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January 26, 2011—President Barack Obama called for continued investment in innovation, including education, research and technology, a five-year freeze on discretionary federal spending and cuts in defense spending during the State of the Union address.
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Citing the technological and economic forces that have reshaped the nation’s workplace and global economy, President Obama declared: “The future is ours to win. But to get there we can’t just stand still.”
The President went on to discuss the nation’s reaction to the Soviet Union’s reaching space first with the launch of the Sputnik satellite. He said neither the science nor NASA existed.
"But after investing in better research and education, we didn’t just surpass the Soviets, we unleashed a wave of innovation that created new industries and millions of jobs," the President said. "This is our generation’s Sputnik moment."
The President said the Administration’s budget proposal, due in a few weeks, will invest in biomedical research, information technology, and clean-energy technology.
"Maintaining our leadership in research and technology is crucial to America’s success. But if we want to win the future-if we want innovation to produce jobs in America and not overseas—then we also have win the race to educate our kids."
The President discussed the shared responsibility between parents and teachers to ensure children succeed in school. He referred to the Administration’s Race to the Top program the “most meaningful reform of our public schools in a generation.”
The President also called for rewarding good teachers and to stop making excuses for bad teachers. He also called for young people to consider a career in education.
"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 mathematics," the President said.
A۰P۰L۰U ’s Science and Mathematics Teacher Imperative is already at work on this challenge with more than 120 public universities striving to produce a larger, more qualified and more diverse science and mathematics teacher workforce.
The President also repeated the goal of restoring the nation’s top ranking in the world for the highest proportion of students with a college degree.
"To compete, higher education must be within reach of every American," the President said. "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 years of college."
The President also called for a bipartisan approach to immigration reform, citing the “hundreds of thousands of students excelling in our schools who are not American citizens.” He argued that it makes no sense to educate students brought here illegally by their parents or who come from abroad to earned an undergraduate or graduate degree and then to “send them back home to compete against us.”
He urged Congress to “agree to stop expelling talented, responsible young people who can staff our research labs, start new businesses, and further enrich this nation.”
A۰P۰L۰U President Peter McPherson endorsed the President’s call of fiscal restraint and further investment in education and research. “The State of the Union speech must be about the present and the future. The present demands steps to deal with the deficit and the future requires some investments. We support deficit reductions and we applaud the President for his support of investments in research and education.”
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