President Obama: 'Teachers Matter'

In his weekly address, the president discusses education funding in America.
3:00 | 08/18/12

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Transcript for President Obama: 'Teachers Matter'
-- everybody. This week I spent some time traveling across Iowa talking with folks about rebuilding an economy where if you work hard you and your family can get it. Along the way I stopped in -- cascade high school to thank the teachers there for doing such a great job. And -- -- -- they have backed -- classroom for the school year. There's nothing more important to our country's future -- the education we give markets. And there's no one more important to better education -- the person in front of the classroom. Teachers -- Most worked tirelessly with modest pay sometimes digging into their own pocket for school supplies just to make a difference. He gave everything for our camps in return we should invest in them. But here's the thing. This year several thousand fewer educators will be going back to school. Since 2000 mind we've lost more than 300000. Education jobs in part because of budget cuts of the state and local level. Think about what that means for our country. At a time when the rest the world is racing to out educate America. These cuts force our kids in the crowd classrooms. Cancel programs for preschoolers and kindergartners. And shorten the school week in the school year. That's the opposite what we should be doing as country. State should be making education a priority in their budgets even tough fiscal times and congress should be willing to help out. Because this affects all -- That's what part of the jobs bill that I sent to congress last September included support for states to prevent further layoffs and to rehire teachers who lost their jobs. But here we are a year later -- tens of thousands more educators laid off in congress still hasn't done anything about it. In fact the economic plan but almost every Republican in congress voted for would make the situation even worse. -- would actually cut funding for education which means fewer -- head start fewer teachers and our classrooms. And fewer college students with access to financially. All the pay for massive new tax cut for millionaires and billionaires. That's backwards. That's fall. Had planned as an -- future undercuts our future. If we want America to lead in the 21 century nothing is more important than giving everyone the best education possible from the day they start preschool to the baby start -- career. That's why we launched a national competition to improve our schools. And for less than 1% of what our nation spends on education each year we've encouraged almost every state to raise their standards. The first time that's happened in a generation. That's why we've invested math and science education and given states more flexibility on No Child Left Behind. And that's why we performed the student loan program to put students before big things. And increased financial aid for millions of young people because in America higher education can't be election. It's an economics necessity. Every family should be able to a fort. This is a country where no matter what you look like where you come from if you're willing to study and work hard you can go as far as your talents will take. You can make it if you try. I -- only the president of the United States today because -- chance my education gave me. And I want every child in America had that same chance. -- -- fighting for as long as I have the privilege of being your president that's what I'm gonna keep fighting for. Thanks and have a great weekend.

This transcript has been automatically generated and may not be 100% accurate.

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