Obama: Education, research investments key

Feb. 18, 2011 at 4:15 PM
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HILLSBORO, Ore., Feb. 18 (UPI) -- America must invest in education and research if it expects to be competitive in a global economy, President Obama said Friday during a visit to Intel Corp.

"We can't win the future if we can't win the race to educate our children," Obama said, citing statistics indicating the United States lags in the quality of math and science education worldwide and noting about a fourth of all high school students don't graduate.

Parents, teachers, local leaders, companies and the federal government "all are going to have to focus on this like a laser," Obama said during remarks at the chip-making giant's Hillsboro, Ore., campus.

Intel, he said, has recognized the value of investing in education and building partnerships revolving around education by investing $50 million to support education in Oregon, initiating programs to get students interested in math and science, and helping to train more than 7,000 Oregon teachers during the last 10 years.

"You've been pretty busy here at Intel," Obama said, noting the corporation recognizes investing in education is good for its bottom line.

Recalling his remarks to the U.S. Chamber of Commerce last week about how American businesses must embrace the responsibility of creating jobs in this county, Obama said, "Few major companies have taken this job as seriously as Intel. … By and large, Intel has placed its bets on America."

Obama repeated his commitment to overhaul the corporate tax code and eliminate other barriers to business growth as well as bring the federal deficit and debt under control.

"But even as we have to live within our means, we cannot sacrifice investments in our future," Obama said. "If we want the next technological breakthrough to happen here in the U.S. … then we have to invest in American research and technology."

The president also repeated his goal to "out-build, out-educate, out-innovate and out-hustle the rest of the world."

Despite the "daunting statistics and naysayers" about the American educational system, "we know what works. We know how to succeed. We know how to do big things," Obama said.

"When it comes to competing with other nations for the jobs and industries of the future, we are all on the same team -- the American team," Obama said. "And if we start rowing in the same direction, I promise you, there is nothing that we cannot achieve."

Earlier Friday the White House announced Intel Chief Executive Officer Paul Otellini would be a member of the president's Jobs and Competitiveness Council.

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