President Barack Obama chided U.S. governors during a luncheon Monday over recent education funding cuts, saying they need to invest more money in America's future to compete globally.
While acknowledging the tough economic climate for state governments, Obama cited the need to prioritize the long-range significance of a strong education system, CNN reported.
"The fact is that too many states are making cuts in education that I think are simply too big," The Associated Press reported Obama as saying. "Nothing more clearly signals what you value as a state than the decisions you make about where to invest. Budgets are about choices."
The president made his school funding pitch during a White House luncheon with the National Governors Association that included some of his harshest Republican critics, CNN reported.
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The luncheon is an annual affair that highlights the constant tension over funding issues between the federal government and states. One table included Republican governors and constant Obama foes Chris Christie of New Jersey, Jan Brewer of Arizona, Bobby Jindal of Louisiana and Nikki Haley of South Carolina, according to CNN.
Earlier this month, Obama granted waivers to 10 states that freed them from some of the toughest requirements of the No Child Left Behind Act, as long as they measure student progress with their own standards, the Washington Post reported.
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On Monday, he called on governors to assist that effort toward a more state-centered approach to education by spending more on schools, according to the AP.
He also called for more teachers in the classroom, and lauded rules in 21 states that require students to stay in school until they graduate or turn 18, AP reported.
Obama warned that countries with a better-educated workforce will out-compete the United States. He said education will be key in whether jobs stay in the U.S., and if businesses and jobs are created, Voice of America reported.