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The Truth About Obama’s Teachers Claim

RNC Communications - October 17, 2011

Obama likes to claim on the campaign trail that hundreds of thousands of teacher jobs are at risk, but fact checkers have challenged his dubious calculations. And Americans have heard these failed Obama promises before.

After Being Questioned, The White House Backtracked On Its 400,000 Number. “But administration officials quickly backtracked on the 400,000 number once they were quizzed by reporters during the press conference. The money would only support 400,000 teachers for one year, leaving state and local government to pick up the tab every subsequent year, admitted Katharine Abraham, a member of Obama’s Council of Economic Advisers.” (Neil Munro, “White House Promises, Then Retracts, 400,000 Teachers,” The Daily Caller, 10/4/11)

The Associated Press Fact Check: President Obama Claims That Over 280,000 Teacher Jobs Are At Risk But To Get To That Number The “White House Makes A Lot Of Assumptions.” “Obama is predicting that without his legislation, nearly as many jobs will be lost this school year as in the past three school years combined. In a report released this month titled ‘Teacher Jobs at Risk,’ the White House says ‘as many as ‘280,000 teacher jobs are at risk in the coming year. But to get to that number, the White House makes a lot of assumptions.” (Kimberly Hefling, “FACT CHECK: Jobs Plan Makes Many Assumptions,” The Associated Press, 10/11/11)

  • AP: Obama White House Calculations Rely Upon Dubious Assumptions That Even The Group The White House Relies On For Its Data Says Is Not Viable. “The administration says it started with projected state budget shortfalls in a report from the liberal Center on Budget and Policy Priorities. It then made a series of assumptions, including that spending cuts in each state would be applied proportionally across major budget categories, and that school salaries would be cut in proportion to their share of total spending for K-12 education. The spending cuts were then converted into numbers of jobs based on teacher pay in each state. Even the group the White House relied on for its data says you can't do that. The Center on Budget and Policy Priorities said in another report that ‘it is not possible to calculate directly the additional loss of jobs resulting from state education budget cuts.’” (Kimberly Hefling, “FACT CHECK: Jobs Plan Makes Many Assumptions,” The Associated Press, 10/11/11)
  • AP: “It's Nearly Impossible To Quantify How Many Jobs Are Created Or Saved Through Infusions Of Federal Dollars.” “As the Obama administration learned in its first round of economic stimulus spending, it's nearly impossible to quantify how many jobs are created or saved through infusions of federal dollars. In that $787 billion program two years ago, the White House eventually abandoned its controversial method to count jobs after numerous errors were found.” (Kimberly Hefling, “FACT CHECK: Jobs Plan Makes Many Assumptions,” The Associated Press, 10/11/11)

In August 2010, Obama Signed A $26 Billion Package Which Included Aid To Teachers. “The $26 billion package, which was approved by the House in a largely party-line vote earlier Tuesday, includes $10 billion to keep an estimated 160,000 teachers on the job, and $16 billion to help states meet their Medicaid payments for six months. Democrats say the aid to states could also help keep 150,000 police officers and other workers on payrolls.” (Devin Dwyer, “Obama Approves Billions For Teachers, Cops In Cash-Strapped States,” ABC News, 8/10/10)

  • Obama Predicted The Measure Would Save 160,000 Teaching Jobs. “Flanked by Education Secretary Arne Duncan and two teachers in the Rose Garden, Obama said the spending measure being considered by the House of Representatives will help to save the jobs of 160,000 teachers nationwide.” (Michael Shear, “Obama Urges House To Pass Emergency Funding For Teachers,” The Washington Post, 8/10/10)
  • Since That Bill Passed, Local Governments Have Shed 170,300 Education Jobs. (Bureau Of Labor Statistics, BLS.gov, Accessed 10/17/11)
  • Teacher Who Stood Behind Obama As He Signed The 2010 Measure To Save Teachers Jobs Was Laid Off Shortly After. “For a while, it looked like a federal measure aimed at supporting teachers and other state and local workers had helped save Amanda VanNess's job. It turned out it was only a temporary reprieve. President Obama signed a bill in August aimed at saving teachers' jobs, with Education Secretary Arne Duncan, Council of Economic Advisers chief Christina Romer and teacher Amanda Van Ness on hand. In July, the 25-year-old Ms. VanNess lost her job teaching kindergarten at Pickett Elementary School in Toledo, Ohio, as a result of cuts that came after voters rejected an income-tax increase aimed at shoring up a budget deficit at the Toledo Public School District.” (Justin Lahart, “Teacher Who Served As Symbol Of Jobs Measure Gets Laid Off,” The Wall Street Journal, 10/9/10)

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