Obama said at Monday's session that he sympathized with governors whose state budgets have been badly squeezed during the economic downturn. But he said that was no reason to trim resources from schools.
"The fact is that too many states are making cuts in education that I think are simply too big," Obama said. "Nothing more clearly signals what you value as a state than the decisions you make about where to invest. Budgets are about choices."
He reaffirmed his view that decisions about education should be left to states and not the federal government. "I believe education is an issue that is best addressed at the state level," the president said, "and governors are in the best position to have the biggest impact."
Look at that. President of the United States, concerned about the children of South Carolina and the other 49 states. Governor of South Carolina, not so much.
Specifically he called for more teachers in the classroom. He also noted that 21 states require students to stay in high school until they graduate or turn 18.
"I urge others to follow suit of those 21 states," Obama said.
And the President of the United States wants to see more teachers in South Carolina's public schools, to help reduce class size and encourage more high schoolers to finish school. Governor of South Carolina, not so much.
Media accounts don't quote Haley, so we have no idea whether she stayed stuck in her anti-education rut or instead had an epiphany and came back home a changed leader. But we do know, thanks to the Associated Press photographer in the room, that Haley took her lunch alongside fellow Indian-American and Louisiana Governor Bobby Jindal, who is quoted widely in press accounts of the event.
What did Jindal say?
"I walked into the meetings today believing we need a conservative in the White House and I left the meetings continuing to believe that," Jindal said.
I guess that means poor South Carolina will remain stuck in its rut.