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Obama to Urge Students to Work Hard in Back-to-School Speech


President Barack Obama is to urge students to work hard, listen to their teachers, and set their own education goals - in an upcoming speech that has been criticized by conservatives.

President Obama is to deliver the back-to-school address Tuesday at a high school in Virginia's Arlington County, just outside Washington. It will be broadcast live on the White House Web site and the C-SPAN cable network.

Some conservatives say Mr. Obama is seeking to indoctrinate children into what they call a socialist agenda. School districts in several states will not show the speech in classrooms after objections from some administrators and parents.

The White House has characterized the uproar over the speech as "silly," saying the president's message simply aims to motivate students to take their education more seriously.

Presidential spokesman Robert Gibbs Monday said it is a "sad, sad day" when politics intrude on anyone speaking to school children and teachers about the responsibilities they have as a new school year begins.

Some of the criticism focused on a proposed lesson plan from the Department of Education that suggested students write themselves a letter about how they can "help the president." The material has been updated to instead ask students to write about how they can achieve their long-term and short-term education goals.

In 1991, then-President George H.W. Bush, a Republican, addressed students live on television, with Democrats at the time complaining the speech was costly political advertising at the expense of taxpayers.

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