President Barack Obama today challenged governors, including Washington's Christine Gregoire, to invest in education.
In a speech this morning to the National Governors Association, the President asked governors from across the country to do their part to ensure students and workers have the education and training they need so that the country has a workforce that is prepared and competitive.
"Nothing more clearly signals what you value as a state as the decisions you make about where to invest," Obama told governors. "Budgets are about choices, so today I'm calling on you to choose to invest more in teachers, invest more in education and invest more in our children and their future."
Coinciding with the President's comments, the White House today released a report, "Education Blueprint: An Economy Built to Last."
Included in the report are statistics showing that Washington was one of 40 states that cut higher education spending in the last biennium which the administration identifies as the largest factor in tuition increases at public colleges. Washington is also one of 37 states that cut funding to k-12 education. According to the Office of Superintendent of Public Instruction, those cuts totaled more than $1.1 billion last year alone.
According to a report from the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities cited by the White House, state education cuts are counteracting and sometimes undermining reform initiatives such as efforts to improve teacher quality, improve interventions for youngsters aimed at improving school readiness and turning around the lowest achieving schools.
The President also urged governors to find ways to re-hire teachers who have lost their jobs over the past two years.