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Obama Says He Owes Everything To Education (VIDEO)

The Huffington Post   First Posted: 11/23/11 03:29 PM ET Updated: 11/23/11 03:35 PM ET

If you could sit down for dinner with the President of the United States, what would you ask him?

Retired school teacher Juanita Martinez of Brighton, Colo. knew. She was one among three others -- another retired teacher, an Army veteran and a small business owner -- who had dinner with President Barack Obama last month.

"My concern is, of course, public education," Martinez told Obama. "I subbed last year for a class and there were like 33 students and three didn't even have desks. So, it's gotten really rough."

It wasn't a clear question, per se, and so the President didn't really have a clear answer, but he did address a broad educational issue, "Are we making investments so everyone has a shot?"

Some of these investments can be seen in Obama's final September push for his $447 billion jobs bill that was estimated to modernize at least 35,000 schools and send tens of thousands of teachers back to the front of classrooms.

The proposal would have worked to offset the estimated 280,000 who have lost their jobs by looking to support 400,000 education jobs -- but those figures are calculated based on big assumptions, according to an Associated Press report.

U.S. Secretary of Education also noted in September that "tens of billions of dollars" are needed for repairing school infrastructure.

Still, at his back-to-school address at Washington's Benjamin Banneker Academic High School in September, Obama stressed the importance of learning and education -- for both the students themselves and for lifting America back onto its feet.

"You're young leaders. And whether we fall behind or race ahead as a nation is going to depend in large part on you," he told students.

Although he admitted during that address that he wasn't always the best student and didn't love every course he took, Obama told his dinner guests last month that education was crucial to his success.

"Since I didn't come from a wealthy family, or a powerful family, the only reason I'm here is because someone invested in me or my mom or my grandparents," he said.

Watch what else the President had to say about education above.

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