From Playtime to Policy Pitch
President Obama pushes education plan in Decatur
Two days after delivering the State of the Union Address, President Barack Obama traveled to Decatur, Georgia, to pitch his plans directly to voters.
President Obama addressed more than 600 people at the Decatur Community Recreation Center on Thursday. The focus of his visit was education.
In his speech, the President said the country needs to get better at preparing its children for the jobs of today – and tomorrow. To do this, America will need to invest in new teachers, redesigned high schools, and a more affordable college experience.
But Obama put special focus on early childhood education.
"Study after study shows that the earlier a child begins learning, the better he or she does down the road," President Obama said. "But here's the thing: We are not doing enough to give all of our kids that chance."
The President added that early childhood education should be affordable for all families. Not only does it make good educational sense, it makes good economic sense, he added.
Every dollar we invest in high-quality early education can save more than seven dollars later on," the President said. "This [early childhood education] works. We know it works. If you are looking for a good bang for your educational buck, this is it right here."
Obama said that one of the reasons he came to Decatur is because the city understands how important it is to give kids an early start on education.
Before his speech, the President visited preschoolers at College Heights Learning Center.
Obama spent time with some of the kids during his visit. He said he worked with them to build towers, sculpt, and sing.
"I've got to admit, I was not always the fastest guy on some of this stuff. The kids were beating me to the punch," Obama joked.
But he quickly added that all this fun had serious benefits.
"Through this interactive learning, they're learning math, writing, how to tell stories."
Preschool-aged children are like sponges, the President said. They absorb everything they are taught. And to miss out on education during this crucial stage of life because of the amount of financial stability a family has can no longer be tolerated.
"The size of your paycheck shouldn't determine your child's future," President Obama said. "So let's fix this. Let's make sure none of our kids start out the race of life already a step behind. Let's make it a national priority to give every child access to a high-quality early education. Let's give our kids that chance."
The President's message connected with the crowd gathered to hear President Obama's speech.
Frank Broderick, a citizen of Decatur, told the Kids Press Corps that he "absolutely" thinks the President's plan to increase access to early childhood education will work.
"It has substance, he knows what he is talking about," Broderick said. "Things that he said are proven, everything just needs time now."
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