Obama to address U.S. education woes in speech

Tue Mar 10, 2009 6:05am EDT
 
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By Ross Colvin

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - President Barack Obama will mark his seventh week in office on Tuesday by proposing reforms to the U.S. education system, which has one of the worst high school dropout rates in the industrialized world.

Since taking office on January 20, Obama has been working his way through his lengthy to-do list, from declaring the beginning of the end of the war in Iraq to expanding healthcare coverage and tackling climate change. At the same time his administration is battling to deal with a deepening recession.

On Tuesday it is the turn of education. Obama has repeatedly stressed the importance of a good education and warned that the United States risks losing its competitive edge in the 21st century global economy if it does not produce better-educated citizens.

Just over half Americans have only a high school diploma. In addition to the country's poor high school drop-out rates, half of American university students drop out before completing their education.

In a speech to the U.S. Congress last month, Obama declared these statistics were "a recipe for economic decline" and vowed to ensure that every child in the United States had access to a "complete and competitive education."

"We know the countries that out-teach us today will out-compete us tomorrow," he said.

'CRADLE TO CAREER'

Officials said Obama will deliver the speech to the United States Hispanic Chamber of Commerce in Washington on Tuesday and would lay out how his administration plans to improve education from "cradle to career."   Continued...