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Obama calls for funds to stop teacher layoffs as student-to-teacher ratios rise

Category : Business

A White House report finds 300,000 teaching positions have been lost since 2009, sending student-to-teacher ratios up 4.6%

President Barack Obama has called on Congress to release billions of dollars in funds to counter the damaging impact of teacher layoffs on America’s education system.

A report released Saturday by the White House found that more than 300,000 teaching positions had been lost since the end of the recession in 2009, resulting in a 4.6% bump in student-to-teacher ratios.

In his weekly address, Obama struck out at obstructionists in Congress for blocking provisions that would support states in preventing further job cuts and help them rehire out-of-work teachers.

He also took a swipe at Republicans for putting forward a budget that he claimed would further impact teacher numbers.

The president said the financial blueprint put forward by his opponents would lead to “fewer teachers in the classroom, and fewer college students with access to financial aid, all to pay for a massive new tax cut for millionaires and billionaires”.

“That’s backwards, that’s wrong. That plan doesn’t invest in our future, it undercuts our future.”

The White House claimed that the proposed Republican budget could strip close to $3bn from education grants.

They contrast this with the president’s job plan that was put forward a year ago, but has only been passed in part.

That employment blueprint includes provisions for some $25bn in educational aid. The money is needed, the administration says, to prevent further teacher layoffs.

According to the report released Saturday, average class sizes have climbed as a result of an uptick in student-to-teacher rations from a low of 15.3 to one in 2008 to 16 to one in 2010.

“If we want America to lead in the 21st century, nothing is more important than giving everyone the best education possible – from the day they start preschool to the day they start their career,” Obama said in his radio address.

Meanwhile, in the weekly Republican address, House representative Vicky Hartzler attacked Democrats for failing to restore disaster programmes for farmers in the mid-west suffering from the worst drought in a generation.

The upper house refused to carry the legislation before breaking for the summer, citing that Republicans in the House had stripped from the bill provisions related to the extension of food stamps.

“A lot was riding on this bill, but the Senate – a body controlled by the president’s party – left Washington for the month of August without bringing it to a vote,” the Missouri politician said.

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