President Barack Obama launched a new initiative on Thursday seeking to connect every school in America to high-speed internet, a proposal framed as part of the administration's broader, long-term economic investments.
"In a country where we expect free wifi with our coffee, why shouldn't we have it in our schools?" Obama said at a school in North Carolina, where achievement rates improved after upgrading its internet access.
The president tied the proposal into his longstanding bid to make investments in education and infrastructure, a core element of Obama's jobs proposals. His speech came the day before the government releases its latest tabulation of the number of jobs created in May.
"These are the tools our children deserve, and there's no reason we can't do all of this," the president said, likening the new project, called "ConnectED," to other historic infrastructure projects in the class. "I am determined to see it through on behalf of our kids."
Obama won audience applause when he noted that he did not need approval from Congress to move forward with this initiative.
From North Carolina, Obama travels next to California for fundraisers tonight and then weekend meetings with the new Chinese President, Xi Jinping.