President-elect Barack Obama delivered a major speech today to urge “dramatic action” to jump-start the economy.
In addition to highlighting his plans to use an estimated $775 billion in federal stimulus money to expand Internet broadband, computerize medical records, and double the production of alternative energy, Obama is pledging to use part of the money (it’s unclear how much) to modernize school classrooms, labs, and libraries—and to modernize teacher training. This is music to the ears of education groups.
“To give our children the chance to live out their dreams in a world that’s never been more competitive, we will equip tens of thousands of schools, community colleges, and public universities with 21st century classrooms, labs, and libraries,” Obama said in the speech at George Mason University in Fairfax, Va. “We’ll provide new computers, new technology, and new training for teachers so that students in Chicago and Boston can compete with children in Beijing for the high-tech, high-wage jobs of the future.”
In addition, Obama indicated that his overall stimulus package will help education in another way—by helping states deal with growing budget deficits that are leading to big cuts in K-12 education.
“Our plan will save the jobs of teachers, cops, and firefighters,” he said.