Tag Archives: education

Remarks by the President on the 50th Anniversary of the Equal Pay Act, 6/10/13

“Over the course of her career, a working woman with a college degree will earn on average hundreds of thousands of dollars less than a man who does the same work. Now, that’s wrong. I don’t want that for Malia and Sasha. I don’t want that for your daughters. I don’t want that to be an example that any child growing up ends up accepting as somehow the norm. I want every child to grow up knowing that a woman’s hard work is valued and rewarded just as much as any man’s.

Now, what’s important to realize also, though, is this is not just an issue of fairness. This is a family issue. This is a middle-class issue. This is an economic issue. Just last week, a report confirmed what we already know: that women are increasingly the breadwinners for American families. Women are now the primary source of income for nearly 40 percent of American families. Forty percent — almost half.

That’s not something to panic about, or to be afraid about -– that’s a sign of the progress and the strides that we’ve made. But what it does mean is that when more women are bringing home the bacon, they shouldn’t just be getting a little bit of bacon. (Laughter.) If they’re bringing home more of the income and that income is less than a fair share, that means that families have less to get by on for childcare or health care, or gas or groceries. It makes it harder for middle-class families to save and retire. It leaves small businesses with customers who have less money in their pockets — which is not good for the economy. That’s not a good example to set for our sons and daughters, but it’s also not a good recipe for long-term, stable economic growth.

So to anyone who says 77 cents on the dollar sounds pretty close to equal, I say, your math is bad….

That’s why, as Valerie mentioned, I created the first-ever White House Council on Women and Girls, which is working to close that gap….

It’s why I established a National Equal Pay Task Force to help crack down on violations of equal pay laws, which, by the way, they’re doing at a record rate. And, through education and outreach, they’re also helping employers develop tools to comply with the nation’s equal pay laws on their own. And that’s why, earlier this year, I signed a presidential memorandum directing the federal government to close that gap for good for its employees. (Applause.) We have to set an example.

It’s also why we’re using the latest technology to help workers get the information they need to figure out if they’re underpaid….

Now is the time for Congress to step up and pass the Paycheck Fairness Act so women have better tools to fight for equal pay for equal work. (Applause.)

Now is the time for us to encourage more young women to pursue math and science education. Now is the time for us to hire more STEM teachers so all our children are prepared for the high-tech, high-wage jobs of tomorrow.

Now is the time to make sure businesses offer men and women the flexibility to be good employees and good parents. And I really want to commend Deloitte and SumAll, and the CEOs who are with us here today, they are creating exactly the kinds of innovative workplaces that help hard-working Americans thrive, and they’re committed to pay equity. And so when you have a chance to talk to Joe, say thank you. And the CEOs who are out there, if you want a first-class company that is tapping into the talents and resources of all your employees, make sure that you’re putting in place systems so that they all feel like they’re being treated fairly and equally. It’s a simple principle and it’s a powerful one.

And now is the time to make sure that we are putting in place a minimum wage that you can live on — (applause) — because 60 percent of those making the minimum wage are women.

If we do all this — and this will be part of our broader agenda to create good jobs and to strengthen middle-class security, to keep rebuilding an economy that works for everybody, that gives every American the chance to get ahead, no matter who you are or what you look like, or what your last name is and who you love.”

Full text: http://1.usa.gov/19hFmS1

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Call your member of Congress: Remarks by the President on College Affordability, 5/31/13

“The good news is, today, our businesses have created nearly 7 million new jobs over the past 38 months. 500,000 of those jobs are in manufacturing. We’re producing more of our own energy, we’re consuming less energy, and we’re importing less from other countries. The housing market is coming back. The stock market has rebounded. Our deficits are shrinking at the fastest pace in 50 years. People’s retirement savings are growing again. The rise of health care costs are slowing. The American auto industry is back.

So we’re seeing progress, and the economy is starting to pick up steam. The gears are starting to turn again, and we’re getting some traction. But the thing is, the way we measure our progress as a country is not just where the stock market is; it’s not just to how well the folks at the top are doing; it’s not just about the aggregate economic numbers. It’s about how much progress ordinary families are making. Are we creating ladders of opportunity for everybody who’s willing to work hard? Are we creating not only a growing economy, but also the engine that is critical to long-lasting, sustained economic growth — and that is a rising, thriving middle class. That’s our focus. That’s what we’ve got to be concerned about every single day. That’s our North Star.

And that means there are three questions we have to ask ourselves as a nation. Number one: How do we make America a magnet for good jobs in this competitive 21st century economy? Number two: How do we make sure that our workers earn the skills and education they need to do those jobs? And number three: How do we make sure those jobs actually pay a decent wage or salary, so that people can save for retirement, send their kids to college?

Those are the questions we’ve got to be asking ourselves every single day. So we’re here today to talk about that second question. How do we make sure our workers earn the skills and education they need to do the jobs that companies are hiring for right now, and are going to keep hiring for in the future? We know that the surest path to the middle class is some form of higher education — a four-year degree, a community college degree, an advanced degree. You’re going to need more than just a high school education to succeed in this economy….

Now, the good news is over the past four years, my administration has done a lot to address this. Working with members of Congress, we’ve expanded student aid. We’ve reformed the student loan system. We’ve saved tens of billions of taxpayer dollars that were just going to big banks, and made sure that the money went to helping more young people afford college.

We made it easier to pay back those loans by passing a law that says you’ll only have to pay 10 percent of your monthly income towards your student — federal student loans once you graduate. This is important to emphasize, by the way, because a lot of your peers, a lot of young people don’t know this. Under existing law that we passed, you never have to pay more than 10 percent of your income in paying back your federal student loans, which means if you want to be a teacher, you want to go into a profession that does not pay a lot of money but gives you a lot of satisfaction, you are still capable of doing that and supporting yourself.

We unveiled a new college scorecard that gives parents and students the clear, concise information that you need to shop around for a school with the best value for you. And I’ve made it clear that those colleges that don’t do enough to keep college costs down should get less taxpayer support.

So we’re doing what we can, but here’s the thing: If Congress doesn’t act by July 1st, federal student loan rates are set to double. And that means that the average student with those loans will rack up an additional $1,000 in debt. That’s like a $1,000 tax hike. I assume most of you cannot afford that. Anybody here can afford that? No.

Now, if this sounds like déjà vu all over again, that’s because it is. We went through this last summer. Some of you were here. It wasn’t as hot. (Laughter.) I don’t think we did this event outside. (Laughter.) But we went through this. And eventually, Congress listened to all the parents and young people who said “don’t double my rate.” And because folks made their voices heard, Congress acted to keep interest rates low. But they only did it for a year and that year is almost up.

So the test here is simple. We’ve got to make sure that federal student loan rates don’t double on July 1st. Now, the House of Representatives has already passed a student loan bill, and I’m glad that they took action. But unfortunately, their bill does not meet that test. It fails to lock in low rates for students next year. That’s not smart. It eliminates safeguards for lower-income families. That’s not fair. It could actually cost a freshman starting school this fall more over the next four years than if we did nothing at all and let the interest rates double on July 1st.

So the House bill isn’t smart and it’s not fair. I’m glad the House is paying attention to it, but they didn’t do it in the right way. So I’m asking young people to get involved and make your voices heard once again. Last year, you convinced 186 Republicans in the House and 24 Republicans in the Senate to work with Democrats to keep student loan rates low. You made something bipartisan happen in this town that is — that’s a powerful thing. You guys were able to get Democrats and Republicans to vote for something that was important.

So this year, if it looks like your representatives have changed their minds, you’re going to have to call them up again or email them again or Tweet them again and ask them what happened, what changed? You’re still taking out these loans. You’re still facing challenges.

Remind them that we’re a people who help one another earn an education, because it benefits all of us. During the Civil War, Lincoln had the foresight to set up a system of land grant colleges. At the end of World War II, we set up the GI Bill so that people like my grandfather could come back from a war and get an education. All these things created the greatest middle class on Earth.”

Full text: http://1.usa.gov/12m8eXP

West Wing Week: 05/24/13 or “Justice for Everybody”

This week, the President continued his Jobs and Opportunity tour, this time highlighting bold new efforts in education and manufacturing in Baltimore, gave the commencement address at Morehouse College, invited the President of Myanmar, eight immigration reform advocates and DREAMers themselves, and Gershwin Prize winner Carole King and friends to the White House and delivered a major counter-terrorism speech at the National Defense University.

President Obama on the sequester: The GOP’s meat-cleaver approach will hurt America

On March 14, 2013, an array of severe, across-the-board spending cuts will automatically take place unless Congress acts to prevent it. Congressional Republicans have adamantly refused to consider closing tax loopholes enjoyed only by the wealthiest minority of Americans, insisting that deficit reduction must be accomplished through slashing funds for national defense, police and firefighters, health care, programs for children and seniors, and other cuts that will cause hundreds of thousands of Americans to lose their jobs. Today, Feb. 19, the President called on Congress to find a balanced compromise while there’s still time.

The President: Now, if Congress allows this meat-cleaver approach to take place, it will jeopardize our military readiness; it will eviscerate job-creating investments in education and energy and medical research. It won’t consider whether we’re cutting some bloated program that has outlived its usefulness, or a vital service that Americans depend on every single day. It doesn’t make those distinctions.

Emergency responders like the ones who are here today — their ability to help communities respond to and recover from disasters will be degraded. Border Patrol agents will see their hours reduced. FBI agents will be furloughed. Federal prosecutors will have to close cases and let criminals go. Air traffic controllers and airport security will see cutbacks, which means more delays at airports across the country.

Thousands of teachers and educators will be laid off. Tens of thousands of parents will have to scramble to find childcare for their kids. Hundreds of thousands of Americans will lose access to primary care and preventive care like flu vaccinations and cancer screenings.

And already, the threat of these cuts has forced the Navy to delay an aircraft carrier that was supposed to deploy to the Persian Gulf. And as our military leaders have made clear, changes like this — not well thought through, not phased in properly — changes like this affect our ability to respond to threats in unstable parts of the world.

So these cuts are not smart. They are not fair. They will hurt our economy. They will add hundreds of thousands of Americans to the unemployment rolls. This is not an abstraction — people will lose their jobs.…

So I need everybody who’s watching today to understand we’ve got a few days. Congress can do the right thing. We can avert just one more Washington-manufactured problem that slows our recovery, and bring down our deficits in a balanced, responsible way. That’s my goal. That’s what would do right by these first responders. That’s what would do right by America’s middle class. That’s what I’m going to be working on and fighting for not just over the next few weeks, but over the next few years.

Full text of the President’s remarks: http://1.usa.gov/XrRQOV

White House Video Roundup, Part 1

West Wing Week: 02/15/13 or “You’re a Hero

This week, the President delivered the first State of the Union address of his second term, and then brought his proposals to factories in North Carolina and a school in Georgia, presided over a Medal of Honor ceremony, honored the outgoing Secretary of Defense and hung out on Google Plus.

President Obama participates in a fireside hangout on Google+

President Obama answers questions during a virtual interview with Google+ and Americans from around the country to discuss his State of the Union Address. February 14, 2013.

President Obama in Decatur, Georgia, speaking on early childhood education

…I don’t think you’ll find a working parent in America who wouldn’t appreciate the peace of mind that their child is in a safe, high-quality learning environment every single day…. The size of your paycheck, though, shouldn’t determine your child’s future. So let’s fix this. Let’s make sure none of our kids start out the race of life already a step behind. Let’s make it a national priority to give every child access to a high-quality early education….

Now, in the end, that’s what this is all about — giving our kids the best possible shot at life; equipping them with the skills, education that a 21st century economy demands; giving them every chance to go as far as their hard work and God-given potential will take them.

Because if their generation prospers, if they’ve got the skills they need to get a good job, that means businesses want to locate here. And it also means, by the way, they’re well-equipped as citizens with the critical thinking skills that they need in order to help guide our democracy. We’ll all prosper that way. That’s what we’re fighting for. They’re the ones who are going to write that next great chapter in the American story, and we’ve got to make sure that we’re providing that investment. http://1.usa.gov/12lEHMp

President Obama Speaks on the Economy in Asheville, North Carolina

And as I said [in the State of the Union Address], we should be asking ourselves three questions every single day. It doesn’t matter whether you’re in North Carolina or Texas or California or Oregon. It doesn’t matter. Wherever we are, three things we should be asking. Number one — how do we bring more jobs to America? Number two — how do we equip people with the skills they need to do those jobs? And number three — how do we make sure that once they have a job, it leads to a decent living?

I believe we reward effort and determination with wages that allow working families to raise their kids and get ahead. And that’s part of the reason why I said last night that it’s time for an increase in the minimum wage, because if you work full-time, you shouldn’t be in poverty.

I also believe we provide our people skills and training by investing in education, and that has to start early. It has to start early. So I talked about making sure that kids are getting an early childhood education, making sure that our high schools are preparing our children for a high-tech economy, and making sure that colleges are affordable and accessible to every single American. And I believe we attract new jobs to America by investing in new sources of energy and new infrastructure and the next generation of high-wage, high-tech American manufacturing. I believe in manufacturing. I think it makes our country stronger. http://1.usa.gov/VUYcUO