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Obama Emphasizes Education as National Priority

Outlines Economic Impact of McCain’s Poor Policies

WASHINGTON - August 03, 2008 -

Addressing attendees at the 98th annual National Urban League Conference in Orlando, Fla., presumptive Democratic presidential candidate Sen. Barack Obama set the record straight on where he stands versus John McCain in regard to education and the country’s economic future.

The following can be attributed to NEA President Reg Weaver:

"We finally have an opportunity for leadership that is more concerned about fixing problems than just ignoring them. Sen. Barack Obama's proposed education and economic policies are exactly what we need to begin fixing and improving our public schools. Sen. Obama clearly understands that it's time for policies that reflect the fundamental truth that we rise or fall as one nation.

He recognizes that if our country is going to recover from the economic and social challenges we currently face, we have got to invest in the education of our students. McCain chooses to deny our children early childhood programs, hinders the hiring of quality teachers, and has voted to make the prospect of college affordability all but a memory.

"McCain also continues to embrace the tired old rhetoric on vouchers. McCain's education plan will only further damage our public schools by starving them of much-needed funding. It won’t provide public school students with what they really need—up-to-date textbooks and computers, a qualified, caring teacher in the classroom, smaller class sizes, and parental and community involvement—and the money to make it happen. Sen. Obama opposes using public money for private school vouchers.

And as Sen. Obama said so well, 'we need to focus on fixing and improving our public schools; not throwing our hands up and walking away from them.'

"If you want to make public schools great, ask a teacher. Sen. Obama has listened and responded to the nation's educators by putting forth a plan that answers the needs of students and their teachers. Obama is committed to transforming public education so that all students can reach their full potential; and he is committed to fully funding necessary programs that will help students succeed. "

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The National Education Association is the nation's largest professional employee organization, representing 3.2 million elementary and secondary teachers, higher education faculty, education support professionals, school administrators, retired educators and students preparing to become teachers

Contact: Brian Washington (202) 822-7823