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Ed Sec'y Duncan bemoans 30 percent dropout rate

WASHINGTON (AP) - Education Secretary Arne Duncan says President Barack Obama feels that it's critically important to speak directly to America's school students because academic performance must be improved.

Hours before Obama was to make an appearance that has been tinged by controversy, Duncan acknowledged that someone in the administration erred in suggesting students compose letters saying how they can be supportive of the president's policy goals.

Tuesday morning, Duncan conceded that guidance passed out in connection with Obama's appearance at a school in Arlington, Va., "was not worded perfectly correct." But he said the focus must be on young people, not "all the adult talk." Duncan said the most critical issue is to reverse what has become a 30 percent high school dropout rate.


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