President Barack Obama President Barack Obama

President Barack Obama addressed the nation's youth Tuesday in a back-to-school speech that challenged students to set goals, work hard and take responsibility for their education because they're vital to the nation's success.

"[A]t the end of the day, we can have the most dedicated teachers, the most supportive parents, and the best schools in the world — and none of it will matter unless all of you fulfill your responsibilities," Obama said at Wakefield High School in Arlington, Va. "And that's what I want to focus on today: the responsibility each of you has for your education. I want to start with the responsibility you have to yourself."

The speech, which was announced last week and aired on C-SPAN and the White House website, elicited criticism from conservative organizations, who said it was a ploy to promote a political agenda and urged schools to boycott the broadcast of the speech — accusations that the White House dismissed as silly. Obama left it to each school's discretion whether to broadcast the speech.

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