President Obama: When an Opportunity Exists for Young People, 'I Will Act'

U.S. President discusses ConnectED initiative that provides "real world educational experiences."
3:00 | 02/04/14

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Transcript for President Obama: When an Opportunity Exists for Young People, 'I Will Act'
You have -- from the big round of applause. Thanks. Health just told me backstage he plans beyond plans on being an ABC so. I was really nice to -- -- don't mess with me later. We are very -- him brought all the students who are here today. A lot of -- principal Richardson. Thank all the wonderful teachers who are here but flood middle school -- vikings. I brought along some people who very much care about the future of these young people. We've got American secretary of education Arnie Duncan in the house. We've got the FCC chairman Tom Wheeler and two of -- fellow commissioners. Who are here doing great work. My husband's -- lawyers in the house. -- county executive Russia -- Baker is there. And we've got some business leaders have made some very big commitments today because. And they know. Your education. Is the very best investment that all of us can make him out. -- last week in my State of the Union Address I spent some time talking about opportunity for everybody. Which is at the heart. Of this country the idea that no matter who you are no matter what you look like if you have a -- feel free to sit down. They'll -- actually my line. But -- at the core of America. -- but what makes us exceptional is this idea. No matter what you look like where you come from what your last name is. If -- want to work hard. If you want to live up to your responsibilities you can make it. Here in America. But each generation has to work hard to make sure that dream of opportunities stays alive for the next generation. And the opportunity agenda that I laid out last week will help us do that it's focused on border -- number one more new jobs. Number true training folks with the skills to fill those jobs. Number three making sure our economy rewards hard work -- decent wages and economic security. -- number for the -- I'm here to talk about today. Guaranteeing. Every child access to a world class education. Every child not just some but everybody. Now. I'm only -- here today because my education gave me a chance -- I'm not so different than a lot of these young people. I was raised by single mom. With the help my grandma my -- -- We didn't have a lot of money. And for a while my mother was working. And going to school of the same time issues raised a couple of kids and there were times were times were -- But within a family who loved me. And what some are work on my part. Although wasn't always consistent. As my mother and my grandparents were would point out. And then ultimately with the help of scholarships. And student loans. I was able to go to college. I was able to go to law school. And an entire worlds of opportunity opened up to me. That. Might not otherwise have been available. So the country -- vested in me. My parents and -- -- -- and that's me. But my country invested in -- I want. Americans are now investing you. Because. In in the faces of these students. These -- future doctors and lawyers and engineers. Scientists. Business leaders. We don't know what kinds. Products services. Good work that any of these want any of these students may do. But I'm betting on them. And all of us have to bet on the so five years ago we set out to change the odds on all of our all markets. All -- to the top challenge. -- helped raise expectations and performance. In states all across the country. Our high school graduation rate is the highest but it's been in more than thirty years. -- -- -- -- The dropout rate among but they -- students has been cut in half since 2000. We reform -- student loan programs. So that more young people are able to afford to go to college and now we've got. More young people earning a college degree than ever before. Teachers and principals across the country are working hard to prepare. Students like -- with the skills you need for new economy. Not just the basics. Reading writing and arithmetic but skills like science and technology. Engineering. Critical thinking. Creativity. Asking what do you think about that idea and how would you do things differently. Now. We still have more work to do to reach more kids and reach the vast. And some of the ideas that I present it will require congress to act. But while congress decides what is going to do. I said that the savior and I want to repeat here today -- will act on my own wherever I have the opportunity to expand. Opportunity for more young people. Wherever I have a chance to make a difference in their lives. -- -- -- All in this -- of action we're gonna work with states and communities to help them make high quality pre K available to more young children we know. We want to keep working to partner. High schools with colleges. And employers. -- a real world education experiences that can lead directly to jobs and careers. And we wanna do more make sure no middle class gets priced out of a college education. And obviously no orchid is priced out of a college education. That's gotta be a priority. But today we're here to announce some big strides that we're making to put the world. And outer space. And every child's finger tips. Whether they live in a big city or -- quiet suburb or in rural America. Last year I launched something called connect dead. A new initiative to close the technology gap in our schools. And connect 99%. Of America's students to higher speed broadband Internet within five years. This is something we can do without waiting for congress. We do need some help -- So we picked up -- phone and we started asking some outstanding business leaders to help. Bring our schools and libraries. Into the -- first century. Today banks took leadership of some of these companies. We've got some big announcements to make but but first I want to know why it matters that we make sure technologies available to every child. Technology is not gotten the entire answer by the way when it comes educational excellence we got to make sure we've got outstanding teachers. We've got to make sure that parents. We need. Young people to make the effort and have high expectations for themselves. But technology can help it's a tool that's just one more -- So today the average school has about the same Internet bandwidth. As the average American home. But it serves 200 times as many people. I think about it so you got the same. -- bandwidth but it's a school that's not your house. Only around 30% of our students have true high speed Internet in the classroom. In countries like South Korea that's a 100%. Now we shouldn't give back at a competitive -- advantage over to other countries we want to make sure our young people. -- the same advantages this some child in South Korea has right now. In a country where we expect free Wi-Fi -- our coffee we should definitely demanded an arsenal. I -- -- you are showing how we can use technology to teach our young people in innovative ways and and by the way the principal told me that. Part of how this got started was some of the stimulus dollars that we put. In place. Almost five years ago. But every student here has access to their own right there. And you don't just write papers -- take tests their animated movies. They're designing blogs they're collaborating on multi media projects. In the world of an eighth grader. Any Gomez she says you can learn even more you can take -- more and then you know more about the world. And new technologies are helping teachers. So mr. Jeter science class students take quizzes on their tablets. He -- -- can check the answers in real time. And he can figure out who needs extra help. In this -- in its language arts class. Students learn vocabulary. Not just with flash cards but -- online video. And missed -- math class I was just over what missile. -- spring and -- they're tablets home to watch lectures by concepts like ratios -- Rational numbers men use the next -- classroom time applying those concepts to the real world. So technology allows teachers here to spend more time being creative. Less time teaching to the test. Giving continual feedback. Being able to pinpoint where a young persons having trouble because they're able to see their work right away -- pretty efficient way. And I will say it. Well I was just a classroom that there was. A lesson plan. That was organized around. The curiosity rover on Mars. And then these the young people there were -- -- some amazing stuff making their own iBooks. -- Video and multi media. I was as -- -- out of trying to stay -- about I remember using glue sticks. Scissors -- cut stuff out. They don't look very good. He's got red bumps you -- -- I did it makes. Learning exciting and makes -- interest if you're studying science and you are actually. Seeing the engineers who who built rover talk about what -- -- that -- the curiosity rover talking about what they're going. And how they did it. And and being able to to see. The rover. On the on -- martian landscape. It makes vivid and real. Math and science and aware that. Is more interesting the students. Which means that there -- more likely to be engaged and can potentially do better and this is how it should be for every student and every teacher and every school and library in the -- That's option -- forever by the -- Today almost eight months after we launched connect. We can announce some very big commitments they're gonna. Go a long way towards realizing. That vision where every child has the access to the technology that they can use. To help them -- So under Tom -- leadership the FCC is announcing. A down payment of two billion dollars to connect more than 151000. Schools. And twenty million students to high speed broadband over the next two years. This -- One million. -- won't require a single piece of legislation from congress. It won't -- a single dime to the deficit. And even better. Some of America's biggest tech companies. Had decided to join us up. With commitments -- -- We're more than three quarters of a billion dollars. So let me just give -- some examples apple. Will donate a hundred million dollars worth of my -- Mac books and other products to schools across. Spread we'll provide free wireless service for up to 50000. Low income high school students over the next four years so there. 40%. Fredricka the private life. AT&T will donate over a hundred million dollars worth -- the service to middle school students to make him continued to. Do homework when they get home. -- -- won't make its 3-D design software available for free to every high school in the country. Microsoft will offer products like windows to students and teachers at a deep discount and provide twelve million free copies of office. To our schools. O'Reilly media and safari books online will donate more than a hundred million dollars worth of ebooks -- will help student learn. Technology skills like -- and web design. -- Finally because no technology will ever be as important as a great teacher. Verizon will expand a program to help train educators to use all these new tools -- all fifty states. It all the -- -- -- -- today for stepping up punches than. In the -- around the -- We're very proud of tell -- thank you. There is an extraordinary commitment by the -- business leaders but don't look -- -- -- -- They -- not just doing it out of the goodness of their -- they want the country do well but they also understand. They want. Educated customers. They want customers more able to get good jobs were going to be using these tools in the future. They want that next young architect coming out angered -- be familiar where -- that I pass they're designing buildings. And and using their products. They know that the entire economy will be lifted if more of our young people. Are doing better. So they're doing good. But also help them succeed. From bottom line perspective. By this kind of participation. They are united. In their support of young people like you even -- sometimes they compete against each other. Because all of us have a stake in your education and your future. And that's why we have to build on this progress together. Later later this year I'm gonna ask congress to do its part. And give teachers using cutting edge technologies the training they deserved. Because it's important. But settled for. -- technology is not a silver bullet it's only as good as the teachers who were there. Using it as one more tool to help inspire. And teach and work through problems and although I've noticed that these -- -- the school's most teachers are much younger than I am. About getting on -- years obviously. Which means that I'm not always is familiar with the -- Technology is I need to be. We want every teacher in every school -- understand. From soup to nuts. How you can potentially use this technology -- that oftentimes requires. A training component. That make sure that the technology is not certain that what is actually used incorporated. In the best way possible. -- ask every business leader. Across America to join us in this ask yourself what you can do. To help us connect our students two point percent. Ask yourself what you're good news for teachers and our parents. And give every young people every shot success. We can make does that. And it just imagine what all mean for our country when we do imagine what it could mean for a girl growing up on a farm. Bill we'll take AP by Alger -- physics even -- for school is too small to offer. Because she's got access technology allows her to take those classes on life. Imagine what it means for a boy within elements that combines them sometimes to home. Where he can join his classmates. For every lesson would face -- Skype. Imagine what it means for educators to spend less time -- tests and papers more time helping young people learn. Imagine more businesses starting here and hiring here because they've all brought fact. That young people here are going to be equipped with the skills that are better than. Anybody else on -- That's the future we're building that's what these companies are investing. And if America pulls together now. If we do our part to make sure every young person can go as far as their passion their hard work we'll check whether it's to -- -- The bottom of the ocean -- Anywhere. On this planet where you've got an Internet connection. If we commit ourselves to restoring an opportunity for everybody. And we can give the American dream alive for generations to come. That's our main project that's our main obligation. That's why red rose that's run going to be working on for the next three years thank you for all the work -- you're going here have felt. Got got got got.

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

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