It Starts by Making Education a National Mission

President Barack Obama delivers remarks in Osawatomie, Kansas

President Barack Obama delivers remarks in Osawatomie, Kansas, White House Photo, Pete Souza, 12/6/11

“The world is shifting to an innovation economy and nobody does innovation better than America,” President Obama said yesterday in Osawatomie, Kan., as he laid out a vision for broad-based prosperity in America. The President said that education is the foundation for the prosperity – and our world-class colleges and universities will help build that foundation. “The things that have always been our strengths match up perfectly with the demands of the moment,” he said.

But we need to meet the moment. We’ve got to up our game. We need to remember that we can only do that together. It starts by making education a national mission — a national mission. Government and businesses, parents and citizens. In this economy, a higher education is the surest route to the middle class.

The unemployment rate for Americans with a college degree or more is about half the national average. And their incomes are twice as high as those who don’t have a high school diploma. Which means we shouldn’t be laying off good teachers right now — we should be hiring them.

We shouldn’t be expecting less of our schools –- we should be demanding more. We shouldn’t be making it harder to afford college — we should be a country where everyone has a chance to go and doesn’t rack up $100,000 of debt just because they went.

The President, in recalling the history of the United States noted that America’s success has been “about building a nation where we’re all better off,” he said. “We pull together. We pitch in. We do our part. We believe that hard work will pay off, that responsibility will be rewarded, and that our children will inherit a nation where those values live on.”

Click here to read the entire speech.


  1. Question – I despised Newt Ginghrich during the 1990’s the way he tried to immobilize Bill Clinton. I thank you and President Obama for turning our country around getting the train back on it’s tracks. Can you embrace a different/revised version for the American People of Newt’s conversation piece of, not so much hiring children so young, would you may have implemented arleady: Work/Study/Fellow Study Tutoring, conducting administrative work in the school offices, cleaning up the home ec kitchens, posting homework online, preparing Powerpoint/Smartboard presentations for teachers, putting up decorations, implementing class accomplishments, and reading to Veterans and Seniors (who may still be able to read, but love the sounds of young voices).

    I come from a family surrounded by constant domestic issues with my parents until I was 42. If I didn’t have my teachers, principals, employers, and a few relatives to empower me, I would never have succeeded. People are being engrossed in Newt’s message, but you can do better. The same thing happened with the Bush/Gore election…Bush had one or two strong debates, and somehow one the election, but we know Gore would not have made the same choices that led us to our 2008 disaster. I look forward to you putting a spin on Newt’s happy-pill, showing that his plan just doesn’t go far enough and you have better under the condition that your budget not be cut anymore : ] Stay with it, you are truly amazing.

    • (sorry for my typo’s – oh no, what would my educators be saying, forgot to proof read my work / fired : )

  2. When will the vision come true, by any chance? If you want it to come true, you should really start it immediately so that it’ll actually work. Plus, putting too much pressure on the teachers will make them do worse, not better. You should give them more free reign on what they teach and how they teach so that learning will actually be accurate. Other than that, it’s possible that innovation may actually occur. And yes, innovation is exponentially more important than you may imagine. It’s a NECCESITY, and yet the reforms that are necessary aren’t even occurring. Just read Brian Crosby’s “Smart Kids, Bad Schools.” There are a plethora of reforms in that book that could get us all started, if only we all actually USE them.

  3. “In this economy, a higher education is the surest route to the middle class.”

    Indeed education is the surest route to transform one’s life… to break through barriers otherwise not possible. I’m living proof. I’m grateful to all those who pushed me to succeed academically and now I’m working to pay if forward.

    Thanks, President Obama, for making this a priority. And thanks Secretary Duncan for your relentless efforts.

  4. I’m trying to find the best information that I can on national education standards. It seems that these aren’t written in stone yet, but are there publications that provide information on voluntary standards? If you could direct me to those, I would highly appreciate it! Thanks Cameron.

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