Obama is scheduled to speak Wednesday afternoon at Washington's Benjamin Banneker Academic High School. His back-to-school address will be televised live and carried online.
In his prepared remarks, Obama urges students to pursue an education after high school and says that in tough economic times, the country needs their ideas and passion.
Obama is telling students that, in his words, "whether we fall behind or race ahead in the coming years is up to you."
The White House released the text of the president's message the night before his speech to defuse any potential charges that he would be giving a political speech to the nation's schoolchildren.