Obama: Take risks, go to college

President Obama told students at a college-prep magnet school to work hard, take risks and go to college in his annual back-to-school speech.  The president spoke at Benjamin Banneker Academic High School in Washington, D.C.

“You’ve got to keep going after you graduate,” Obama said.

That might mean, for many of you, a four-year university. . . . But it might, for some other folks, be a community college, or professional credentialing or training. But the fact of the matter is, is that more than 60 percent of the jobs in the next decade will require more than a high school diploma — more than 60 percent. That’s the world you’re walking into.

So I want all of you to set a goal to continue your education after you graduate. And if that means college for you, just getting into college is not enough. You also have to graduate. One of the biggest challenges we have right now is that too many of our young people enroll in college but don’t actually end up getting their degree, and as a consequence — our country used to have the world’s highest proportion of young people with a college degree; we now rank 16th. I don’t like being 16th. I like being number one.

Today’s economy requires “lifelong learning,” the president told students. “You have to constantly upgrade your skills and find new ways of doing things.”

Obama’s rhetoric about exploring ideas and following one’s passions doesn’t match his education policies, complains Valerie Strauss on Answer Sheet.