President Barack Obama with Univision news anchor Jorge Ramos, during a town hall with students, parents and teachers at Bell Multicultural High School, in the Columbia Heights neighborhood of Washington, March 28
Bloomberg: President Barack Obama said bolstering the education system is as crucial to the U.S. as keeping defense strong, saying “we won’t be able to project military strength or any other kind of strength” without an educated population.
“Over the last 10 years the defense budget was going up much more quickly than our education budget,” Obama said at a discussion with about 600 students, parents and teachers in Washington. “We are only going to be as strong as we are here at home.”
The president was speaking at a town hall-style event that is part of an administration campaign to make the case that improving the education system is vital to the nation’s future….
The question-and-answer session is scheduled for broadcast at 7 p.m. Washington time on Univision…
Asked to preview his speech on Libya, the president repeated his message that U.S. involvement in Libya “is going to be limited both in time and in scope.”
…Obama said he’s proposed putting more money in his fiscal 2012 budget proposal for early childhood education even as other federal programs are being frozen or cut.
…he said he still believes the Dream Act can be passed …. “We’ve got to keep the pressure up on Congress,” he said, urging Hispanics to contact members of Congress to contact their lawmakers to help get it passed. He said the immigration system is “broken right now” and he said there has to be “pathway to citizenship” to immigrants to the U.S. even while borders are being secured.
The president has called on Congress to overhaul the country’s signature education law, known as No Child Left Behind, before the start of the next school year. Duncan said the law is too punitive and it needs to be more flexible and reward success.
In response to an audience question the President said he has an iPad and a BlackBerry, but he took off the latter before the start of the program
“I didn’t want it going off during the show.”
Asked if he owns a personal computer, Obama replied, “I’m the president of the United States, you think I don’t have a computer?” to laughter.