Valerie JarrettFebruary 04, 2013
06:04 PM EDT
Rosa Louise McCauley Parks was born on February 4, 1913. Her life inspired millions of people and challenged the conscience of our Nation. Her refusal to give up her seat on a bus on December 1, 1955, inspired a civil rights movement that led to the passage of the Civil Rights Act on July 2, 1964. “When I made that decision," she later said, “I knew that I had the strength of my ancestors with me."
We stand on the shoulders of Rosa Parks, and so many other leaders who struggled and worked to ensure our country’s founding principles of life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness are achievable for everyone.
President Barack Obama sits on the famed Rosa Parks bus at the Henry Ford Museum following an event in Dearborn, Michigan. April 18, 2012. (Official White House Photo by Pete Souza)
Colleen CurtisFebruary 04, 2013
05:19 PM EDT
President Barack Obama delivers remarks following a roundtable discussion with local leaders and law enforcement officials on how to reduce gun violence, at the Minneapolis Police Department Special Operations Center in Minneapolis, Minn., Feb. 4, 2013. (Official White House Photo by Pete Souza)
President Obama was in Minnesota today, where he met with men and women who are on the front line of the fight to prevent more tragedies like the ones in Newtown and Aurora: local police officers, community leaders, and people who themselves had been victims or whose families had been victims of gun violence.
The roundtable was part of the Obama Administration's ongoing conversations with Americans on all sides of this debate about how we can work together to keep our kids safe, help prevent mass shootings, and reduce the broader epidemic of gun violence in this country. President Obama was eager to hear from those gathered at the Minneapolis Police Department's Special Operations Center because they know firsthand the awful consequences of this epidemic, and they know what works, what doesn’t work, and how to move forward without regard for politics. Afterwards, the President described the discussion as productive:
One of the things that struck me was that even though those who were sitting around that table represented very different communities, from big cities to small towns, they all believe it’s time to take some basic, common-sense steps to reduce gun violence. We may not be able to prevent every massacre or random shooting. No law or set of laws can keep our children completely safe. But if there’s even one thing we can do, if there's just one life we can save, we've got an obligation to try.
That’s been the philosophy here in Minneapolis. A few years back, you suffered a spike in violent crime involving young people. So this city came together. You launched a series of youth initiatives that have reduced the number of young people injured by guns by 40 percent -- 40 percent. So when it comes to protecting our children from gun violence, you’ve shown that progress is possible. We've still got to deal with the 60 percent that remains, but that 40 percent means lives saved -- parents whose hearts aren't broken, communities that aren't terrorized and afraid.
February 04, 2013
04:12 PM EDT
Editor's note: This post was originally published on the official blog of the U.S. Department of Education.
In only two years, the 12 states with Race to the Top grants continue to show improvements in teaching and learning in their schools. Last week, the U.S. Department of Education released state-specific reports for the 12 Race to the Top states, providing detailed, transparent summaries of each state’s accomplishments and challenges in year two, which covered the 2011-12 school year.
The 12 states—Delaware, the District of Columbia, Florida, Georgia, Hawaii, Maryland, Massachusetts, New York, North Carolina, Ohio, Rhode Island and Tennessee—reached a number of benchmarks in year two, as they implemented unique plans built around Race to the Top’s four assurance areas:
- Implementing college- and career-ready standards and assessments,
- Building robust data systems to improve instruction,
- Supporting great teachers and school leaders, and
- Turning around persistently low-performing schools.
Captain Todd VeazieFebruary 04, 2013
03:57 PM EDT
I am always impressed by the work that our incredible military support organizations do to make the lives of our force and families better. Like many other great organizations, the Military Officers Association of America (MOAA) is taking action to improve the lives of military families because they understand the difficulties and hardships that our families willingly face in the shared service to our nation. MOAA knows that one key source of psychological and material wellbeing for any family is gainful, purposeful employment. This is particularly true of our military spouses.
This week more than 200 military spouses in the Pacific Northwest are preparing for the Military Officers Association of America’s (MOAA) 7th annual Military Spouse Symposium, “Keeping a Career on the Move” on February 8, 2013 at the University of Washington Tacoma, Phillip Hall. The event is free and open to all military spouses - all ranks, active duty, retired, Reserve and National Guard. Service members and veterans are also welcome. And there’s still time to register.
Maureen Tracey-MooneyFebruary 04, 2013
11:00 AM EDT
It’s been two weeks since President Obama released his plan for reducing gun violence. Since then, the President and the Vice President have continued their push for common-sense steps to protect our children and our communities by reducing gun violence. They’ve spoken with mayors, law enforcement officers, and ordinary Americans about the plan going forward. They’ve continued to meet with experts about effective steps that cities and states have taken. And they’ve kept in contact with members of Congress about how to move forward on common-sense legislation to prevent gun violence.
On January 17, the day after the President released his gun violence prevention plan, the Vice President spoke to the U.S. Conference of Mayors about the plan. Last week, the Conference officially endorsed the President and Vice President’s proposals.
On January 24th, the Vice President participated in a “Fireside Hangout” hosted by Google, talking with Google+ users from across the country about the Administration’s plan to reduce gun violence. Catch up on that conversation now:
On January 25th, the Vice President traveled to Richmond, Virginia to hold a roundtable discussion with experts who helped improve Virginia’s background check system after the Virginia Tech shooting. Along with Secretaries Napolitano and Sebelius, Senator Tim Kaine, and Congressman Bobby Scott, they talked about what still needs to be done to make sure that there is a criminal background check for every gun sale in America.
February 03, 2013
03:54 PM EDT
Vice President Joe Biden and Dr. Jill Biden visit with medical staff during a visit to Landstuhl Regional Medical Center, in Landstuhl, Germany, Feb., 3, 2013. (Official White House Photo by David Lienemann)Today, Vice President Joe Biden, Dr. Jill Biden, and Deputy Secretary of Defense Ashton Carter visited with Wounded Warriors and their medical caretakers at Landstuhl Regional Medical Center (RMC) in Landstuhl, Germany.Landstuhl RMC is the largest U.S. military hospital outside the United States. It serves American servicemembers and their families who are stationed in Europe. Landstuhl RMC is also the nearest medical trauma center treating wounded U.S. servicemembers coming from Afghanistan. The center treats wounded coalition military members serving alongside U.S. forces in Afghanistan as well.The Vice President, Dr. Biden, and Deputy Secretary Carter thanked the combat-injured U.S. soldier for his service to our country and thanked his wife and their young son for their sacrifices. They also spent time visiting with two wounded soldiers serving in Afghanistan who were from the Republic of Georgia. Of the fifty-nation coalition providing forces in Afghanistan, the Republic of Georgia is the largest non-NATO contributor, providing over 1,560 forces who primarily serve in Afghanistan’s volatile Helmand province.The Vice President, Dr. Biden, and Deputy Secretary Carter also took time to specially thank on-duty medical caretakers in the surgical wards and the intensive care unit for caring for our Wounded Warriors. Vice President Biden said, “Even if there were no Wounded Warriors here to visit today, we wanted to stop by and visit with you to say thank you for all that you do for them. What you do is truly breathtaking. And because of you, our Wounded Warriors can return home alive to their mothers and fathers, to their wives and husbands, and to their sons and daughters.”
February 03, 2013
09:18 AM EDT
Today is game day, and as the Baltimore Ravens and San Francisco 49ers get ready to take the field, the mayors from those cities are taking a different approach to the traditional, friendly wager. This year, the focus will be on volunteering and community service.
San Francisco Mayor Edwin M. Lee and Baltimore Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake have agreed that the winning mayor would host the mayor from the opposing team for a day of volunteer service with AmeriCorps members. This service project will be done in partnership with the Corporation for National and Community Service (CNCS), the federal agency that administers AmeriCorps. (Click here to watch a video announcing the challenge on the "Today Show.")
The mayors' friendly wager further elevates the role of community service within the Super Bowl's activities. As part of the official events, the Super Bowl Host Committee also hosted a community service effort yesterday, Super Saturday of Service, in which local volunteers revitalized five New Orleans playgrounds. AmeriCorps members serving with Habitat for Humanity New Orleans and Habitat for Humanity Baton Rouge participated. AmeriCorps members also took part in service activities organized by Rebuilding Together.
Megan SlackFebruary 02, 2013
05:45 AM EDT
February 01, 2013
06:07 PM EDT
Here's a quick glimpse at what happened this week on WhiteHouse.gov:
Immigration Reform: On Tuesday, President Obama traveled to Las Vegas to present his plans for comprehensive immigration reform. The four parts of the White House proposal call for a strengthening of our borders, cracking down on companies that hire undocumented workers, creating a path to earned citizenship and streamlining our legal immigration system for all.
“Now is the time to do this so we can strengthen our economy and strengthen our country's future,” said President Obama, urging a bipartisan effort.
Valerie JarrettFebruary 01, 2013
05:26 PM EDT
Yesterday, I had the pleasure of speaking at the Technology Inclusion Summit, hosted by Chief Technology Officer Todd Park, the Office of Science and Technology Policy, and the Level Playing Field Institute. It was an amazing gathering of private and public partners who are united in their efforts to expand opportunities for training, education and jobs in technology.
President Obama has always believed that technology is an essential part of growing our economy, creating jobs and remaining globally competitive. The President continues to be committed to encouraging the entrepreneurial spirit in our country, starting with setting a goal of 1 million Science Technology Engineering Math (STEM) graduates over the next decade. This effort also means that we need to collectively act to knock down any barriers that stand in the way.
Last August, during the Tech Inclusion Roundtable, participants came up with some great private-sector initiatives to help drive innovation across every community. Whether it was pioneering new educational tools for students of all ages, bringing technical training to underrepresented communities, or mobilizing tech company CEOs to establish mentoring programs for young people, every one of these initiatives and ideas has the potential to shape America’s future.
Valerie JarrettFebruary 01, 2013
11:45 AM EDT
Every February, we celebrate and reflect on the great contributions African-Americans have made to our country. This year, African American History Month celebrates two landmark anniversaries in American history, with the theme, “At the Crossroads of Freedom and Equality: The Emancipation Proclamation and the March on Washington.”
On January 1st, we observed the 150th anniversary of the Emancipation Proclamation, and this August will mark 50 years since the 1963 March on Washington and Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.’s ‘I Have a Dream’ speech. We will spend the month of February highlighting these monumental moments and honoring the causes of freedom and equality that inspired them.
In 1863, the Emancipation Proclamation was issued by President Abraham Lincoln, adding momentum to signal the beginning of the end of slavery in America. One hundred years later, Americans from all corners of the country, representing every race and religion, came together under the leadership of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. to peacefully march through the streets of our capital and call for equality under the law for all citizens.
Alan KruegerFebruary 01, 2013
09:30 AM EDT
While more work remains to be done, today’s employment report provides further evidence that the U.S. economy is continuing to heal from the wounds inflicted by the worst downturn since the Great Depression. It is critical that we pursue the policies needed to build an economy that works for the middle class as we continue to dig our way out of the deep hole that was caused by the severe recession that began in December 2007.
Today’s report is a reminder of the importance of the need for Congress to act to avoid self-inflicted wounds to the economy. The Administration continues to urge Congress to move toward a sustainable Federal budget in a responsible way that balances revenue and spending, and replaces the sequester, while making critical investments in the economy that promote growth and job creation and protect our most vulnerable citizens.
With today’s release, the Bureau of Labor Statistics has finalized its benchmark adjustment, and the latest data show that the economy has now added private sector jobs for 35 straight months, and a total of 6.1 million jobs have been added over that period. In 2012, private businesses added 2.2 million payroll jobs. The first report of private sector job growth for January is that businesses added 166,000 jobs. Total non-farm payroll employment rose by 157,000 jobs last month. The average first report of monthly job growth in 2012 was 142,000, that is now revised to 181,000 jobs per month.
Adam GarberFebruary 01, 2013
12:00 AM EDT
This week, the President announced his choice for his new Chief of Staff, pushed for comprehensive immigration reform, and invited the Boys and Girls Club Youth of the Year, Presidential Innovation Fellows, law enforcement officials, 60 Minutes, and the Miami Heat to the White House.
A unique view of 2012