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Obama: Country must address education if we are to compete in a global economy

NASHVILLE, Tenn - October 07, 2008 -

The United States must focus on education if we are to continue competing in a global economy, said Sen. Barack Obama at Tuesday's presidential debate. Obama's priorities for the future of the country stood in sharp contrast to Sen. John McCain's, which would freeze discretionary spending and cripple the nation’s public education and health care systems.

The following can be attributed to Dennis Van Roekel, president of the National Education Association:

"Putting the economy back on track requires investing in public education. That means adequate resources for our schools and professional salaries for our educators. Sen. Barack Obama understands this. He ranks quality public schools and affordable higher education among his top three national priorities. Meanwhile, Sen. John McCain wants to freeze all discretionary spending, leaving millions of children without the programs and resources they need.

"Sen. Obama understands that a healthy economy depends on a healthy public education system. Instead of giving massive tax breaks to CEOs, as McCain proposes, we should be giving educators the resources and respect they need to do their jobs. McCain has pledged to follow the same failed policies of the Bush administration. He still hasn't learned the most important lesson of this economic crisis, which is that a competitive economy requires competitive public schools.

"McCain's policies would also leave millions of Americans without health care. His health care scheme would lead to 20 million Americans losing their employer-sponsored coverage. And he has voted against expansion of the children's health insurance program. We need a real solution, as Obama has outlined, that will give every family the health care they need, and every student the education they deserve."

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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: Will Potter  (202) 822-7823