Latest from White House Press Pool


Subject: Travel pool report #1


The president boarded Air Force One at 10:14. No Bill Daley spotting, as some in pool thought there might be. Plane is rolling toward takeoff now.


Flight to Philadelphia is really quick. From there, we’re headed to Yeadon, in Delaware County. WH says it’s pronounced Yay-don.


Some details on what the president will announce, on background, from an administration official:




A top-notch educational system is critical not just for our children but for our nation’s economic future. In today’s global economy, we know that countries that out-educate us today will out-compete us tomorrow.




Unfortunately, Republicans in Congress have proven they won’t take serious action to ensure that every American child gets a world class education. They voted against keeping teachers in the classroom, and for slashing Pell grants. They refused to act to fix the flaws of No Child Left Behind. They proposed to cut over one billion dollars in the House’s FY2011 budget which would have eliminated services for over 300,000 children from Head Start and Early Head Start. And they did not enact the President’s proposed Early Learning Challenge Fund to challenge states to develop the best early learning programs in the country.




But President Obama knows America’s kids only get one shot at their education and they can’t wait for Congress to help them. That’s why he has acted where Congress won’t. He has offered states the flexibility they need under No Child Left Behind in exchange for reforms to improve learning. And he has taken steps to help students manage their college debt.




He has also pressed forward to promote high-quality early education programs to prepare children for school – an effort he will continue today in Philadelphia.




The President protected Head Start against harmful cuts proposed by Republicans, securing an increase in the final 2011 budget of $340 million to sustain services for Head Start children and families. When Congress did not enact the President’s proposed Early Learning Challenge Fund, the Obama administration set aside $500 million to create a Race to the Top for early learning. Last month 35 states applied for that funding and next month we’ll announce the winners.




Today, the President will announce changes that would require all lower performing Head Start programs to compete for federal funding (instead of receiving it automatically), to promote accountability and improve the quality of Head Start programs. Every Head Start child deserves to be enrolled in an excellent program.



Jennifer Epstein

White House Reporter