Leadership & Governance

Obama Lays Out 'Competitiveness' Agenda

June 17, 2008

In a speech yesterday outlining his agenda to bolster the competitiveness of the United States economy, Sen. Barack Obama promised to pay for the college education of people who commit their lives to teaching, to provide a $4,000 tax credit toward college tuition in exchange for students’ performing public service, and to double federal funds for basic research.

Senator Obama, the presumptive Democratic nominee for president, delivered his remarks at Kettering University, in Flint, Mich.

He mentioned his concern about the nation’s record on several education fronts, citing statistics that show that barely one 10th of low-income students graduate from college and that only 20 percent of high-school students are prepared to take college classes in English, mathematics, and science.

“It’s time for new policies that create the jobs and opportunities of the future–-a competitiveness agenda built upon education and energy, innovation and infrastructure, fair trade and reform,” Senator Obama said. “This agenda starts with education.”

He criticized John McCain, saying that the presumed Republican nominee “doesn’t talk about education much.”

“But I don’t accept the status quo,” Senator Obama continued. “It is morally unacceptable and economically untenable. It’s time to make an historic commitment to education–-a real commitment that will require new resources and new reforms.”