President Barack Obama told the nation’s governors that both parties must get “past the old dogmas” about education to ensure future U.S. growth.
Obama urged the governors gathered at the White House today to avoid cutting resources for public education as they look for ways to trim budgets.
“No issue will have a bigger impact on the future preservation of our economy than education,” the president told the National Governors Association, which is holding its annual conference in Washington. “Too many states are making cuts to education that I believe are simply too big.”
As the recovery is gaining steam and U.S. manufacturers are adding jobs, Obama said states must ensure that all their citizens have the skills and education they need to keep the country competitive in the global economy.
The association’s meeting is being held against a backdrop of election-year politics focused on the economy. The jobless rate has fallen in 46 of the 50 states in December compared with a year ago, Labor Department figures show. Only in Illinois, Hawaii, North Carolina and Mississippi have rates worsened in the past year.
The job gains also have helped propel gains in the housing market, which has been a drag on the recovery. The National Association of Realtors reported its index of home resales climbed 2 percent in January, more than forecast.
The accelerating recovery has improved fiscal outlooks for states. For the past four years, U.S. states struggled to close more than $500 billion of budget shortfalls caused by the longest recession since the 1930s.
“I get a sense that most governors are feeling a little bit better,” Governor Dave Heineman, the Nebraska Republican who is chairman of the National Governors Association, said as he opened the group’s meeting Feb. 25.
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