Obama: Spare education from budget cuts

Repeating a line from a speech he gave at Forsyth Technical Community College last month, the president called this “our generation’s Sputnik moment.” He noted that China now boasts the world’s fastest computer, and South Koreans have faster internet access than Americans.

To compete in the new global economy, “we need to out-innovate, out-educate, and out-build the rest of the world,” Obama said. “The first step in winning the future is encouraging American innovation.”

He said he would propose a budget for fiscal year 2012 that invests more money in biomedical research, information technology, and clean energy technology—“an investment that will strengthen our security, protect our planet, and create countless new jobs for our people,” he said.

On education, the president will ask Congress to extend a $10,000 college tax credit and pay for thousands of new science and math teachers as part of a broad rewrite of the nation’s education system.

The tax break for students originally was included in the economic stimulus bill passed shortly after Obama took office. In his State of the Union address, Obama reiterated his call for Congress to make it permanent.