In his first major education speech as president, Barack Obama unveiled a potentially controversial plan that includes merit-based teacher pay, a longer school year, tracking of individual students' progress and removal of restrictions on charter schools. "Despite resources that are unmatched anywhere in the world, we have let our grades slip, our schools crumble, our teacher quality fall short and other nations outpace us," he said. "The relative decline of American education is untenable for our economy, unsustainable for our democracy and unacceptable for our children. We cannot afford to let it continue. What is at stake is nothing less than the American dream."

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