WASHINGTON, Aug. 18 (UPI) -- Republicans are pushing the U.S. education system "backwards," President Barack Obama charge Saturday as the White House released a report on the issue.
The report notes 300,000 jobs in education have been lost since the recession officially ended in June 2009, boosting student-teacher ratios 4.6 percent and rolling back gains that had been made since 2000. Thousands more education jobs are on the line with discretionary spending cuts proposed by Congress, the report said.
"That's backwards. That's wrong. That plan doesn't invest in our future; it undercuts our future," Obama said. "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."
The report, "Investing in our Future: Returning Teachers to the Classroom," blames budget cuts at the state and local level for the loss of teachers
"Analyses from independent academic experts confirm what we know from common-sense: that laying off teachers, increasing class sizes, eliminating critical programs, shortening the school week or shortening the school year all mean that our students receive less attention and fewer chances to achieve in their education," the White House said in a release.
"President Obama has proposed a plan that would prevent teacher layoffs, invest in comprehensive reform and strengthen public education. The President's plan would provide $25 billion to prevent layoffs and support hundreds of thousands of teacher and other education jobs.
"Unfortunately, Republicans in Congress continue to block critical investments in the education of our children and the economic security of our nation as a whole."