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Obama renews call for aid to halt teacher layoffs

Tight school budgets have meant fewer teachers, larger classes, and shorter school years, according to a White House report. It gives President Obama a chance to push his jobs plan providing money for states to keep teachers, police officers, and firefighters on the job.

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President Barack Obama greets graduating students from the Science Leadership Academy at the Franklin Institute in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania June 12, 2012.

Kevin Lamarque/Reuters

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Tight school budgets have meant fewer teachers, larger classes and shorter school years, according to a White House report that President Barack Obama says shows the need for Congress to pass his proposals to help states reduce teacher layoffs.

The study concluded that 300,000 education jobs have been lost since the official end of the recession in 2009 and that student-to-teacher ratios have increased by 4.6 percent from 2008 to 2010 and are on track to grow more.

"If we want America to lead in the 21st century, nothing is more important than giving everyone the best education possible – from the day they start preschool to the day they start their career," Obama said in his weekly radio and Internet address Saturday.

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For Obama, the report offered a fresh chance to push a nearly year-old jobs plan he proposed that provided money for states to keep teachers, police officers and firefighters on the job. The proposal included payroll tax cuts and jobless insurance provisions that Congress has passed. But other proposals in the plan have run aground amid mostly Republican opposition.

Obama is pressing Congress to act, part of an election-year strategy to portray Republicans as obstructionists. Republicans have proposed their own measures, but they have not advanced in the Democratic-controlled Senate. The partisanship has created a stalemate that Obama has tried to exploit during his re-election campaign.

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