September 6, 2011
State Schools Chief Tom Torlakson Urges President Obama
to Protect Education Jobs and Invest in Schools
SACRAMENTO—As President Barack Obama prepares to address a joint session of Congress on job creation and economic growth, State Superintendent of Public Instruction Tom Torlakson is urging him to protect education jobs and help rebuild California schools.
"I'm reaching out to the President because his address presents an opportunity to advocate for desperately needed new jobs that would help rebuild and modernize our schools to meet the educational demands of the 21st century," said Torlakson. "Such an initiative also could advance much-needed information-technology infrastructure and promote cutting-edge research opportunities in biotechnology, green technology, genetics, and similar areas."
In a letter to the President, Torlakson noted that the state's continued financial crisis has resulted in $18 billion in budget cuts since 2008-09 to California public education, the loss of thousands of education jobs, cuts to critical student support services, and increased class sizes—all of which have had a negative effect on the state's economy.
Torlakson thanked the President for providing $7.5 billion in stimulus funding for K-12 education in California that have helped support educational agencies and saved thousands of jobs. However, education leaders are bracing themselves as this critical support is soon scheduled to end while the statewide fiscal crisis continues.
Torlakson urged the President to invest in job programs that benefit teachers and school employees and will provide immediate help to students. He also asked the President to create programs that invest in the construction, maintenance, and modernization of school facilities that in turn will save money, create construction jobs, and promote positive learning environments for children.
As part of Torlakson's plan to improve education in California that was outlined in A Blueprint for Great Schools, Torlakson has pledged to build the ranks of teachers and provide them with the resources they need.
For a complete text of Torlakson's letter to the President, please visit the California Department of Education Web site at Schools Chief Urges President to Protect Education - Letters. For more information on A Blueprint for Great Schools, please visit A Blueprint For Great Schools - Initiatives & Programs.
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Tom Torlakson —
State Superintendent of Public Instruction
Communications Division, Room 5206, 916-319-0818, Fax 916-319-0100