President Obama Delivers Remarks on Education

CQ Transcriptions
Friday, July 24, 2009; 1:42 PM


[*] OBAMA: Thank you for the outstanding introduction from Matthew. And Matthew's teacher, you're doing obviously an outstanding job -- although I understand Matthew's mom is also a teacher who has also won awards for her outstanding work. So the acorn doesn't fall far from the tree. We are very proud of him.

Obviously I want to thank my wonderful Secretary of Education, Arne Duncan, who has helped to lead us. (Applause.) I want to thank all the members of Congress who are here, the governors who are in attendance. And I want to give a special shout out to Chairman George Miller of the Education Committee in the House, who has just been a outstanding partner for reform. Please give him a big round of applause. (Applause.)

You know, from the moment I entered office, my administration has worked to beat back this recession by creating jobs, unfreezing credit markets, extending unemployment insurance and health benefits to Americans who are out of work. But even as we've worked to end this immediate crisis, we've also taken some historic measures to build a new foundation for growth and prosperity that can help secure our economic future for generations to come.

One pillar of this new foundation is health insurance reform that can control deficits, and reduce costs for families and businesses, provide quality affordable care for every American. Another pillar is energy reform that makes clean energy profitable, that creates green jobs that can't be outsourced, and frees America from the grip of foreign oil. We're also working to enact financial reforms that will set up firm rules of the road to help prevent an economic crisis like the one we've just gone through from ever happening again.

But even if we do all of those things, America will not succeed in the 21st century unless we do a far better job of educating our sons and daughters, unless every child is performing the way Matthew is performing. In an economy where knowledge is the most valuable commodity a person and a country have to offer, the best jobs will go to the best educated -- whether they live in the United States or India or China. In a world where countries that out-educate us today will out-compete us tomorrow, the future belongs to the nation that best educates its people. Period. We know this.

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