STATEMENT: CAP’s Cynthia G. Brown on Education Proposals in President’s Jobs Speech

Cynthia G. Brown, Vice President for Education Policy at the Center for American Progress, issued the following statement regarding the president’s job plan:

Last night, the president unveiled a jobs plan that will help our economy and go a long way to ensuring that our students are ready for college and a career. To prepare students for the 21st century, we need 21st century schools. The president’s jobs plan calls for the modernization of 35,000 public schools and would address the deferred building and grounds maintenance in school districts across the country.

The president’s plan also calls for preventing the layoffs of 280,000 teachers, police, and firefighters. This is vital, given the sagging revenues at the state and local level. One recent study found that 48 percent of school districts cut teaching staff in 2011. This administration understands that we need to ensure that all students—regardless of family background—have access to effective teachers, and the president’s Race to the Top program has already helped spur some important reforms.

The American public appreciates that education is key to a healthy economy. In a January USA Today/Gallup poll, two-thirds of Americans opposed cuts to education—more than opposed cuts to any other area including Social Security, Medicare, and national defense.

We applaud the president’s speech. Now it is time for Congress to take action.