Employment versus and Education: Selling Obama’s Job’s Plan

Most people know that a good education is the making for a good job. President Barack Obama is on the road in attempts to convince people that good jobs can also make for a good education.

It’s hard to remember a time when education hasn’t been partisan issue. While Democrats have spent decades prioritizing public schools and supporting higher education, Republicans have battled national standardization and lauded locally based alternatives to the Department of Education, including the current crop of GOP presidential candidates. Texas Governor Rick Perry recently rejected federal funds specifically for education despite his state’s severe education cuts.

But that’s not really the issue at hand. In his speech, President Obama pressured Congress to pass the American Jobs Act, specifically 16 times. He spent the last three years trying to convince Americans to invest in its infrastructure, but the lack of results have managed to turn “shovel-ready” into a pejorative turn of phrase.

It seems as if the White House decided to retool its marketing a little bit to bring the idea that investing in the nation’s infrastructure isn’t just filling potholes and rebuilding bridges but also making sure that young Americans around the country have access to educational spaces and technology that they currently lack. This new message tackles the achievement gap that Obama has been skirting around for a while now and makes more relevant to the nation’s jobs crisis.

Is it working? Well, there are certainly people excited about public school improvement, especially in light of the budget issues many districts face in light of state government cuts. And the two-birds-one-stone concept of local construction industires getting paid to improve their own communities’ schools is certainly attractive, especially to some on Twitter.

That said, it wouldn’t be American politics without at least some dissent. Texas Rep. Louis Gohmert, last seen during his Terror Babies scare, has created his own two-page American Jobs Act that keeps it simple by eliminating all federal corporate income taxes.


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About Chester Soria

Chester Jesus Soria is a Brooklyn-based freelance multimedia journalist currently studying at the CUNY Graduate School of Journalism. He has written on culture, criminal justice issues and politics and has been published the New York Times’ Fort Greene/Clinton Hill Local blog, Alternet, Houston Press and the Innocence Blog. Read more at chestersoria.com.