Schools invited to compete for visit by Obama

WASHINGTON — Coming to a high school graduation near you: President Obama.

The White House and the Education Department are giving public high schools the opportunity to compete to have the president speak at their commencement ceremony this spring. The winning school must demonstrate how it's helping prepare students to meet Obama's goal of the U.S. having the highest proportion of college graduates in the world by 2020.

"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," Obama said in a video announcing the competition, called The Race to the Top High School Commencement Challenge. More information is available at

Obama has called for a boost in federal spending on education, including the $4.35 billion Race to the Top competitive grant program created by the economic stimulus act. States must compete for a share of the money.