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Obama urges kids to stay in school

Barack Obama will on Wednesday tell the US schoolchildren to work hard and fulfil their responsibilities to themselves and their country.

world Updated: Sep 09, 2009 02:05 IST
James Meikle

Barack Obama will on Wednesday tell the US schoolchildren to work hard and fulfil their responsibilities to themselves and their country, in a speech criticised in advance for being too political and prompting conservative calls for parents and schools to boycott the address.

“I expect great things from each of you. So don't let us down — don't let your family or your country down. Make us all proud. I know you can do it,” the president will say, according to a transcript released by the White House.

Obama received some support on Tuesday from the former first lady Laura Bush, the wife of Obama's predecessor, who said she supported his decision to address schoolchildren.

The president will tell children during a visit to a school in Arlington, Virginia: “At the end of the day, we can have the most dedicated teachers, the most supportive parents, and the best schools in the world, and none of it will matter unless all of you fulfil your responsibilities.”

He also references Harry Potter author, JK Rowling, and basketball legend Michael Jordan. "Some of the most successful people in the world are the ones who've had the most failures," he will say.

The education secretary, Arne Duncan, acknowledged on Sunday that a section of the speech about writing to the president on how students could help him achieve education goals was poorly worded.