Obama's Weekly Address: Keeping Teachers on the Job

VIDEO: The president urges Congress to help get teachers back in the classroom.

Carolyn Kaster/AP Photo

President Obama is urging lawmakers to help financially strapped states put teachers back to work, arguing that "when states struggle, it's up to Congress to step in and help out."

"Nationwide, over the past three years, school districts have lost over 250,000 educators. Think about what that means for our country," Obama asked in his weekly address. "When there are fewer teachers in our schools, class sizes start climbing up. Our students start falling behind. And our economy takes a hit."

When it comes to growing the economy, "teachers matters," Obama said. "One study found that a good teacher can increase the lifetime income of a classroom by over $250,000. A great teacher can change the course of a child's life. So the last thing our country needs is to have fewer teachers in our schools."

Obama acknowledged that "every governor is dealing with limited resources and many face stark choices when it comes to their budgets" but said "that doesn't mean we should just stand by and do nothing. When states struggle, it's up to Congress to step in and help out."

Just as he did at his Friday press conference, Obama called on lawmakers to act on his jobs bill to help states prevent more layoffs and rehire more teachers.

"When it comes to this recovery, we can't fully control everything that happens in other parts of the world," he said, referring to the European debt crisis. "But there are plenty of things we can control. There are plenty of steps we can take, right now, to strengthen our economy. Putting teachers back in our kids' classrooms is one of those steps. And there's no excuse for inaction."

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