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Make Your H.S. Commencement "Absolutely Memorable"

Secretary of Education Arne Duncan appears on NBC's "Today" Show and MSNBC''s "Morning Joe" to ask high schools to compete in the President's Race to the Top Commencement Challenge.

Education in FocusThis morning Secretary of Education Arne Duncan appeared on NBC's "Today" show and MSNBC’s "Morning Joe" to discuss the President’s Race to the Top education program and to remind high schools across the country to participate in the President’s Commencement Challenge.

I don’t know about you but I can’t remember who my high school commencement speaker was, and this is gonna be just an absolutely memorable day for whichever high school wins. This is a Race to the Top Commencement Challenge. The President’s asking every high school to put their best foot forward and demonstrate what they’re doing to make sure every student graduates from high school, college and career ready. He’s committed to doing this every single year.

The applications are due March 15th, in less than two weeks and so we expect many, many high schools around the country to submit. Whether it’s their essays in applications or video presentation and we look forward to a very,very vigorous competition, the public’s gonna help us decide. We want every high school to demonstrate what they’re doing to give every child a chance to be successful and fulfill their tremendous academic potential.

Secretary Duncan also commended the President’s 900 million dollar grants directed towards improving low performing schools across the country and his bipartisan commitment to improving public education and decreasing the high school dropout rate.

We have a drop out crisis. It is economically unsustainable and morally unacceptable, and the President yesterday I thought showed real courage. Alma Powell, Colin Powell, this is an absolute bipartisan effort. All of us have to work together to give every child in this country a chance to be academically successful.

Secretary Duncan will be participating in a live chat with Domestic Policy Advisor Melody Barnes on making college more affordable today at 5:30 pm EST. Watch live and ask him your questions about student loans, Pell Grants, and improving the federal loan application process.