come.  And that’s why we’re on track to meet the goal that I set when I took office:  By 2020, America will once again have the highest proportion of college graduates in the world.
Request a Fact Check
February 18, 2011
Because we know that, other than parents, perhaps the biggest impact on a child’s success comes from the man or woman who’s sitting or who is standing in front of the classroom, we've also focused a lot on teaching, on teachers.  We want to make teaching an honored profession in our society.  We want to reward good teachers.  We want to stop making excuses for bad teachers.  And over the next 10 years, with so many baby boomers retiring from our classrooms, we want to prepare 100,000 new teachers in the fields of science, technology, engineering, and math -- fields that will give the students the skills they need for the jobs that exist in places like Intel.
Request a Fact Check
February 18, 2011
To ensure that higher education is within the reach of every American, we extended -- we put an end to unwarranted taxpayer subsidies that used to go to banks, and we put the savings towards making college more affordable for millions of students.  And this year, we want to make permanent our tuition tax credit, which is worth $10,000 for four years of college.
Request a Fact Check
February 22, 2011
And what we want to make sure of is, A, that there’s financing out there for you to retrain, which is why we increased access to student loans, eliminating some of the unwarranted subsidies that went to banks so that we could expand the Pell Grant Program; make sure that starting in 2014, if you take out student loans, that in repaying them you’ll never have to pay more than 10 percent of your income.  So we’ve expanded access to universities and colleges.
Request a Fact Check
March 21, 2011
On education, obviously we have a long history of public education and our universities I think are second to none.  But we want to make sure that in this increasingly integrated world, American students aren’t just looking inwards, we’re also looking outwards.  And so the idea of us setting up a broad-based exchange program with the Americas I think makes an enormous difference.
Request a Fact Check
March 22, 2011
We need to also give our contribution in this partnership.  And our difference is in that the financial aid capacity that we have.  But just to include the country of El Salvador in this it’s a message to the international investors that we can trust El Salvador.  The government of El Salvador is now working on a series of projects that will be presented to the inter-government teams in this next April -- we can have a better idea of which of these programs or these projects are going to be financed.  And we have an initiative in the port region, especially, and the extension of the airport, which I explained to President Obama in our bilateral meeting that we just had, but also in the transportation public system, and also in renewable energy projects -- so that once we have these projects prepared and already submitted to the inter-government teams, we hope that, in turn, we will have taken a decision on this regard, but from a different perspective.
Request a Fact Check
March 28, 2011
I also want to make a confession, and that is that although I took Spanish in high school, I'm receiving translation through this earpiece. But for all the young people here, I want you guys to be studying hard because it is critical for all American students to have language skills. And I want everybody here to be working hard to make sure that you don't just speak one language, you speak a bunch of languages. That's a priority.
Request a Fact Check
March 28, 2011
Now, here’s what’s also important -- that eight out of 10 future jobs are going to require more than a high school education. They’re going to require some sort of higher education, whether it’s a community college, a four-year college, at the very least some job training and technical training -- all of which means nobody -- nobody -- can drop out. We can’t afford to have anybody here at Bell drop out. We can’t have anybody drop out anywhere in the country.
Request a Fact Check
March 28, 2011
So we’re going to have to take a comprehensive approach to make sure that we reduce dropout rates. And the last point I’ll make on this -- there are about 2,000 schools in the country where the majority of dropouts take place. I mean, we can name them. We know what these schools are. And for us to put some extra help, some intensive help, into those schools to help turn them around is something that we've really got to focus on.
Request a Fact Check
March 28, 2011
Mr. Conde and I were both at a school down in Miami that used to have a 60 percent dropout rate and now they’ve been able to reduce that drastically because they completely turned the school around -- got a new principal, got -- about a third of the teachers were new, had a whole new approach, had the whole community surround them.
Request a Fact Check
March 28, 2011
Making sure that as your children get older, that you’re turning off the television set and making sure that they’re doing their homework -- even if you as a Spanish-speaking person may not be able to help them with all their homework, you can make sure that they’re actually doing it. Parents making sure that they’re involved in their schools and going and meeting teachers. And I know that there are some schools where parents experience not a good interaction with the schools. The schools seem to push them away, particularly if English is not their native language. But you have rights as parents to make sure that your children are getting what they need. And the more you’re interacting with the teachers and the principals and the administrators, the more support you can provide to your child.
Request a Fact Check
March 28, 2011
So those are all areas where parents can make a big difference. What we’re trying to do as the government is to make sure that we’re providing more incentives for schools to improve their parental involvement programs. We’re trying to make sure that schools are open and understand that it is up to them to provide a welcoming environment to parents so that they can be involved in their child’s education.
Request a Fact Check
March 28, 2011
And specifically with respect to young people who are coming to school and English may not be their native language, we’ve got to make sure that we continue to fund strong programs, both bilingual education programs but also immersion programs that ensure that young people are learning English but they’re not falling behind in their subjects even as they are learning English.
Request a Fact Check
March 28, 2011
The way we did this -- the student loan program through the government had been previously funneled through banks, and the banks were taking out a profit on the student loan program, even though these were all loans that were guaranteed by the U.S. government -- so the banks weren’t taking any risks. They were basically just processing these loans, but they were taking a couple billion dollars off the top in profits. And we said, well, why do we have to go through the banks? Why don't we just give these loans directly to the students? That will save us billions of dollars. That way we can expand the program, make sure that more young people can go to college. So that's what we have already implemented.
Request a Fact Check
March 28, 2011
Now, this is something very important for all of you, because -- I speak from experience. Michelle and I, we didn’t come from wealthy families. So we came from families a lot like yours, and we had to take out all these student loans to go to college and law school. By the time we were out, we had, I think between us, $120,000 worth of debt. It took us 10 years to pay it off. And we were lucky because we both got law degrees; we could make enough money to pay that debt.
Request a Fact Check
March 28, 2011
Now, one of the most powerful tools, it turns out, is students themselves. And there are schools where young people have done surveys to find out how much bullying is taking place in school and how secure do you feel in the classroom. And then the students themselves started an entire campaign in the schools to say, we’re not going to tolerate bullying, and in fact, if we see somebody bullying, we’re going to call them out on it. And that peer pressure could actually end up making as much of a difference as just about anything.    But obviously we are interested in finding additional strategies for how we can reduce this epidemic of bullying that’s taking place. And the young people here, if you have suggestions in terms of how we should approach these problems, we want to listen to you. And if you go to the White House website, whitehouse.gov, that will give you a set of tools and strategies that we’re pursuing in terms of trying to make a difference on this issue.
Request a Fact Check
March 28, 2011
But when it comes to schools, as I said before, I want schools to welcome parents. I want schools to go out there actively calling parents and finding out how can we work with you to make sure your students can achieve. How can we enlist you in the project of making sure your young people graduate from high school, go to college and move on to a career? If a school is not doing that, if it’s not actively reaching out to parents, then it’s not doing its job.
Request a Fact Check
March 28, 2011
Now, if they don't speak English, then it’s important for those schools to think about strategies to have translators in the schools to help them communicate with the teachers and the principals. If it turns out that the school budgets are tight and they can’t afford to hire translators, then we should enlist community members who are bilingual to come in and volunteer on parent-teacher meetings.
Request a Fact Check
March 28, 2011
So I can’t make a parent who’s not interested, interested. Ultimately, that has to come from the parent, him or herself. But what I can do is make sure that the school knows how important the parent is, and that’s something that we are emphasizing in every program that we do. And when we evaluate, for example, programs like Race to the Top, where we’re looking to give extra money to schools, one of the criteria we look at is, do you have a smart plan for getting parents involved -- because oftentimes that may be one of the indicators of success. All right?
Request a Fact Check
March 28, 2011
The Latino community is a young population and so there are a lot of young kids, so they need high-quality early childhood education, high-quality daycare, high-quality Head Start programs, more than just about any other community. Unfortunately, actually, they are underrepresented in these programs, and we need to do more to provide that kind of support. So in our new budget we’re also putting additional resources into early childhood education.
Request a Fact Check
March 28, 2011
I think this is a great question. This is a great question. I’m not sure I’m going to get these statistics exactly right, but I think that if the percentage of Latino students now is 20 percent, percentage of African American students might be 12-15 percent, the number of African American and Latino teachers may only be 3 or 4 percent, maybe 5 percent. And when it comes to male teachers, it’s even lower. That's a problem.
Request a Fact Check
March 28, 2011
So we’ve got to go to where the students are, get them early, get them in the pipeline, provide them the outstanding training that they need, and make sure then they’re supported as they go through. Because part of the challenge in teaching, it’s not just enough to recruit the teacher. Once the teacher is in the classroom, they’ve got to have support systems in place, professional development in place, so that they can learn their trade.
Request a Fact Check
April 19, 2011
Finally -- and I know this is near and dear to your hearts -- we’re not going to reduce our deficit by cutting education and eliminating college scholarships. In a world where our students face stiff competition from students from other countries, why would we make it harder for you to compete?
Request a Fact Check
April 19, 2011
We see why it matters right here. More than 10,000 students at this college, at this college alone, are relying on Pell Grants to help pay their tuition. It’s almost 3,000 students at the Annandale campus alone -- 3,000 students just at this campus. How many of you who are in the audience have gotten a Pell Grant to help you pay your way? How many of you can’t afford to pay another $1,000 to go to school? I know what this is like. Scholarships helped make it possible for me and for Michelle to go to college. It’s fair to say I wouldn’t be President if it hadn’t been for somebody helping me be able to afford college. That’s why I think it would be such a huge mistake to balance the budget on the backs of students, by cutting scholarships by as much as $1,000, forcing students to go without them altogether.
Request a Fact Check
April 19, 2011
No, what we’ve done is we have actually said that even as we are making all these spending cuts, we actually think that education spending should go up a little bit. And the reason is not that money solves all the problems in education -- it doesn’t. But whether it’s K-12 or higher education, money does make a difference if it’s used intelligently.
Request a Fact Check
April 19, 2011
So if you are doing a great job in recruiting and training new teachers, if you’re doing a great job in lifting up schools that are under-performing -- and there are about 2,000 schools in the country that are what are called dropout factories. I mean, they just are not doing the job. So if in that state you say, we’ve got a special plan to make sure those schools are doing a great job, if you’ve got innovative programs in math and science education, if you’re doing some things that increase accountability, improve excellence, then we’re going to give you a little extra money, but you’re going to have to reform to do it.
Request a Fact Check
April 19, 2011
Now, what we’re doing at the community college and university levels is we’ve redesigned some of the programs like Pell Grant and student loan programs. As I mentioned, it used to be that the student loan programs used to go through banks, and they would skim billions of dollars in profits, even though they weren’t really taking any risk because the federal government was guaranteeing the loans.
Request a Fact Check
April 19, 2011
So we said, well, let’s just give the money directly to students. That will give us an extra several billion dollars that we can use to provide all of you additional scholarships, higher levels for your Pell Grants. But we’re also working with community colleges to see can we make sure that the programs at the community colleges are as effective as they can be to provide the training and the skills you need to succeed.
Request a Fact Check
April 20, 2011
So there’s a lot that we can do for making sure that high-skilled immigrants who come here, study -- we’ve paid for their college degrees, we’ve given them scholarships, we’ve given them this training -- let’s make sure that if they want to reinvest and make their future here in America that they can.  So that’s point number one.
Request a Fact Check
April 20, 2011
Their basic view is that no matter how successful I am, no matter how much I’ve taken from this country -- I wasn’t born wealthy; I was raised by a single mom and my grandparents.  I went to college on scholarships.  There was a time when my mom was trying to get her PhD, where for a short time she had to take food stamps.  My grandparents relied on Medicare and Social Security to help supplement their income when they got old.
Request a Fact Check
April 20, 2011
What we did was we took about 1 percent of the total spending on education and we said, to get this 1 percent, show us that you’re reforming the system.  It’s almost -- it’s like a competition model.  And so every state, every school district could apply.  And you had to show us that you had a good plan to retrain teachers and recruit and do good professional development so we’ve got the best teacher possible.
Request a Fact Check
April 20, 2011
A couple of things that we know work:  The most important thing to a good education is making sure we’ve got a good teacher in front of that classroom.  And so providing more support for teachers, recruiting the best and brightest into teaching, making sure that they're compensated, but also making sure that they're performing, that's hugely important.
Request a Fact Check
April 20, 2011
Now, last point I’ll make on this:  Government alone can’t do it.  One of the things every time I come to Silicon Valley that I’m inspired by but I’m also frustrated by is how many smart people are here, but also frustrated that I always hear stories about how we can’t find enough engineers, we can’t find enough computer programmers.  You know what, that means our education system is not working the way it should, and that's got to start early.
Request a Fact Check
April 21, 2011
I’ve been incredibly blessed by this country -- son of a single mom, went on scholarships to get through school.  And so the fact that I’m now well off, I want to be able to give a little bit something back so that the next generation can achieve that same success.  I don’t need additional tax cuts, especially when I know that extending those tax cuts may end up meaning that some senior citizens are getting less health care; or thousands of kids on Head Start might not have that opportunity available to them; or people who are on Medicaid, seniors who are in nursing homes, or families who have got a child who’s autistic or disabled, that somehow they’re left to fend for themselves.  That’s not a good option, from my perspective.  That’s not a trade-off I’m willing to make.
Request a Fact Check
April 21, 2011
We see why this matters right here.  More than 50,000 college students from Nevada are relying on Pell Grants to help them pay their tuition.  Now, working with folks like Shelley, we were able to eliminate some subsidies that were going to big banks because they were middlemen on student loan programs, and take that money and put more money into Pell Grants so that the grants were higher, so that more kids could get them and they’d have less debt when they graduate.  That was the right thing to do.    Now you’ve got some folks in Congress who want to roll back some of those changes.  How many of those students do you think can afford to pay $1,000 more to go to school?  I know what it’s like.  I could not have made it through college without scholarships, without loans.
Request a Fact Check
April 21, 2011
I’m standing here before you because America gave me opportunity.  How am I going to pull up the ladder on the next generation of kids who are just as talented, smarter than I am?    All they need is a chance.  So I think it would be a mistake to balance the budget on the backs of students by cutting their scholarships by more than $1,000 and forcing a whole lot of students to go without them altogether.
Request a Fact Check
April 21, 2011
Q    Hi, I’m Will Adler (ph).  I’m a student at UNR.  And currently we are facing millions -- millions in cuts.  And you mentioned higher education earlier.  I think it’s the most important thing for America’s future in general, and I’m just worried, with the rhetoric nowadays, that -- the word “tax” is like the most evil word on Earth now.  So our state in particular cannot raise enough revenues to support our higher education.  I was wondering how we can change that rhetoric and get more funding in the state level and federal to support our education for the future. 
Request a Fact Check
April 21, 2011
So I recognize that a state like Nevada has to make tough choices.  I just think it is very important in making those choices not to be shortsighted.  If you’re a family and you’ve got to tighten your belt, you might cut out eating out.  You might say, you know what, we can’t afford that vacation this year.  But you’re not going to decide not to replace the boiler if it has to be replaced.  You’re not going to decide not to fix a hole in the roof, because you know if it starts raining it’s going to ruin the house.  You’re not going to say, we’re going to use up all the savings we had for our kids’ college education and still go on vacation.  Right?  You’re going to prioritize.
Request a Fact Check
April 21, 2011
Now, I think it’s important that our education system is efficient like every other system.  So universities -- I’ve said to universities, try to figure out how you can reduce costs for students.  Don’t just ask for more money.  You should also look at your operations to figure out are there ways that you can make it a better bargain for your kids.  Because they’ve got to pay for it, or somebody has got to pay for that tuition.
Request a Fact Check
April 21, 2011
There are still too many children out there who are in substandard schools, can’t imagine working for one of the companies that are represented here today, don’t even know these companies exist, can’t imagine a career that was stable and steady and that would allow them to raise a family, so we’re going to have to deliver on education reform here and all across the country, and make sure that those kids can go to college and get career-ready.
Request a Fact Check
April 22, 2011
We’ve got to be prepared to win the future. Because of you we’ve made college more affordable for millions of young people all across America. It used to be that the student loan program run through the government would give billions of dollars to banks, unwarranted subsidies for acting as middlemen in the student loan program. We said, well, let’s end that. Let’s give the money directly to students. And as a consequence millions of more students are able to benefit from a better deal.
Request a Fact Check
April 22, 2011
We’re not done yet, but we’ve started to reform some of the schools that needed reforming all across America. And because of our Race to the Top program, we’re seeing better teachers in our classrooms, and we are seeing more support for our teachers and more resources for our teachers. And we are making sure that we’re reaching into the schools that are underperforming here in Los Angeles and all across the country. Because of you we’ve been able to accomplish that.
Request a Fact Check
April 22, 2011
But let me tell you what I won’t do. I will not reduce our deficit by sacrificing the things that have always made America great. The things that have made Americans prosper. I will not sacrifice our investment in education. I won’t sacrifice scholarships for our students or medical research for our scientists. I won’t sacrifice the safety of our highways or our airports. I will not sacrifice our investment in clean energy at a time when our dependence on foreign oil is causing Americans so much pain at the pump. I won’t sacrifice clean air and clean water. I will not sacrifice America’s future.
Request a Fact Check
April 28, 2011
They had seen 10 years in which the average income, average wage of Americans had fallen; a country that was becoming more unequal; a country where even if you worked hard you might not be able to retire with the kind of security that you used to expect; a country where the cost of college tuition was skyrocketing; where getting sick might mean that you lose everything you had.
Request a Fact Check
April 28, 2011
We’re not going to pull up the ladder behind us. I’m not going to reduce our deficit by sacrificing the things that always made up great as a people. I’m not going to sacrifice investments in education. I’m not going to make scholarships harder to get and more expensive for young people. I’m not going to sacrifice the safety of our highways or our airports. I’m not going to sacrifice clean air and clean water. I’m not going to sacrifice clean energy at a time when we need to free ourselves from dependence on foreign oil, and folks are getting killed at the pump. I’m not going to sacrifice America’s future.
Request a Fact Check
April 28, 2011
We changed the financial aid system, the student loan system. We were giving subsidies to banks unnecessarily and restricting the amount of help that young people who wanted to go to college could get. And because of changes that we made you got millions of young people all across the country who are now able to go to college and take on less debt and achieve their dreams.
Request a Fact Check
April 29, 2011
As someone who’s only here because of the chances my education gave me, I couldn’t agree more.  Opportunity changes everything.  America will only be as strong in this new century as the opportunities that we provide you -- the opportunities that we provide to all our young people -- Latino, black, white, Asian, Native American, everybody.  America will only be as strong as our pursuit of scientific research and our leadership in technology and innovation.  And I believe that community colleges like this one are critical pathways to the middle class that equip students with the skills and the education necessary to compete and win in this 21st-century economy.  And that’s why I’ve made community colleges a centerpiece of my education agenda, along with helping more students afford college.  I couldn’t be prouder of the work we’ve done in community colleges.  And your accomplishment today is vital to America reclaiming the highest proportion of college graduates in the world by 2020.  So I am proud of you.    I am proud of you.
Request a Fact Check
May 24, 2011
It is unfortunate that there are so many troubles facing the world today.  But we are encouraged that in most respects our two countries see these problems in the same light.  For this reason, we have been able to act together in fields as varied as science, research, and higher education, to find solutions or to at least make progress towards tackling so many of the social and economic difficulties that confront nations in all parts of the globe.
Request a Fact Check
May 28, 2011
Your words were also very important, when you said that in the process of European integration you can see an opportunity to reinforce the world of Western values.  Other words were also very important -- the words about keeping up an open character of both NATO and the European Union.  I know that these words go very deeply to the hearts and minds of many of the leaders of this part of Europe.
Request a Fact Check
June 23, 2011
That’s why we cut taxes for middle-class families, and ended subsidies to the banks for student loans to make college more affordable.  That’s why I was proud to sign a bill to make sure women earn equal pay for equal work -- a basic principle.    That’s why we’re promoting manufacturing and homegrown American energy -– because that’s what will lead to jobs that pay a decent salary.  That's why we’re standing up a new consumer bureau with just one responsibility -- looking out for ordinary folks in the financial system so they're not cheated.  That's why we passed health reform, so that no one in the richest nation on Earth ever has to go bankrupt because they or somebody in their family get sick.    That was the right thing to do. 
Request a Fact Check
June 23, 2011
When I was elected -- I think back to 2008 and Grant Park, and it was a beautiful night -- I said to people, this is not the end, this is the beginning, and that we were going to have a steep hill to climb.  I had gotten into the race because of this profound belief in America, but also because there was a huge gap between what I thought America could be and where we were.  That we had seen a decade where incomes and wages had stagnated.  We had seen the absence of any coherent energy policy that would free ourselves from dependence on foreign oil and help to clean up the planet.  Our education system -- there was a lot of talk about reforming it, but we hadn’t made the kind of progress that would allow us to be competitive in the 21st century.
Request a Fact Check
June 23, 2011
And I know that most of you I think share the vision that I have, partly because a lot of us in this room have been incredibly lucky but we weren’t necessarily born lucky.  There are a lot of folks in this room like me who ended up achieving the American Dream because somebody made an investment in us.  Somebody said, you know what, you can have a scholarship to go to the best universities in the world even though your family isn’t well connected.  Somebody said, you are going to have the opportunity to practice law in a law firm even though you didn't have any lawyers in your family.  Somebody said, you can go ahead and run for the United States Senate even though you've got no connections and nobody can pronounce your name. 
Request a Fact Check
June 23, 2011
And the reason I said that was because I had decided to run for President because I thought the gap had grown too large between the country we know we can be and the country as it was. We'd gone through a decade in which incomes and wages for ordinary people had actually gone down.  We had gone through a decade that had seen a hemorrhaging of manufacturing in this country.  We had gone through a decade in which the costs of everything from health care to college tuition to gas were going up and too many families were just treading water.  We'd gone through a decade of two wars, a diminished respect for America around the world.
Request a Fact Check
June 23, 2011
And we expanded national service for young people so they could participate and contribute into the building of America.  We made the largest investment in clean energy in our history and the largest investment in education.    And we changed the student loan system so that we weren’t given billions of dollars to banks, but we were giving them directly to students. 
Request a Fact Check
June 28, 2011
Hello, Iowa!    I see a couple old friends here.  I want to start by recognizing a few folks who are with us today.  First of all, Governor Branstad is here.    Congressman Bruce Braley is here.    Congressman Dave Loebsack is here.    Bobby Schilling is here.    Michael Freemire, the mayor of Bettendorf, is here.    And Jeff Grindle, mayor of Riverdale, is here.    The chairwoman of the National Association of Manufacturers, Mary Andringa, is here.    The CEO of Alcoa, Klaus Kleinfeld, is here.    Vice president and general manager of Davenport, Malcolm Murphy, is here.    And an old friend of mine who actually drove me around a couple times while I was traveling around Iowa, Skip McGill, is here, president of the local USW. 
Request a Fact Check
June 28, 2011
And so three weeks ago, we announced new commitments from businesses and universities to make it possible for 500,000 community college students -- half a million students -- to earn industry-accepted credentials for manufacturing jobs that companies across the country are looking to fill.  So basically what happens is the companies, they’ll say to the community colleges, here’s what we need.  The community colleges will design a training program that certifies that if you get through that training program, and you’re working hard, you are prepared and equipped to get that job.  And so we’re also making it easier for workers to get retrained and move up into better positions.
Request a Fact Check
June 30, 2011
Now, what does that mean?  It means that we’re going to have to improve our education system.  And I know that Mayor Nutter and others have struggled with this for many years.  We are making extraordinary progress thanks to as good of a Secretary of Education as I think we’ve ever seen in Arne Duncan, and we’re starting to hold schools accountable, giving them more resources in exchange for more reform.  But we’ve got a long way to go.  That’s not a project that we can finish in two, two and a half years.
Request a Fact Check
June 30, 2011
We’ve got to revamp our community colleges and make sure that our young people can afford to go to a four-year college.  And we’ve made progress there, by changing the student loan program so that billions of dollars of subsidies that were going to banks are now going to young people to make college more affordable.  But making sure that we once again have the highest proportion of college graduates in the world, the goal that I set two years ago, we’re on track, but that’s going to take a few more years.
Request a Fact Check
June 30, 2011
And so some of those decisions were tough.  And you remember, we got criticized a lot.  But you take a look at what’s happened.  Some folks didn’t want us getting involved in the auto industry -- I didn’t expect to be the CEO of a car company when I ran for President.    But as a consequence of what we did, we saved jobs.  We saved American manufacturing.    We cut taxes for middle-class families.  We ended subsidies to the banks for student loans, to make college more affordable.    We made sure -- that’s why I signed a bill to make sure there was equal pay for equal work, because I’ve got two daughters and I want to make sure they’re treated just the same as the boys are.    That’s why we’re promoting manufacturing and homegrown American energy -- because that’s what will lead to jobs that pay a decent salary.  I want the wind turbines and the solar panels and the electric cars to be built right here in America. 
Request a Fact Check
July 18, 2011
The fact is the financial crisis and the recession were not the result of normal economic cycles or just a run of bad luck.  They were abuses and there was a lack of smart regulations.  So we’re not just going to shrug our shoulders and hope it doesn’t happen again.  We’re not going to go back to the status quo where consumers couldn’t count on getting protections that they deserved.  We’re not going to go back to a time when our whole economy was vulnerable to a massive financial crisis.  That’s why reform matters.  That’s why this bureau matters.  I will fight any efforts to repeal or undermine the important changes that we passed.  And we are going to stand up this bureau and make sure it is doing the right thing for middle-class families all across the country.   Middle-class families and seniors don’t have teams of lawyers from blue-chip law firms.  They can’t afford to hire a lobbyist to look out for their interests.  But they deserve to be treated honestly.  They deserve a basic measure of protection against abuse.  They shouldn’t have to be a corporate lawyer in order to be able to read something they’re signing to take out a mortgage or to get a credit card.  They ought to be free to make informed decisions, to buy a home or open a credit card or take out a student loan, and they should have confidence that they’re not being swindled.  And that’s what this consumer bureau will achieve.
Request a Fact Check
July 22, 2011
Now, here’s the thing, though -- and this is what the argument is about -- we can’t just close our deficit with spending cuts alone, because if we take that route it means that seniors would have to pay a lot more for Medicare, or students would have to pay a lot more for student loans.  It means that laid-off workers might not be able to count on temporary assistance or training to help them get a new job.  It means we’d have to make devastating cuts in education and medical research and clean energy research -- just at a time when gas prices are killing people at the pump.
Request a Fact Check
July 22, 2011
And if interest rate costs go up for the United States, they're probably going to go up for everybody.  So it would be a indirect tax on every single one of you.  Your credit card interest rates would go up.  Your mortgage interest would go up. Your student loan interest would potentially go up.  And, ironically, the costs of servicing our deficit would go up, which means it would actually potentially be worse for our deficit if we had default.  It could also plunge us back into the kind of recession that we had back in 2008 and '09.  So it is not an option for us to default.
Request a Fact Check
July 22, 2011
Now, we’re not going to solve the entire debt and deficit in the next 10 days.  So there’s still going to be more work to do after this.  And what we’re doing is to try to make sure that any deal that we strike protects our core commitments to Medicare and Medicaid recipients, to senior citizens, to veterans.  We want to make sure that student loans remain affordable.  We want to make sure that poor kids can still get a checkup, that food stamps are still available for folks who are desperately in need.  We want to make sure that unemployment insurance continues for those who are out there looking for work.
Request a Fact Check
July 22, 2011
So when we changed, for example, the student loan program to take billions of dollars that were going to the banks, as middlemen in the student loan program, and redirected them so that students -- millions more students would benefit from things like Pell grants, that was in pursuit of this larger goal that we have to once again be the nation that has the highest percentage of college graduates and that we have the best-skilled workforce, because that’s what it’s going to take to win the future.
Request a Fact Check
July 22, 2011
Q    I have cerebral palsy, as does my brother.  And I come to you to implore you to do as much as you can to protect services and supports for people with disabilities in your negotiations with Speaker Boehner and Leader Cantor.  I know that's hard because Mr. McConnell has said he wants to make you a one-term President.  But the issue is we need the vital therapies that Medicaid provides.  We need a generous IDEA budget so people like me with severe disabilities can graduate from high school with a diploma and go to college.  So please don’t leave us holding the bag.  I know that a lot of people at Easter Seals are very worried, but given your experience with your father-in-law, I know you’ll do the right thing, sir.  It’s an honor to speak with you. 
Request a Fact Check
July 22, 2011
And you’re exactly right that the enormous potential that so many people have, if they just get a little bit of help, that has to be factored in when we’re making decisions about our budget, because if we’re not providing services to persons with disabilities and they are not able to fulfill their potential -- graduate from high school, go to college, get a job -- then they will be more reliant on government over the long term because they’ll be less self-sufficient.  That doesn’t make any sense.
Request a Fact Check
July 22, 2011
As I said in the last press conference, if you’re a progressive you should want to get our fiscal house in order, because once we do, it allows us to then have a serious conversation about the investments that we need to make -- like infrastructure, like rebuilding our roads and our bridges and airports, like investing more in college education, like making sure that we’re focused on the kinds of research and technology that’s going to help us win the future. It’s a lot easier to do that when we’ve got our fiscal house in order. And that was an argument that I was willing to go out and make to a lot of skeptical Democrats, as you saw yesterday.
Request a Fact Check
July 25, 2011
So we’ve tied giving more money to reform.  And we’re working with states to improve teacher recruitment and retraining and retention.  We’re making sure English Language Learners are a priority for educators across the country.  We’re holding schools with high dropout rates accountable so they start delivering for our kids.  We’re emphasizing math and science, and investing in community colleges so that all of our workers get the skills that today’s companies want.  And we’ve won new college grants for more than 100,000 Latino students.  And as long as I am President, this country will always invest in its young people. 
Request a Fact Check
July 29, 2011
These countries all underscore what I emphasized when I visited Ghana and gave a speech about Africa as a whole -- this is a moment of great opportunity and significant progress in Africa.  Politically, the majority of Sub-Saharan African countries are now embracing democracy.  Economically, Africa is one of the fastest-growing regions in the world.
Request a Fact Check
August 16, 2011
There are two things that I know for sure:  America is going to come back from this recession stronger than before.  That I’m convinced of.  I believe that.    And I’m also convinced that comeback isn’t going to be driven by Washington.    It’s going to be -- it is going to be driven by folks here in Iowa.  It’s going to begin in the classrooms of community colleges like this one.    It’s going to start on the ranchlands and farms of the Midwest, in the workshops of basement inventors, in the storefronts of small business owners.
Request a Fact Check
August 16, 2011
We also heard, by the way, that there are a lot of young people, I think, who want to be more entrepreneurial.  And so are there ways that we can connect, for example, the community colleges -- but even beneath that, high schools -- to help young people think about how they go about organizing getting a business started.
Request a Fact Check
August 17, 2011
And so, the fact of the matter is, is that we came close to a grand bargain, which would have said, we’re going to cut spending we don’t need in order to pay for the things we do.  We’re going to eliminate unnecessary programs so we can pay for student loans, so they can go to the University of Illinois or University of Iowa.    We know that we’ve got to invest in basic research; that’s part of what made us the most productive agricultural powerhouse in the world.    So we don’t want to cut back agricultural research in order to pay for it; we got to get rid of some things.
Request a Fact Check
August 17, 2011
And basically what they recommended was what I’ve been talking about, which is a balanced approach in which we’re making some modifications to what’s called discretionary spending -- that’s the spending we do every year on everything from farm programs to student loan programs to food stamps to you name it -- that we cut defense spending in a sensible way, that we look at how we can make modifications that strengthen Social Security and Medicare for the next generation, and how we raise additional revenue so that we bring the overall budget into a sustainable place.
Request a Fact Check
August 17, 2011
Q    I’m a supply chain management major and a French major.  And I’m wondering what you think is one of the best majors to major in, in order to get a job.  Our professor seems to think that supply chain you get -- there’s a lot of job opportunities out there, but I wonder what other majors you think that are good for students to study.
Request a Fact Check
September 22, 2011
Well, while they're hiring teachers in droves, what are we doing?  We're laying off teachers.  It makes no sense in this new global economy where our young people's success is going to depend on the kind of education that they get.  So for us to be laying off teachers doesn’t make sense for our kids, it doesn’t make sense for us, it doesn’t make sense for our economy.
Request a Fact Check
September 23, 2011
But as a nation, we also have an obligation to make sure that all of our children have the resources they need to learn, because they’re spending a lot of time outside of the household. They’re spending the bulk of their waking hours in school.  And that means that we’ve got to make sure we’ve got quality schools, good teachers, the latest textbooks, the right technology.  And that, by the way, is something we can do something about right away.  That’s why I sent the jobs bill to Congress that would put thousands of teachers back to work all across the country and modernize at least 35,000 schools. 
Request a Fact Check
September 23, 2011
And for less than 1 percent of what we spend on education each year, Race to the Top, under Arne’s leadership, has led states across the country to raise their standards for teaching and learning.  And, by the way, these standards that we’re talking about -- these high standards that we’re talking about were not developed here in Washington.  They were developed by Republican and Democratic governors throughout the country --  essentially as a peer group, a peer review system where everybody traded best practices and said, here’s what seems to work, and let’s hold all of our schools to these high standards.  And since that Race to the Top has been launched, we’ve seen what’s possible when reform isn’t just a top-down mandate but the work of local teachers and principals and school boards and communities working together to develop better standards.
Request a Fact Check
September 23, 2011
And I want to say the goals behind No Child Left Behind were admirable, and President Bush deserves credit for that.  Higher standards are the right goal.  Accountability is the right goal. Closing the achievement gap is the right goal.  And we’ve got to stay focused on those goals.  But experience has taught us that, in it’s implementation, No Child Left Behind had some serious flaws that are hurting our children instead of helping them.  Teachers too often are being forced to teach to the test.  Subjects like history and science have been squeezed out.  And in order to avoid having their schools labeled as failures, some states, perversely, have actually had to lower their standards in a race to the bottom instead of a Race to the Top.  They don't want to get penalized?  Let’s make sure that the standards are so low that we’re not going to be seen failing to meet them.  That makes no sense.
Request a Fact Check
September 23, 2011
And these problems have been obvious to parents and educators all over the country for years now.  Despite the good intentions of some -- two of them are sitting right here, Tom and George -- Congress has not been able to fix these flaws so far.  I’ve urged Congress for a while now, let’s get a bipartisan effort, let’s fix this.  Congress hasn’t been able to do it.  So I will.  Our kids only get one shot at a decent education.  They cannot afford to wait any longer.  So, given that Congress cannot act, I am acting. 
Request a Fact Check
September 23, 2011
Let me repeat:  This does not mean that states will be able to lower their standards or escape accountability.  In fact, the way we’ve structured this, if states want more flexibility, they’re going to have to set higher standards, more honest standards, that prove they’re serious about meeting them.
Request a Fact Check
September 23, 2011
Ricky Hall is the principal of a charter school in Worcester, Massachusetts.  Where’s Ricky?  Oh, Ricky’s not here.   He was -- there he is.  Ricky -- I wasn’t sure if he was behind me.  Good.  Thank you.    Every single student who graduated from Ricky’s school in the last three years went on to college.  Every single one.    His school ranks in the top quarter of all schools in Massachusetts -- and as you know, Massachusetts’ schools rank very high among the 50 states.  But because Ricky’s school did not meet all the technical standards of No Child Left Behind, his school was labeled a failure last year.  That’s not right.  That needs to change.  What we’re doing today will encourage the progress at schools like Ricky’s.
Request a Fact Check
September 23, 2011
So this isn’t just the right thing to do for our kids -– it’s the right thing to do for our country.  We can’t afford to wait for an education system that is not doing everything it needs to do for our kids.  We can’t let another generation of young people fall behind because we didn’t have the courage to recognize what doesn’t work, admit it, and replace it with something that does.  We’ve got to act now.    We’ve got to act now and harness all the good ideas coming out of our states, out of our schools.  We can't be tied up with ideology.  We can't be worrying about partisanship.  We just have to make sure that we figure out what works, and we hold ourselves to those high standards.  Because now is the time to give our children the skills that they need to compete in this global economy.
Request a Fact Check
September 23, 2011
We’ve got a couple of students up on stage who are doing outstanding work because somebody in their schools is dedicated and committed every single day to making sure that they’ve got a chance to succeed.  But I don't want them to be the exception.  I want them to be the rule.  Now is the time to make our education system the best in the world, the envy of the world.  It used to be.  It is going to be again, thanks to the people in this room.
Request a Fact Check
September 24, 2011
Remember how many years we tried to stop big banks from collecting taxpayer subsidies for student loans while the cost of college kept slipping out of reach?  Together, we put a stop to that once and for all.  We used those savings to make college more affordable.  We invested in early childhood education and community college and HBCUs.  Ask the engineering student at an HBCU who thought he might have to leave school if that extra Pell Grant assistance mattered. 
Request a Fact Check
September 24, 2011
When Michelle and I think about where we came from -- a little girl on the South Side of Chicago, son of a single mom in Hawaii -- mother had to go to school on scholarships, sometimes got food stamps.  Michelle's parents never owned their own home until she had already graduated -- living upstairs above the aunt who actually owned the house.  We are here today only because our parents and our grandparents, they broke their backs to support us.    But they also understood that they would get a little bit of help from their country.  Because they met their responsibilities, this country would also be responsible, would also provide good public schools, would also provide recreation  -- parks that were safe, making sure that they could take the bus without getting beat over the head, making sure that their kids would be able to go to college even if they weren’t rich.
Request a Fact Check
September 25, 2011
And the steps that we’ve taken -- whether it’s to yank this economy out from a potential depression, or expand opportunity for kids to go to college by extending more Pell Grants and student loans to young people; whether it’s investing in clean energy, investing in bio research; whether it’s making sure that we’ve got health care for ever single American that’s affordable and accessible -- for all those steps that we’ve taken, we’ve still got a lot more work to do.
Request a Fact Check
September 26, 2011
Most Republicans voted against it, but we were able to cut $60 billion -- that's with a "B" -- $60 billion in taxpayers subsidies that were going to big banks through the student loan program -- we took that money and now that's going to millions of kids all across the country in increased Pell Grants and cheaper student loans, so they have got access to college.
Request a Fact Check
September 26, 2011
It hasn’t just been about "me first." There's always been a running thread that says we're all connected, and that there are some things that we can only do together as a nation. It's obvious when we think of our collective defense, and we think about the fire service, or when we think about the military. But it's also true when it comes to our schools. It's also true when it comes to protecting our natural resources. That's why Presidents like Lincoln and Eisenhower -- two Republicans -- invested in railroads and highways and science and technology. It's why this country gave millions of returning heroes -- including my grandfather -- the chance to study through the G.I. Bill. It's the reason that Michelle and I had the chance to succeed beyond our wildest dreams -- because not only did we have great parents and grandparents, but we also had the ability to get student loans. We also had this opportunity that the country gave us.
Request a Fact Check
September 26, 2011
So whether it was the first bill that I signed -- the Lilly Ledbetter bill to make sure that women are getting paid the same for the same day's work -- or making sure that we’re expanding college opportunities by cutting out the middleman and putting an extra $60 billion into the student loan and the Pell Grant programs; or making sure that in a country as wealthy as ours, nobody should go bankrupt because they get sick, and passing health care reform so that 30 million Americans are going to be able to get health care, and everybody is going to be treated properly by their insurance companies -- or passing tough financial regulations to make sure we don’t have the kind of meltdown we saw on Wall Street again, and that consumers are protected; ending “don’t ask, don’t tell,” so that anybody can serve your country regardless of who they love; -- bringing 100,000 troops back from Iraq and ending that war.
Request a Fact Check
September 26, 2011
So it’s the right step to take right now. Long term, we’re going to have to pull together around making sure our education system is the best in the world, making sure our infrastructure is the best in the world, continuing to invest in science and technology. We’ve got to stabilize our finances, and we’ve got to continue to drive down health care costs, which are a drag on our whole economy. And we’ve got to continue to promote trade, but make sure that that trade is fair and that intellectual property protection, for example, is available when we’re doing business in other countries, like China.
Request a Fact Check
September 26, 2011
So that’s part of the reason why one of the things that we’re also proposing, separate and apart from the jobs bill, is we’ve got to do a better job of retraining workers so that they, in their second or third or fourth careers, are able to go back to a community college, maybe take a short six-month course or a one-year course that trains them on the kinds of skills that are going to be needed for jobs that are actually hiring, or businesses that are actually hiring right now.
Request a Fact Check
September 26, 2011
We’ve done some great work working with community colleges to try to make sure that businesses help design the training programs so that somebody who enrolls -- like your mom, if she goes back to school, she knows that after six months she will be trained for the particular job that this business is looking for. All right? Thanks so much.
Request a Fact Check
September 26, 2011
One of the things that we did during the last two and a half years -- it used to be the student loan program was run through the banks. And even though the federal government guaranteed all these loans, so the banks weren’t taking any risks, they were taking about $60 billion out of the entire program, which meant that there was less money to actually go directly to students. We ended that. We cut out the middleman and we said let's use that money to expand the availability of Pell Grants, to increase the amount that Pell Grants -- each Pell Grant a student could get. And through that process, you've got millions of people all across the country who are able to actually go back to school without incurring the huge debt loads that they had in the past -- although, obviously, the cost of a college education is still really high.
Request a Fact Check
September 26, 2011
But as you just pointed out, we’re successful because somebody invested in our education, somebody built schools, somebody created incredible universities. I went to school on scholarship. Michelle -- her dad was what’s called a stationary engineer at the water reclamation district; never owned his own home, but he always paid his bills; had multiple sclerosis, struggled to get to work every day, but never missed a day on the job; never went to college, but he was able to send his daughter to Princeton and on to Harvard Law School. We benefited from somebody, somewhere making an investment in us. And I don’t care who you are, that’s true of all of us.
Request a Fact Check
September 26, 2011
Look at this room. I mean, look at the diversity of the people here. A lot of us are -- parents came from someplace else, or grandparents came from someplace else. They benefited from a public school system, or an incredible university network, or the infrastructure that allows us to move products and services around the globe, or the scientific research that -- Silicon Valley is built on research that no individual company would have made on their own because you couldn’t necessarily capture the value of the nascent Internet.
Request a Fact Check
September 26, 2011
If we don’t improve our education system, for example, we will all fall behind. We will all fall behind. That’s just -- that’s a fact. And the truth is, is that on every indicator -- from college graduation rates to math and science scores -- we are slipping behind other developed countries. And that’s going to have an impact in terms of, if you’re a startup, are you going to be able to find enough engineers? It’s going to have an impact in terms of, is the infrastructure here good enough that you can move products to market? It’s going to have an impact on your ability to recruit top talent from around the world. And so we all have an investment in improving our education system.
Request a Fact Check
September 26, 2011
Now, money is not going to solve the entire problem. That’s why we’ve initiated reforms like Race to the Top that says we’re going to have higher standards for everybody. We’re going to not just have kids taught to the test, but we’re going to make sure that we empower teachers, but we’re also going to hold them accountable, and improve how we train our principals and our teachers. So we’re willing to make a whole bunch of reforms, but, at some point, money makes a difference. If we don't have enough science teachers in the classroom, we’re going to have problems. Somebody has got to pay for it.
Request a Fact Check
September 26, 2011
There is no doubt that there is a connection, long term, between our economic success, our productivity, and our education system. That’s indisputable. When we were at our peak in terms of growth, back in the '60s and the '70s, in large part it was because we were doing a better job of training our workforce than anybody else in the world.
Request a Fact Check
September 26, 2011
Now the rest of the world has caught up -- or is catching up. They’re hungry. And as I said before, we are slipping behind a lot of developed countries. So our proportion of college graduates has not gone up, while everybody else's has gone up. Our proportion of high school graduates has not gone up, while everybody else’s has gone up. And if you’ve got a billion Chinese and Indians and Eastern Europeans, all who are entering into a labor force and are becoming more skilled, and we are just sitting on the status quo, we’re going to have problems.
Request a Fact Check
September 26, 2011
And it may be that we’ve got to also, in some cases, rethink how we get students interested in learning. IBM is engaged in a really interesting experience in New York where they’re essentially setting up schools -- similar to the concept I was talking about with community colleges -- where they’re saying to kids pretty early on -- I think as early as 8th grade -- we’re going to design a program -- IBM worked with the New York public schools to design a program -- and this is not for the kids who are in the top 1 percent, this is for ordinary public school kids. You follow this program, you work hard, IBM will hire you at the end of this process. And it suddenly gives kids an incentive. They say, oh, the reason I'm studying math and science is there's a practical outcome here. I will have a job. And there are practical applications to what I'm doing in the classroom.
Request a Fact Check
September 26, 2011
And we talked, when I was running, about what some of those challenges were. We knew that we were going to have to create an energy policy that would not only free ourselves from dependence on foreign oil, but also start changing how we think about the planet and how we think about climate. We knew that we were going to have to make sure that we changed our health care system that was broken, leaving millions of people without health insurance and leaving folks who did have health insurance less secure than they needed to be. We knew that we were going to have to get control of our federal budget, but do so in a way that ensured that we could still make the core investments in infrastructure and basic research and education that are so vital for us winning the future. We knew that we were going to have to not only put more money into our education system, but we were going to have to revamp it so that not just a few of our kids are prepared for the 21st century, but all of our kids are prepared for the 21st century.
Request a Fact Check
September 26, 2011
So we've done a lot. But here is the challenge I have for all of you. We've got so much more work to do. Yes, we stabilized the economy, but at a level where the unemployment rate was way, way too high. And we still have all sorts of international challenges that we're facing, from Europe to Asia. So we're still going to have to do a lot to restructure our economy to meet the competitive challenges of the 21st century. And that means we've got to continue to invest in cutting-edge research that enables the kind of explosion of technology that's taken place here in Silicon Valley. It means that we've continually got to revamp our education system. It means that we've got to make sure that we're rebuilding the best infrastructure in the world.
Request a Fact Check
September 26, 2011
We need to put teachers back in the classroom. We have -- even in the midst of this economic crisis, we've actually created 2 million jobs over the last couple of years. The problem is we've also lost half a million jobs, mostly in state and local government, and a huge proportion of those are teachers that should be in our classrooms right now. We've got to change that, and the jobs bill would put people back in the classroom where they belong.
Request a Fact Check
September 26, 2011
Contrary to what the Republicans claim, that's not class warfare. This is not about leveling down. The people in this audience, some of you have been extraordinarily successful, and that’s what America is all about. We want everybody to thrive. We want everybody to succeed. God bless you. If you’re starting a business, you’ve got a good idea, you’ve got a new product, a new service, put that out onto the market. Create jobs. Create opportunity for others. That’s great. But we have to remind ourselves that the reason we’re successful is because somebody else made an investment in us. Somewhere along the line, somebody made an investment in us either directly -- people like myself getting college scholarships -- indirectly, because somebody invested in DARPA a few years back.
Request a Fact Check
September 27, 2011
Let’s pass this jobs bill and put teachers back in the classroom where they belong.    Places like South Korea, they’re adding teachers in droves to prepare their kids for the global economy.  We’re laying off our teachers left and right.  All across the country, budget cuts are forcing superintendents to make choices they don’t want to make.
Request a Fact Check
September 27, 2011
Firefighters and police officers are protecting your property.  You’re moving your goods and products and services on roads that somebody built.  That’s how we all do well together.  We got here because somebody else invested in us, and we’ve got to make sure this generation of students can go to college on student aid or scholarships like I did.  We’ve got to make sure that we keep investing in the kind of government research that helped to create the Internet, which countless private sector companies then used to create tens of millions of jobs.
Request a Fact Check
September 27, 2011
Most Republicans voted against it, but we were able to cut $60 billion -- $60 billion -- that previously was going to banks as middlemen for the student loan program. And we said, why do we need a middleman? Let’s take that $60 billion and let’s give that to young people -- in the form of Pell Grants and scholarships and student loans that are cheaper, so that they’re not loaded up with debt and they’ve got opportunity. And as a consequence, right now, all across the country, there are millions of young people that are benefiting. And we could not have done it if you guys hadn’t helped to put me into office. That’s a fact.
Request a Fact Check
September 27, 2011
We need to work short term and we’re going to need to work long term. Because, after we pass this jobs bill, we’re still going to have work to do. We’re still going to have to reform our education system. We’re still going to have to make sure that we’ve got an immigration system in this country that is fair -- and, yes, secures our borders, but also makes sure that folks who are here aren’t living in the shadows. We’ve still got to make sure that we have an energy policy that is smart for our pocketbooks and frees ourselves from dependence on foreign oil -- and make sure that we’re doing something about climate change.
Request a Fact Check
September 28, 2011
You’re right, though, that the long-term challenge is how do we create an economy that is more competitive, more productive, and is employing more people.  And to do that, we’ve got to improve our education system -- which is why we place such a big emphasis on reform, particularly targeting those schools that are under-performing.  And disproportionately Latino and African American youth are dropping out of high school at a time when it’s very hard to find a job if you don't have not only a high school degree, but also some advanced training.  So that’s been a big emphasis.
Request a Fact Check
September 28, 2011
Because of the work that we did to change how the student loan program worked -- instead of going through banks, it’s now going directly to students -- we’ve freed up about $60 billion that we’re going to be able to provide for Pell Grants and scholarships.  And as a consequence, we’ve actually seen the Latino college enrollment rate go up significantly over the last couple of years.
Request a Fact Check
September 28, 2011
I think the biggest challenge for all of us, but this is especially true in the Latino community, is improving our education system.  And part of that is the effort we're making in schools.  So, for example, we have a program called Race to the Top, where we've been saying we'll give extra money to states and school districts that are improving teacher training and making schools more accountable.  It's resulted in over 40 states changing their laws to adopt to best practices in education.
Request a Fact Check
September 28, 2011
So a lot of the work has to be done in terms of reforming how education is delivered.  We need to improve the construction of schools.  My jobs bill included building and repairing schools.  And especially in the Latino community where there's a large youth population, you're seeing overcrowded schools, kids learning in trailers.  That's not sending a good signal to people about the importance of education.  So passing this jobs bill can be very important in terms of improving the school, the physical plant, but also putting teachers back in the classroom.
Request a Fact Check
September 28, 2011
But finally, so much of school performance also has to do with attitudes at home with parents and in the community.  And a strong message that I send to all students, but especially Latino and African American students, who tend to drop out at higher rates or fall behind faster, is the day is gone when without an education you can somehow get a job that supports you.  Even if you're not going to a four-year college, needing to get some advanced training at a community college -- even if you want to work in a factory today you now have to know computers, you have to have math skills, you have to be able to communicate effectively.
Request a Fact Check
September 28, 2011
Now, if you promise not to tell anybody, I will let you in on a little secret:  I was not always the very best student that I could be when I was in high school, and certainly not when I was in middle school.  I did not love every class I took.  I wasn’t always paying attention the way I should have.  I remember when I was in 8th grade I had to take a class called ethics.  Now, ethics is about right and wrong, but if you’d ask me what my favorite subject was back in 8th grade, it was basketball.  I don’t think ethics would have made it on the list.
Request a Fact Check
September 28, 2011
Now, to do almost any of those things, you have to not only graduate from high school, -- and I know I’m just -- I’m in the "amen" corner with Principal Berger here -- not only do you have to graduate from high school, but you’re going to have to continue education after you leave.  You have to not only graduate, but you’ve got to keep going after you graduate.
Request a Fact Check
September 28, 2011
That might mean, for many of you, a four-year university.  I was just talking to Donae, and she wants to be an architect, and she’s interning with a architectural firm, and she’s already got her sights set on what school she wants to go to.  But it might, for some other folks, be a community college, or professional credentialing or training.  But the fact of the matter is, is that more than 60 percent of the jobs in the next decade will require more than a high school diploma -- more than 60 percent.  That’s the world you’re walking into.
Request a Fact Check
September 28, 2011
So I don’t want anybody who’s listening here today to think that you’re done once you finish high school.  You are not done learning.  In fact, what’s happening in today’s economy is -- it’s all about lifelong learning.  You have to constantly upgrade your skills and find new ways of doing things.  Even if college isn't for you, even if a four-year college isn't for you, you’re still going to have to get more education after you get out of high school.  You’ve got to start expecting big things from yourself right now.
Request a Fact Check
October 24, 2011
I would not be standing here today if somebody had not made an investment and said, you know what, not everybody is going to be born wealthy, not everybody is going to be born well-connected; why don't we make sure that we've got college scholarships out there and student loans so that people can go to college and give something back to this country.
Request a Fact Check
October 24, 2011
Because of you, there are millions of young people who are getting Pell Grants and larger scholarships, because we’re no longer subsidizing big banks who were basically just a pass-through for student loans. That money is directly going to the students now and that’s making a huge difference all across the country.
Request a Fact Check
October 25, 2011
And on student loans and school reform and on a whole host of issues that don’t get a lot of attention -- on doubling fuel efficiency standards on cars and trucks to not only free ourselves from dependence on foreign oil, but also to start reducing carbon in the atmosphere and making us more competitive, to saving the auto industry -- I keep a checklist in my desk of stuff that I promised to do and we're through about 60 percent of it -- which isn’t bad for three years. 
Request a Fact Check
October 25, 2011
And sometimes I think people forget how much has gotten done -- whether it’s passing health care for 30 million Americans who didn’t have it, and making sure that young people are able to stay on their parents’ health insurance and insurance companies aren’t dropping you when you’ve got coverage, to making sure that we were ending “don’t ask, don’t tell” so that anybody could serve this country that they love regardless of who they love, to ending the war in Iraq, to making sure that college loans and scholarships were accessible to young people all across the country, to saving the auto industry.
Request a Fact Check
October 25, 2011
Now, part of the reason that I ran was because too many people felt that dream slipping away. For a decade, we saw that dream neglected. And so even though some of us were extraordinarily fortunate, those of us at the very top were doing very well, the average family saw their wages flatline, their incomes flatline -- even as the cost of everything from a college education to their health care to their groceries to their gas was going up. More and more people felt like they were working harder just to stay in the same place, or not to fall behind.
Request a Fact Check
October 25, 2011
Despite the resistance, we were able to make sure that anybody can serve this country that they love -- put an end to “don’t ask, don’t tell.” Despite their resistance, we were able to bring about an end to a war and start bringing our troops home. Despite that resistance, we were able to stop sending $60 billion to banks for the student loan program and start sending that $60 billion to students and expand the Pell Grant programs -- and expand access to college.
Request a Fact Check
October 26, 2011
Here in Colorado, you’ve got folks who are spending months  -- some, years -- looking for work.  We've got families who are making tough sacrifices just to pay the bills, or the mortgage, or college tuition.  And Americans know we need to do something about it.    And I know this is especially hard for a lot of young people.
Request a Fact Check
October 26, 2011
So that means we should be doing everything we can to put a college education within reach for every American.    That has never been more important.  It's never been more important, but, let's face it, it's also never been more expensive.  There was a new report today, tuition gone up again, on average -- much faster than inflation; certainly much faster than wages and incomes.
Request a Fact Check
October 26, 2011
Over the past three decades, the cost of college has nearly tripled.  And that is forcing you, forcing students, to take out more loans and rack up more debt.  Last year, graduates who took out loans left college owing an average of $24,000.  Student loan debt has now surpassed credit card debt, for the first time ever.
Request a Fact Check
October 26, 2011
Now, living with that kind of debt means making some pretty tough choices when you’re first starting out.  It might mean putting off buying a house.  It might mean you can’t start a business idea that you’ve got.  It may mean that you’ve got to wait longer to start a family, or certainly it means you’re putting off saving for retirement because you’re still paying off your student loans.
Request a Fact Check
October 26, 2011
So that’s why, since taking office, we’ve made it a priority to make college more affordable, reduce your student loan debt.  Last year we fought to eliminate these taxpayer subsidies that were going to big banks.  They were serving as middlemen in the student loan program -- some of you may have heard about this.  So even though the loans were guaranteed by the federal government, we were still paying banks billions of dollars to be pass-throughs for the student loan program.
Request a Fact Check
October 26, 2011
And we said, well, that’s not a good idea.    That’s not a good -- now, of course, there were some in Washington who opposed me on this -- that’s surprising.    I know -- shocking.    So you had some Republicans in Congress who fought us tooth and nail to protect the status quo and to keep these tax dollars flowing to the big banks instead of going to middle-class families.  One of them said changing it would be "an outrage."  The real outrage was letting banks keep these subsidies while students were working three jobs just to try to get by.  That was the outrage.    And that’s why we ended the practice once and for all, to put a college education within reach of more Americans.
Request a Fact Check
October 26, 2011
Then in last year’s State of the Union address, I asked Congress to pass a law that tells 1 million students they won’t have to pay more than 10 percent of their income toward student loans.  And we won that fight, too -- and that law will take effect by the time -- that law is scheduled to take effect by the time freshmen graduate.
Request a Fact Check
October 26, 2011
So here is what this is going to mean.  Because of this change, about 1.6 million Americans could see their payments go down by hundreds of dollars a month -- and that includes some of the students who are here today.    What we’re also going to do is we’re going to take steps to consolidate student loans so that instead of paying multiple payments to multiple lenders every month -- and let me tell you, I remember this.  I remember writing like five different checks to five different loan agencies -- and if you lost one that month, you couldn’t get all the bills together, you missed a payment, and then suddenly you were paying a penalty.  We’re going to make it easier for you to have one payment a month at a better interest rate.    And this won’t cost -- it won’t cost taxpayers a dime, but it will save you money and it will save you time. 
Request a Fact Check
October 26, 2011
And we want to start giving students a simple fact sheet.  We’re going to call it “Know Before You Owe” -- "Know Before You Owe" -- so you have all the information you need to make your own decisions about how to pay for college.  And I promise you, I wish Michelle and I had had that when we were in your shoes.   So these changes will make a difference for millions of Americans.  It will save you money.  It will help more young people figure out how to afford college.  It can put more money in your pocket once you graduate.  And because you’ll have some certainty, knowing that it’s only a certain percentage of your income that is going to pay off your student loans, that means you will be more confident and comfortable to buy a house or save for retirement.  And that will give our economy a boost at a time when it desperately needs it.    So this is not just important to our country right now, it’s important to our country’s future.
Request a Fact Check
October 26, 2011
Because a big chunk of the entrepreneurs who are in this room -- you got an education somewhere and somebody paid for it. You got a college scholarship somewhere along the line, and somebody paid for it.  Somewhere along the line you were able to use platforms and technologies that have been developed because, collectively, we decided we were going to invest in basic research.  There were rules of the road that governed our economic system that allowed you to prosper.
Request a Fact Check
October 26, 2011
But we can’t just cut our way out of prosperity.  If we want win the future, then we’ve got to invest in education, so that every single child has an opportunity not just to graduate from high school, but to get some secondary education, and get the skills and the training they need to succeed.  If we want businesses to come here, we’ve got to invest in new roads and bridges and airports and wireless infrastructure and a smart-grid.  We’re not going to be able to succeed otherwise.
Request a Fact Check
October 26, 2011
Change is the thousands of families who are able to pay for college because we took on the banks and the lenders and made tuition more affordable.  Change is the 1 million young adults who already have health insurance under the Affordable Care Act, and the 30 million more that are finally going to be able to get coverage.    When that law is signed, it will mean for families all across the country they won’t be bankrupt if somebody in their family gets sick.
Request a Fact Check
October 26, 2011
You know about what he did here in Denver in helping to lift up the public schools here, and you're seeing some of the foundation that he laid when he was here starting to pay off.  Just before we came onstage, he told me a story about a young man who had benefited from the Denver scholarship initiative, the Denver Scholarship Fund, and he came to a town hall meeting.  Nobody in the family had gone to college before, and now suddenly this kid was a senior at Colorado College and is somebody who is -- everybody all right there?  Somebody fall down?  Oh, they’ve been standing too long.  No, no, do we have an EMT?   Okay.  Make sure she’s okay.  No, I think she’ll be fine.
Request a Fact Check
October 26, 2011
As Michael mentioned, for a lot of folks the crisis didn’t start with Lehman's.  We had a decade in which wages and incomes had flat-lined, while the cost of everything from health care to a college education had been shooting up.  Folks were working harder and harder just to stay in place.  They took out loans, spouse went into the workplace.  They just barely were able to keep it together.  And that was before the crisis struck.
Request a Fact Check
November 22, 2011
We announced -- on our own -- a new policy that will help families refinance their mortgages and save thousands of dollars.  A lot of the young people who are in New York and around the country, they’re worrying about student loans.  On our own, without Congress, we reformed the student loan process to make it easier for more young people to pay off their debt.    By the way, that was building on top of legislation we passed a year ago that said instead of sending $60 billion to banks to manage the student loan program, let’s give it directly to students so that millions more young people can afford a college education. 
Request a Fact Check
November 22, 2011
The truth of the matter is, I can’t tell you how many well-to-do Americans that I meet say to me, look, I want to do more because I know that the only reason I’m doing well is because somewhere along the line, somebody gave me a good education; somewhere along the line, somebody gave me a college scholarship; somewhere along the line, somebody gave me a chance.  And I want to do the same thing for the young people who are coming up now.    That is what America is all about. 
Request a Fact Check
November 30, 2011
Hello, Scranton!  Thank you.    It is good to be back in Scranton.  Go, Knights!    It is good to be here.  Thank you, Principal Schaeffer, for letting us hold this little assembly here at the high school.    The principal was bragging about both the basketball team and the football team.  I understand they’re -- right up there?  All right.
Request a Fact Check
November 30, 2011
So let’s just take a look over the past several weeks.  We said, we can’t wait.  We just went ahead and started taking some steps on our own to give working Americans a leg up in a tough economy.  For homeowners, I announced a new policy that will help families refinance their mortgages and save thousands of dollars.    For all the young people out here -- we reformed our student loan process to make it easier for more students to pay off their debts earlier.    For our veterans out here -- and I see some veterans in the crowd -- we ordered several new initiatives to help our returning heroes find new jobs and get trained for those jobs.    Because you shouldn’t have to fight for a job when you come home after fighting for America -- you shouldn’t have to do that. 
Request a Fact Check
November 30, 2011
Now, I mean, I don’t want to exaggerate.  It’s not like they’re volunteering.    But if they’re asked, if they feel like it’s going to help middle-class families, help grow the economy, help to reduce the deficit, they’re willing to help.  I can’t tell you how many well-to-do folks I meet who say, look, America gave me a chance to succeed.  Somewhere along the line, somebody gave me a good education.  Somewhere along the line, somebody gave me a college scholarship.  Somewhere along the line, somebody built the information and transportation networks that have helped my business grow.  Somewhere along the line, somebody gave me a shot.  And so now it’s my turn to do the next generation that same good thing.  I’ve got to give something back to them as well. 
Request a Fact Check
November 30, 2011
We have made enormous progress in education, and broken through a lot of the traditional left-right arguments about accountability and charter schools and teacher training.  But in order for us to implement what is necessarily a decade-long project to get our education system back to where it needs to be, I’m going to need a few more years to finish the job.
Request a Fact Check
December 6, 2011
But we need to meet the moment. We’ve got to up our game. We need to remember that we can only do that together. It starts by making education a national mission -- a national mission. Government and businesses, parents and citizens. In this economy, a higher education is the surest route to the middle class. The unemployment rate for Americans with a college degree or more is about half the national average. And their incomes are twice as high as those who don’t have a high school diploma. Which means we shouldn’t be laying off good teachers right now -- we should be hiring them. We shouldn’t be expecting less of our schools –- we should be demanding more. We shouldn’t be making it harder to afford college -- we should be a country where everyone has a chance to go and doesn’t rack up $100,000 of debt just because they went.
Request a Fact Check
December 6, 2011
In today’s innovation economy, we also need a world-class commitment to science and research, the next generation of high-tech manufacturing. Our factories and our workers shouldn’t be idle. We should be giving people the chance to get new skills and training at community colleges so they can learn how to make wind turbines and semiconductors and high-powered batteries. And by the way, if we don’t have an economy that’s built on bubbles and financial speculation, our best and brightest won’t all gravitate towards careers in banking and finance. Because if we want an economy that’s built to last, we need more of those young people in science and engineering. This country should not be known for bad debt and phony profits. We should be known for creating and selling products all around the world that are stamped with three proud words: Made in America.
Request a Fact Check
January 24, 2012
When kids do graduate, the most daunting challenge can be the cost of college.  At a time when Americans owe more in tuition debt than credit card debt, this Congress needs to stop the interest rates on student loans from doubling in July. 
Request a Fact Check
January 24, 2012
Extend the tuition tax credit we started that saves millions of middle-class families thousands of dollars, and give more young people the chance to earn their way through college by doubling the number of work-study jobs in the next five years. 
Request a Fact Check
January 24, 2012
Jackie Bray is a single mom from North Carolina who was laid off from her job as a mechanic.  Then Siemens opened a gas turbine factory in Charlotte, and formed a partnership with Central Piedmont Community College.  The company helped the college design courses in laser and robotics training.  It paid Jackie’s tuition, then hired her to help operate their plant.
Request a Fact Check
January 24, 2012
I want every American looking for work to have the same opportunity as Jackie did.  Join me in a national commitment to train 2 million Americans with skills that will lead directly to a job.    My administration has already lined up more companies that want to help.  Model partnerships between businesses like Siemens and community colleges in places like Charlotte, and Orlando, and Louisville are up and running.  Now you need to give more community colleges the resources they need to become community career centers -– places that teach people skills that businesses are looking for right now, from data management to high-tech manufacturing.
Request a Fact Check
January 24, 2012
We also know that when students don’t walk away from their education, more of them walk the stage to get their diploma.  When students are not allowed to drop out, they do better.  So tonight, I am proposing that every state -- every state -- requires that all students stay in high school until they graduate or turn 18. 
Request a Fact Check
January 24, 2012
Of course, it’s not enough for us to increase student aid.  We can’t just keep subsidizing skyrocketing tuition; we’ll run out of money.  States also need to do their part, by making higher education a higher priority in their budgets.  And colleges and universities have to do their part by working to keep costs down.
Request a Fact Check
January 24, 2012
Recently, I spoke with a group of college presidents who’ve done just that.  Some schools redesign courses to help students finish more quickly.  Some use better technology.  The point is, it’s possible.  So let me put colleges and universities on notice:  If you can’t stop tuition from going up, the funding you get from taxpayers will go down.    Higher education can’t be a luxury -– it is an economic imperative that every family in America should be able to afford.
Request a Fact Check
January 24, 2012
I’m a Democrat.  But I believe what Republican Abraham Lincoln believed:  That government should do for people only what they cannot do better by themselves, and no more.    That’s why my education reform offers more competition, and more control for schools and states.  That’s why we’re getting rid of regulations that don’t work.  That’s why our health care law relies on a reformed private market, not a government program.
Request a Fact Check
January 25, 2012
A lot of -- I hear folks running around calling this class warfare.  This is not class warfare.  Let me tell you something, asking a billionaire to pay at least as much as his secretary, that’s just common sense. That’s common sense.  I mean, we’re talking about going back to tax rates that we had under Bill Clinton -- when, by the way, the economy grew faster and jobs increased much faster.  And in the meantime, Warren Buffett will do fine. I will do fine.  We don’t need tax breaks.  You do.  You’re the ones who’ve seen your wages stall, the cost of everything from groceries to college tuition going up.  So I want to give you a break.  I don’t need a break.
Request a Fact Check
January 25, 2012
Or, alternatively, if we’re going to close that deficit, somebody else is going to have to pick up the tab.  It might be a senior who now suddenly has to pay more for their Medicare.  It’s got to be a student who’s suddenly having to pay more for their student loan.  It might be a family that’s just trying to get by and suddenly their tax rates go up.  That’s not right.  That’s not who we are.
Request a Fact Check
January 25, 2012
And I promise you, look, Warren Buffett will do fine.   I will do fine.  We don’t need more tax breaks.  The middle class needs help.    They’re the ones who’ve seen wages stall.  They’re the ones who’ve seen the cost of everything from groceries to college tuition go up.  You’re the ones who need a break.
Request a Fact Check
January 26, 2012
We’ve got to follow the lead of the members of our military who are here today.  You rise or fall as one unit, serving one nation.  You have each other’s backs.  That’s the same spirit that you’ll find in communities all over America.  Each of us is here only because somebody was looking out for us.  Not just our parents, but we had neighbors and communities and churches and synagogues, people who were coaching Little League.  And we had a country that was investing in community colleges and universities and research and caring for our vets.  Everybody was taking responsibility for each other and for our country, as well as for ourselves.
Request a Fact Check
January 26, 2012
A senior suddenly is going to have to start paying more for their Medicare, or a student is going to have to pay more for their student loan, or a family that’s trying to get by, they’re going to have to do with less.  And that’s not right.  That’s not who we are.  Each of us is only here because somebody somewhere felt a responsibility to each other and to our country and helped to create all this incredible opportunity that we call the United States of America.
Request a Fact Check
January 27, 2012
We’re going to also put pressure on states to make sure they’re prioritizing higher education.  We’re going to make sure that colleges and universities are held accountable and that they do what they need to do to hold down costs.
Request a Fact Check
January 27, 2012
And we’ve got to have an economy in which every American has access to a world-class higher education, the kind you are getting right here at the University of Michigan. 
Request a Fact Check
January 27, 2012
So we've got to do something to help families be able to afford -- and students to be able to afford -- this higher education.  We've all got a responsibility here.
Request a Fact Check
January 27, 2012
We don't need more tax breaks.  There are a lot of families out there who are struggling, who’ve seen their wages stall, and the cost of everything from a college education to groceries and food have gone up.  You’re the ones who need that.  You’re the ones who need help.  And we can't do both.
Request a Fact Check
January 27, 2012
They don't all have to go to four-year colleges and universities -- although we need more engineers and we need more scientists, and we’ve got to make sure that college is affordable and accessible.  But we also need skilled workers who are going to community colleges, or middle-aged workers who are allowed to retrain, have a commitment to work, have that work ethic, but want to make sure that technology is not passing them by -- and so focusing on our community colleges, and making sure that they're matched up with businesses that are hiring right now, and making sure that they help to design the programs that are going to put them -- put people in place to get those jobs right away.
Request a Fact Check
January 27, 2012
Making college more affordable, which I just spoke about at Michigan -- we’ve got an average of $24,000 worth of debt for every young person that's graduating right now.  They're starting off in a hole that most of us didn't have to start off with, and it’s brutal.  And there are ways we can solve it.  This caucus helped to make sure that we increased Pell Grants, and we increased student aid, but now -- there's some concrete things we’ve got to do right now, like making sure that the interest rates don't double on student loans this year, in July.    We’re going to require Congress to act.
Request a Fact Check
January 27, 2012
And when we've got a trillion -- more than $1 trillion worth of tax breaks that were supposed to be temporary for the top 2 percent slated to continue, we've got a tax code full of loopholes for folks who don't need them and weren't even asking for them -- we've got to ask ourselves, what's more important to us?  Is it more important for me to get a tax break, or is it more important for that senior to know that they've got Medicare and Social Security that's stable?  Is it more important for me to get a tax break, or is it better for that young person to get a break on their college education?  Is it more important for me to get a tax break, or is it more important that we care for our veterans?
Request a Fact Check
January 27, 2012
My grandfather got the chance to go to college because this country decided that every returning veteran of World War II should be able to afford it.  My mother was able to raise two kids by herself because she was able to get grants and work her way through school.  I am only standing here today because scholarships and student loans gave me a shot at a decent education.  Michelle and I can still remember how long it took us to pay back our student loans. 
Request a Fact Check
January 27, 2012
Now, we still have, by far, the best network of colleges and universities in the world.  Nobody else comes close.  Nobody else comes close.    But the challenge is it's getting tougher and tougher to afford it.  Since most of you were born, tuition and fees have more than doubled.  That forces students like you to take out more loans and rack up more debt.
Request a Fact Check
January 27, 2012
Student loan debt has now surpassed credit card debt for the first time ever.  Think about that.  That’s inexcusable.  In the coming decade, 60 percent of new jobs will require more than a high school diploma.  Higher education is not a luxury.  It's an economic imperative that every family in America should be able to afford.  And when I say higher education, I don't just mean four-year colleges and universities; I also mean our community colleges and providing lifelong learning for workers who may need to retrain for jobs when the economy shifts.  All those things cost money, and it's harder and harder to afford. 
Request a Fact Check
January 27, 2012
Thanks to the hard work of Secretary Duncan, my administration is increasing federal student aid so more students can afford college.    And one of the things I'm proudest of, with the help of all these members of Congress, we won a tough fight to stop handing out tens of billions of dollars in taxpayer subsidies to banks that issue student loans and shift that money to where it should go, directly to the students and to the families who need it. 
Request a Fact Check
January 27, 2012
Tens of billions of dollars that were going to subsidies for banks are now going to students in the form of more grants and lower rates on loans.  We’ve capped student loan payments so that nearly 1.6 million students -- including a bunch of you -- are only going to have to pay 10 percent of your monthly income towards your loans once you graduate -- 10 percent of your monthly income. 
Request a Fact Check
January 27, 2012
So that’s what we’ve been doing.  Now Congress has to do more.  Congress needs to do more.  They need to stop the interest rates on student loans from doubling this July.  That's what’s scheduled to happen if Congress doesn't act.  That would not be good for you.  So you should let your members of Congress know:  Don't do that.  Don't do it.  Don't do it.
Request a Fact Check
January 27, 2012
They need to extend the tuition tax credit that we’ve put in place that’s saving some of you and millions of folks all across the country thousands of dollars.  And Congress needs to give more young people the chance to earn their way through college by doubling the number of work-study jobs in the next five years. 
Request a Fact Check
January 27, 2012
So the administration has a job to do.  Congress has a job to do.  But it’s not just enough to increase student aid, and you can imagine why.  Look, we can’t just keep on subsidizing skyrocketing tuition.  If tuition is going up faster than inflation, faster than even health care is going up, no matter how much we subsidize it, sooner or later, we’re going to run out of money.  And that means that others have to do their part.  Colleges and universities need to do their part to keep costs down as well. 
Request a Fact Check
January 27, 2012
Recently, I spoke with a group of college presidents who’ve done just that.  Here at Michigan, you’ve done a lot to find savings in your budget.  We know this is possible.  So from now on, I’m telling Congress we should steer federal campus-based aid to those colleges that keep tuition affordable, provide good value, serve their students well.    We are putting colleges on notice -- you can’t keep -- you can't assume that you’ll just jack up tuition every single year.  If you can’t stop tuition from going up, then the funding you get from taxpayers each year will go down.  We should push colleges to do better.  We should hold them accountable if they don’t. 
Request a Fact Check
January 27, 2012
Now, states also have to do their part.  I was talking to your president -- and this is true all across the country -- states have to do their part by making higher education a higher priority in their budgets.    Last year, over 40 states cut their higher education spending -- 40 states cut their higher education budget.  And we know that these state budget cuts have been the largest factor in tuition increases at public colleges over the past decade.
Request a Fact Check
January 27, 2012
So we’re challenging states:  Take responsibility as well on this issue.    What we’re doing is, today we’re going to launch a Race to the Top for college affordability.  We’re telling the states, if you can find new ways to bring down the cost of college and make it easier for more students to graduate, we’ll help you do it.  We will give you additional federal support if you are doing a good job of making sure that all of you aren’t loaded up with debt when you graduate from college.    And, finally, today I’m also calling for a new report card for colleges.  Parents like getting report cards.  I know you guys may not always look forward to it.    But we parents, we like to know what you’re doing.  From now on, parents and students deserve to know how a college is doing -- how affordable is it, how well are its students doing?  We want you to know how well a car stacks up before you buy it.  You should know how well a college stacks up.
Request a Fact Check
January 27, 2012
We call this -- one of the things that we’re doing at the Consumer Finance Protection Board that I just set up with Richard Cordray -- is to make sure that young people understand the financing of colleges.  He calls it, “Know Before You Owe.”    Know before you owe.  So we want to push more information out so consumers can make good choices, so you as consumers of higher education understand what it is that you’re getting.
Request a Fact Check
January 27, 2012
Do we want to keep these tax cuts for folks like me who don’t need them?  Or do we want to invest in the things that will help us in the long term -- like student loans and grants -- and a strong military -- and care for our veterans -- and basic research? 
Request a Fact Check
January 27, 2012
There have been some who have been saying, well, the only reason you’re saying that is because you're trying to stir people up, make them envious of the rich.  People don't envy the rich.  When people talk about me paying my fair share of taxes, or Bill Gates or Warren Buffett paying their fair share, the reason that they're talking about it is because they understand that when I get a tax break that I don't need, that the country can't afford, then one of two things are going to happen:  Either the deficit will go up and ultimately you guys are going to have to pay for it, or alternatively, somebody else is going to foot the bill -- some senior who suddenly has to pay more for their Medicare, or some veteran who's not getting the help that they need readjusting after they have defended this country, or some student who’s suddenly having to pay higher interest rates on their student loans.
Request a Fact Check
January 31, 2012
First of all, I just want to thank Stewart and Sandra for setting up this extraordinary event.  It is true that this is now the third time I’ve been here.  It’s been said by a friend of mine, Abner Mikva, former member of Congress, that being friends with a politician is like perpetually having a student in college.    But this is the last campaign.  I’m about to graduate.    So those tuition checks will slowly diminish.
Request a Fact Check
February 17, 2012
Change is the fight we had to stop handing over $60 billion to banks in the student loan program, and say let's cut out the middleman, let's give that money directly to students.    And as a consequence, we've got millions of young people who are benefiting from less debt, and greater college affordability -- that happened because of you. 
Request a Fact Check
February 17, 2012
So I don’t want to hear folks in Washington bashing teachers; I don’t want to hear them defending the status quo.  I want us to give schools the resources they need to hire good teachers and keep good teachers and reward the best teachers.  And in return, I want to give schools the flexibility to teach with creativity and passion, and still maintain accountability. Stop teaching to the test, but still make sure that teachers are meeting high standards, and replace those who aren’t helping our kids learn.  That’s what we’re fighting for.    That’s a vision of America of shared responsibility.      And when kids do graduate, I want them to be able to afford to go to college.    Americans now owe more tuition debt than credit card debt, which means, for starters, this Congress needs to stop the interest rates on student loans from doubling in July -- which is what’s scheduled to happen.  But that’s just the start.  Colleges and universities have to do their part.
Request a Fact Check
February 17, 2012
I said in the State of the Union, we want to give incentives to colleges and universities, and we will help them contain their costs, and state legislatures are going to have to do the same thing.  Because my attitude is if colleges and universities that are supposed to be serving students are pricing themselves so that students can't go, then funding from taxpayers should go down.  Higher education can't be a luxury.  It's an economic imperative that every family in America should be able to afford.  And if we are persistent and creative about it, we can make that happen. 
Request a Fact Check
February 17, 2012
This has nothing to do with class warfare.  It has nothing to do with envy.  It has everything to do with math.  If somebody like me gets a tax break that I don’t need, wasn't asking for, at a time when we're trying to get our fiscal house in order, then one of two things happens.  Either that adds to our deficit, or, alternatively, we've got to take something else away from somebody else.  Maybe a student suddenly has to pay higher interest on their student loans, or a senior has got to pay more for their Medicare, or a homeless veteran doesn’t get the support that they need, or a family doesn’t have the opportunity to get the kind of job training they need to adapt in this changing economy.
Request a Fact Check
February 17, 2012
And then we said it’s not going to be enough if they just graduate from high school.  So even though we got 40 states to initiate K-12 reform, we said we've got to do more with community colleges and higher education.  And the biggest barrier, in addition to performance in K-12, is financial.  And so we took $60 billion that was being funneled to banks to manage to student loans programs, and we said, you know what, let’s cut out the middleman and take that $60 billion, and now millions of kids all across the country are able to afford college that they couldn’t afford before.
Request a Fact Check
February 21, 2012
That's why it's so important for us to stay focused and Congress to continue to do the things that the American people want to see done in order to improve the economy.  We’ve got to build an economy that is built on American manufacturing and American-made energy, and is improving the skills and capacity of American workers.  We've got to make sure that when we think about energy, that we're fueling America by homegrown and alternative energy sources that make us more secure and less dependent on foreign oil.  When we think about skills for American workers, we got to make sure that everybody has the opportunity not only for four-year colleges, but also two-year colleges, the community colleges that Dr. Jill Biden is doing such a great job promoting all across the country.
Request a Fact Check
February 23, 2012
Because of you, we were able to take $60 billion that was going to subsidize banks in the student loan program, and we said why aren’t we sending that money directly to students? And as a consequence, we now have millions of young people all across the country who are getting higher Pell grants, or are eligible for Pell grants for the first time, or are seeing their student loan interest rates lower, have access to college and the keys to the American Dream. That happened because of you. That's what change is.
Request a Fact Check
February 23, 2012
So I don't want to hear folks in Washington bash teachers, I don't want them defending the status quo. I want to give schools the resources they need to keep good teachers on the job. Reward the best ones, give schools flexibility to teach with creativity, stop teaching to the test. Replace teachers who aren’t helping our kids. We can do those things. We got some teachers in the house.
Request a Fact Check
February 23, 2012
Right now Americans owe more in tuition debt than they do in credit card debt. And that means Congress is going to have to stop the interest rates on student loans from going up. They're scheduled to go up in July right now. Colleges and universities are going to have to do their part. I've said to them -- and I've met with university and college presidents -- we're going to keep on helping students afford to go to college. You've got to do your job in terms of keeping tuition down, because taxpayers can't fund this stuff forever. Higher education can't be a luxury; it's an economic necessity, an economic imperative for every family in America. And they should be able to afford it.
Request a Fact Check
February 23, 2012
That's not class warfare. That's not envy. It has to do with simple math. If somebody like me gets a tax break that the country can't afford, then one of two things happen: Either the deficit goes up, which is irresponsible -- or we're taking it out of somebody else -- that student who is now suddenly having to pay a higher student loan rate, or that senior who's having to pay more for Medicare, or that veteran who's not getting the help they need after having served our country.
Request a Fact Check
February 23, 2012
That's why we focused on education, and we've said that not only do we want to improve K through 12 so that every child is getting the basics -- math and science and English -- but we want everybody to be able to go to college.  And we took $60 billion that was going to -- that was being channeled to the banks as subsidies through the student loan program and we said let’s take that money and give it directly to students so that we could expand Pell grants and we could make sure that every -- young people who want to go to college can afford to do so.  Because right now, actually, student loan debt is higher than credit card debt in this country.  And it’s a huge burden on the next generation and we have to start relieving it.   We said, we’ve got to have an energy policy that makes sense and that includes developing oil and gas resources in this country, but it also means focusing on clean energy.  And here in Florida, we’ve seen enormous progress on things like solar and wind and biodiesel.  But we’ve got to do more -- making sure that our cars are more energy efficient, making sure that we’re not prey to every year right around this time oil spiking because something is going on in the Middle East, and our whole economy is suddenly vulnerable.   And we focused on making sure that our tax system is fair.  What I’ve said consistently is, look, I don’t like paying taxes any more than anybody else does and I’m the President.  Now, here’s the thing about being President, you pay every dime.  You don’t take advantage of any loopholes -- because everybody sees your income tax returns.  So I’m probably in the top bracket in every category.   But what I’ve said is Michelle and I have been so blessed, we can afford to do a little bit more to make sure that the next generation is able to come back up, is able to achieve their dreams the same way Michelle and I did.  Because we think about our stories.  I was raised by a single mom.  Michelle was raised by a blue-collar worker and a secretary.  My mother-in-law, even though she lives with us now, she's kept her home back in Chicago.  It’s now her house, but when they were growing up it was actually my mother-in-law’s sister’s house and Michelle’s family lived on the top floor, the second floor of this bungalow. It couldn’t have been more than 600 square feet where four people grew up.   And yet, she was able to go to a quality public school, go to Princeton, go to Harvard Law School, because somebody made an investment in her.  Somebody said, you know what, we want to make sure everybody has opportunity.  And that’s the same way I was able to get ahead, is because somebody made an investment in me.
Request a Fact Check
February 26, 2012
7:18 P.M. EST      Good evening, everybody.  Welcome to the White House.    Did I hear an “aloha” back there?  Yes.    All right, Neil.    Let me begin by acknowledging your outstanding chair, Dave Heineman, who’s doing an outstanding job in the great state of Nebraska, as well as your vice chair, Jack Markell, of the great state of Delaware, for their hard work.   I have heard that you’ve had some very productive meetings this weekend.  I’m looking forward to having you back tomorrow.  We’ll be able to discuss a wide range of policy.   But tonight it’s about having some fun.  We’ve got the help of the great Dianne Reeves, who is going to be here, and we’ll be hearing from later on.    So I’m going to be brief, because although some may disagree, she has a better voice than I do.    I’ve always said that governors have one of the best but also one of the toughest jobs around.  On the one hand, you guys are in charge, which means that folks know where you live and they know how to find you if something doesn’t work.    They expect you to deliver when times are tough.  But you’re also in a position to make real and lasting change every single day.  You’re where rubber hits the road.  And as a consequence, you can see your streets safer, your schools doing better by our children, our businesses growing faster, and our communities growing stronger because of the work that you do each and every day.   In recent months, I’ve had the privilege of seeing first-hand some of the outstanding work that you’re doing in your respective states.  I’ve seen the kinds of businesses that are growing in states like Iowa and Washington.  I’ve seen states like Florida who are really doing great work increasing tourism and developing renewable energies.   I often get a chance to go to Virginia and Maryland and states in the vicinity, where community colleges are doing a wonderful job retraining our people for the jobs of the future.   So every time I get a sense of what’s happening in your states, I’m reminded that progress is possible.  And I want you to know that you’ve got a partner here in the White House.  We’re not going to agree on every single issue, every single day.  But the thing about governors is that by nature, and if not by nature then by virtue of the position, you end up having to be pragmatic, because you have to figure out what works.  And that’s why I’m confident that we’re going to be able to find more and more common ground going forward.    So I want everybody to have a great time tonight.  By the way, you all look fabulous.    You clean up very well.  This house has actually seen its share of good times.  The story goes that after the inauguration, Andrew Jackson opened the White House to the public and was nearly crushed by the crowd.  As things started getting out of hand, the staff decided to pass barrels of ice cream and whiskey out the window  -- to get people out on the lawn, so they wouldn’t cause damage and break the chandeliers and the furniture.   So I just want you to know, in case things get rowdy, we also have a barrel standing by.    But now I’d like to propose a toast –- to all the governors for your outstanding work, but especially to all the spouses who put up with us.  Cheers.  Thank you so much.     Cheers, everybody.  All right.  I hope you guys have a wonderful time.  Let’s serve it up.    MR. HEINEMAN:  , thank you very much.  Now, I want you to know this is not a rowdy group.  They’re on their best behavior tonight.    On behalf of the nation’s governors and our guests here tonight, we are delighted to be with you.  We appreciate the opportunity to join you and the First Lady.   We look forward to seeing you again tomorrow to discuss the important issues we face as a nation.  However, as you said, tonight is an opportunity to enjoy each other’s company and to celebrate how fortunate we are to live in the United States of America.    America is the land of opportunity, and each of us are grateful for the opportunity to lead our states.  And I can say personally, as a young man growing up in Wahoo, Nebraska, I never dreamed that I’d be here in the White House tonight.   We believe in public service, and , we want to thank you and the First Lady for your service to our country.    For you and for us, it is an honor and privilege to serve the citizens of this great country.   And now I’d like to propose a toast.  Ladies and gentlemen, on behalf of the nation’s governors, I propose a toast to the President of the United States and the First Lady.   END 7:23 P.M. EST
Request a Fact Check
February 26, 2012
In recent months, I’ve had the privilege of seeing first-hand some of the outstanding work that you’re doing in your respective states. I’ve seen the kinds of businesses that are growing in states like Iowa and Washington. I’ve seen states like Florida who are really doing great work increasing tourism and developing renewable energies. I often get a chance to go to Virginia and Maryland and states in the vicinity, where community colleges are doing a wonderful job retraining our people for the jobs of the future.
Request a Fact Check
February 27, 2012
We’ve also worked with all of you –- Democrats and Republicans –- to try to fix No Child Left Behind.  We said that if you’re willing to set higher, more honest standards then we will give you more flexibility to meet those standards.  Earlier this month I announced the first 11 states to get a waiver from No Child Left Behind, and I hope that we are going to be adding more states soon.
Request a Fact Check
February 27, 2012
Now, there are two areas in education that demand our immediate focus.  First, we’ve just got to get more teachers into our classrooms.  Over the past four years, school districts across America have lost over 250,000 educators -- 250,000 teachers, educators have been lost.  Think about that.  A quarter-million educators, responsible for millions of our students, all laid off when America has never needed them more.
Request a Fact Check
February 27, 2012
Now, we want to help you everyplace that we can.  At the federal level, we’ve already provided billions of dollars in funding to help keep hundreds of thousands of teachers in the classroom.  And a cornerstone of the jobs plan that I put forward in September -- a chunk of which has gotten done, but a chunk of which remains undone -- was to provide even more funding, so that you could prevent further layoffs and rehire teachers that had lost their jobs.  And I’d like to thank those of you in this room who voiced support for that effort.
Request a Fact Check
February 27, 2012
The second area where we have to bring greater focus is higher education.  The jobs of the future are increasingly going to those with more than a high school degree.  And I have to make a point here.  When I speak about higher education we’re not just talking about a four-year degree.  We’re talking about somebody going to a community college and getting trained for that manufacturing job that now is requiring somebody walking through the door, handling a million-dollar piece of equipment.  And they can’t go in there unless they’ve got some basic training beyond what they received in high school.
Request a Fact Check
February 27, 2012
We all want Americans getting those jobs of the future.  So we’re going to have to make sure that they’re getting the education that they need.  It starts, by the way, with just what kinds of expectation and ground rules we’re setting for kids in high school.  Right now, 21 states require students to stay in high school until they graduate or turn 18 -- 21 states.  That means 29 don’t.   I believe that’s the right thing to do, for us to make sure to send a message to our young people -- you graduate from high school, at a minimum.  And I urge others to follow suit of those 21 states.
Request a Fact Check
February 27, 2012
Now, for students that are ready for college, we've got to make sure that college is affordable.  Today, graduates who take out loans leave college owing an average of $25,000.  That’s a staggering amount for young people.  Americans now owe more in student loan debt than they do in credit card debt.  There's so many Americans out there with so much to offer who are saddled with debt before they even start out in life.  And the very idea of owing that much money puts college out of reach for far too many families.
Request a Fact Check
February 27, 2012
So this is a major problem that must be fixed.  I addressed it at the State of the Union.  We have a role to play here.  My grandfather got a chance to go to college because Americans and Congress decided that every returning veteran from World War II should be able to afford it.  My mother was able to raise two kids by herself while still going to college and getting an advanced degree because she was able to get grants and work-study while she was in school.  Michelle and I are only here today because of scholarships and student loans that gave us a good shot at a great education.  And it wasn't easy to pay off these loans, but it sure wasn't as hard as it is for a lot of kids today.
Request a Fact Check
February 27, 2012
So my administration has tried to do our part by making sure that the student loan program puts students before banks, by increasing aid like the Pell grants for millions of students and their families, and by allowing students to cap their monthly loan payments at 10 percent of their income, which means that their repayment schedule is manageable.
Request a Fact Check
February 27, 2012
Congress still needs to do its part by, first of all, keeping student interest rates low.  Right now, they are scheduled to double at the end of July if Congress does not act.  And that would be a real tragedy for an awful lot of families around the country.  They also need to extend the tuition tax credit for the middle class, protect Pell grants, and expand work-study programs.
Request a Fact Check
February 27, 2012
But it's not enough to just focus on student aid.  We can't just keep on, at the federal level, subsidizing skyrocketing tuition.  If tuition is going up faster than inflation -- faster, actually, than healthcare costs -- then no matter how much we subsidize it, sooner or later we are going to run out of money.  So everybody else is going to have to do their part as well.  This is not just a matter of the federal government coming up with more and more money.
Request a Fact Check
February 27, 2012
That means colleges and universities are going to have to help to make their tuition more affordable.  And I’ve put them on notice -- if they are not taking some concrete steps to prevent tuition from going up, then federal funding from taxpayers is going to go down.  We’ve got to incentivize better practices in terms of keeping costs under control.  And all of you have a role to play by making higher education a higher priority in your budgets.
Request a Fact Check
February 27, 2012
Over two-thirds of students attend public colleges and universities where, traditionally, tuition has been affordable because of state investments.  And that’s something that every state takes pride in.  That’s the crown jewel, in fact, of our economic system -- is, by far, we’ve got the best network of colleges, universities and community colleges in the world.
Request a Fact Check
February 27, 2012
But more than 40 states have cut funding for higher education over the past year.  And this is just the peak of what has been a long-term trend in reduced state support for higher education.  And state budget cuts have been among the largest factor in tuition hikes at public colleges over the past decade.
Request a Fact Check
February 27, 2012
Martin in Maryland is doing some outstanding work on this front.  He worked with the legislature to keep tuition down by controlling costs and cutting spending on college campuses, and you’re seeing a real impact -- from the flagship University of Maryland all the way down.  And a lot of you are starting to experiment with this as well.
Request a Fact Check
February 27, 2012
We can’t allow higher education to be a luxury in this country.  It’s an economic imperative that every family in America has to be able to afford.  And frankly, I don’t think any of this should be a partisan issue.  All of us should be about giving every American who wants a chance to succeed that chance. 
Request a Fact Check
March 30, 2012
Change is the fight that we won to have $60 billion stop going to banks and instead go to lower interest rates for student loans and more help on Pell grants, so that our young people can get the college education that they need to compete in the 21st century.    That’s what change is.
Request a Fact Check
March 30, 2012
Change is the fight we won to stop handing $60 billion in taxpayer giveaways to the banks who were processing student loans.  We decided let’s give those student loans directly to students -- which meant we could make college more affordable to young people who need it.  That’s what change is.  That happened because of you.
Request a Fact Check
March 30, 2012
I want to make our schools the envy of the world.    And by the way, that starts with the man or woman at the front of the classroom.    A good teacher -- a good teacher can increase the lifetime earnings of a classroom by over $250,000.  A great teacher can help a child trapped in poverty dream and then live beyond their circumstances.  So I don’t want folks in Washington to be bashing teachers.  I don’t want them to defend the status quo.  I want us to give schools the resources they need to hire good teachers, reward great teachers.    I want us to grant schools the flexibility to teach with creativity and passion, and stop teaching to the test, and replace teachers who aren’t helping kids learn.  That’s what I want to see happen. 
Request a Fact Check
March 30, 2012
And when kids do graduate, the most daunting challenge can be the cost of college.  When Americans owe more tuition debt than they do credit card debt, you know we’ve got a problem.  Now, the first thing we’ve got to do -- Congress has to stop interest rates that are currently scheduled to go up in July on student loans, which will be a huge problem for a lot of young people.  I’ve already asked Congress to do it.  They haven’t done it -- shocking enough -- they haven’t done it so far.    And colleges and universities have to do their part, too, to keep tuition from going up -- because higher education cannot be a luxury.  It is an economic imperative that every family in America should be able to afford. 
Request a Fact Check
March 30, 2012
Look, if somebody like me gets a tax break that they don’t  need and that the country can’t afford, then one of two things are going to happen -- either it adds to our deficit, or we’re taking something away from somebody else.  That student now has to pay a higher interest rate on their student loan because we’ve got to make up the money somewhere.  Or that senior has to start paying more for their Medicare because the money has to be made up somewhere.  Or that veteran doesn’t get the PTSD care that they needed after serving our country.  Or a family that’s struggling to get by maybe is getting less home heating oil assistance.
Request a Fact Check
March 30, 2012
So the task before us still looms large.  And the other side doesn’t have answers to these questions.  You don't see them debating how we improve our education system.  You don't see them engaging in any serious way about how we're going to retrain our workers.  There's not a conversation about how we restore manufacturing in this country.
Request a Fact Check
March 30, 2012
We said that we needed to help our students make sure that they can go to college, that they can afford it -- and we took $60 billion that was going to the banks to subsidize them managing the student loan program and now that money is going directly to students.  And millions of students are getting higher Pell grants, or eligible for the first time, and we're on track to make sure that college is a lot more affordable for young people so that they can compete in this 21st century economy.
Request a Fact Check
March 30, 2012
And what we’ve witnessed lately is a fundamentally different vision of America and who we are.  It’s an America that says -- or it’s a vision that says that America is about looking out for yourself, not for other people.  It’s an America that denies something like climate change, rejects it; that takes a position on immigration that would have been unthinkable in either party just a few years ago; that when it comes to figuring out how do we pay for the investments that we need to grow, basically says those of us who are doing best don’t have to do a thing and we will balance that budget on the backs of the poor and seniors, and at the expense of basic research and basic science and investments in clean energy and increasing the cost of student loans for students.
Request a Fact Check
March 30, 2012
So I don’t want to hear folks in Washington just bashing teachers.  I don’t want them defending the status quo.  Let’s give schools the resources they need to hire good teachers and reward great teachers.    Let’s give schools the flexibility they need to teach with creativity and passion.  We can stop teaching to the test.  Replace teachers who aren’t doing the job, but let’s give them the power they need to inspire their students. 
Request a Fact Check