February 19th, 2010
08:46 AM ET
4 years ago

Obama issues challenge to high school seniors

One lucky high school class will get President Obama to speak at their graduation this year, the White House announced Friday.
One lucky high school class will get President Obama to speak at their graduation this year, the White House announced Friday.

Washington (CNN) – One lucky high school class will get President Obama to speak at their graduation this year, the White House announced Friday.

The first annual "Race to the Top High School Commencement Challenge" competition invites public high schools across the country to show the White House what sets them apart from other schools in academic excellence and college preparedness. Obama will address the commencement of the winning school.

"Public schools that encourage systemic reform and embrace effective approaches to teaching and learning help prepare America's students to graduate ready for college and a career, and enable them to out-compete any worker, anywhere on the world," Obama said in a video released on the White House Web site Friday. "This is your opportunity to show me why your school exemplifies the best that our education system has to offer."

Schools must fill out an application form available through the White House Web site by March 15. Six finalists will then be featured on the White House Web site where the public will have an opportunity to vote for the three schools they think best meet Obama's goals. An ultimate winner will then be selected. The six finalists will be selected by the White House and the Department of Education according to a statement from the White House.

Obama has made education reform a centerpiece of his domestic agenda. In his budget for fiscal year 2010, Obama proposed adding an additional $1.35 billion to continue his $4 billion Race to the Top Challenge for the nation's public schools.

The initiative calls for states to submit applications outlining how they would improve student performance, reward and retain teachers, and turn around low-performing schools.


Filed under: President Obama
soundoff (34 Responses)
  1. outspoken

    How about that......we are going to see the papers of High Schooler's praising Obama longer than WE THE PEOPLE are being allowed to see any bills that affect our futures and our grandchildren's futures. Now isn't that transparency in government ???? Hiyl Obama ! sig Hiyl !

    February 19, 2010 10:09 am at 10:09 am |
  2. The lonely Libertarian of Liverpool NY

    I see nothing but a positive coming from a challange such as this.
    Bravo Mr. President! I can not wait to see the School that wins this contest, very exciting, I have sent this to our Superintendant of Schools.
    Good luck to the Class of 2010 !

    February 19, 2010 10:10 am at 10:10 am |
  3. Henry Miller, Libertarian

    My prediction: The winning school will, oh-so-by-the-way, be either incredibly "diverse" or have a student body that's mostly black. It will almost certainly be in some "inner city," but probably not in Chicago–that would be too obvious, even for Obama. It will be in an area with a strong teacher's union presence and, probably, in a Congressional district currently represented by someone with whom Obama has some sort of relationship. It will not be a majority-white, suburban, school.

    February 19, 2010 10:12 am at 10:12 am |
  4. Rick McDaniel

    All of this emphasis on schools is sooooo misplaced. The problem with today's education of kids, is directly related to their parents, and the values, ethics, and discipline being taught at home.

    Teachers cannot overcome such major issues with students who choose not to apply themselves, in any way.

    February 19, 2010 10:21 am at 10:21 am |
  5. clementine

    now there is where our children future are it does not matter how much debt you in if we cannot compete with anyone but ourselves we are not going to pay off anything

    February 19, 2010 10:27 am at 10:27 am |
  6. Sam Sixpack

    The real Obama high school challenge: how are you ever going to pay for my follies?

    February 19, 2010 10:30 am at 10:30 am |
  7. La Chatte

    Lucky? Perhaps he's found a new audience to snow. Wait til he introduces his miserable school reform policies: charter schools, national testing, national standards, merit pay (theoretically interesting, realistically impossible without major social reform first). We'll be begging for the return of No Child's Behind Left!

    February 19, 2010 10:30 am at 10:30 am |
  8. get real

    WOW! That is awesome. I can't even remember if we had a speaker at my high school graduation.

    February 19, 2010 10:32 am at 10:32 am |
  9. Dean

    When is Obama going to accept "applications" from people on how to get jobs back in this country?

    February 19, 2010 10:35 am at 10:35 am |
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