Obama Presses Congress on Education, Orders New Head Start Rules

Courtney Williams's picture
Wednesday, November 9, 2011

President Obama continues his "we can't wait" campaign against Congress this morning, this time targeting lawmakers' failure to act on education issues by issuing executive changes governing the Head Start program.

After touring classrooms at a Head Start center near Philadelphia, Obama said he is ordering regular evaluations of the early childhood education program against a set of "clear, high standards."

"After trying for months to work with Congress on education, we've decided to take matters into our own hands," Obama said. "Our future is at stake. Our children deserve action, and we can't wait for Congress any longer."

Of course, Obama's bigger gripe is that Congress won’t pass his plan to spend money to hire back teachers and prevent layoffs -- nor, for that matter, the rest of the $447 billion job creation plan he calls the American Jobs Act.

His strategy lately is to take small steps he can order by his own authority, like the Head Start rules, and use the announcement to call out lawmakers on the broader issue at stake.

Yesterday Obama stood with military veterans to showcase his plans for helping veterans get jobs. Today the issue is schools.

Republicans say they are no more convinced of Obama's economic plans today than they were a week ago. They may yield on some particular points -- the tax credits for businesses that hire veterans seem to stand a chance -- but raising taxes isn’t part of their larger plan for spurring the economy.

Meantime, Obama clearly plans to make liberal use of his bully pulpit.

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