WASHINGTON - President Barack Obama will challenge students to set goals and to do everything you can to meet them in a back-to-school speech that critics feared would promote a political agenda.
Your goal can be something as simple as doing all your homework, paying attention in class or spending time each day reading a book, Obama said in remarks prepared for delivery on Tuesday at Wakefield High School in Arlington, Virginia.
Some school districts have decided against letting their students see the speech, which will be broadcast on the Internet, after parents complained it would be one-sided.
Jim Greer, the Republican state chairman in Florida, said last week the speech aimed to spread President Obama's socialist ideology.
The Education Department removed wording from a lesson plan to accompany the speech that suggested students write a letter to themselves about what they can do to help the president.
It's a sad, sad day that the political back-and-forth has intruded on anyone's speaking to schoolchildren and parents about the responsibilities they have, said White House press secretary Robert Gibbs during an Obama trip to Ohio on Monday.
According to a text released by the White House, Obama will encourage pupils to focus on success, overcoming distractions at school or at home. As an example, he will cite his childhood in a single-parent family.
The circumstances of your life -- what you look like, where you come from, how much money you have, what you've got going on at home -- that's no excuse for neglecting your homework or having a bad attitude, says the president.
That's why today, I'm calling on each of you to set your own goals for your education -- and to do everything you can to meet them.
He suggested joining a school club, doing volunteer work and standing up to bullies.
(Reporting by Charles Abbott and Matt Spetalnick, editing by Alan Elsner)