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President Barack Obama has led the push for more U.S. college graduates, even though in a tough economy with competing demands the money to support the push hasn’t materialized — at least, not as Obama had once hoped.

From the South comes another new graduation initiative — this one calling for 60 percent of adults aged 25-64 in 16 southern states to earn a college degree or technical certificate by the year 2025. Lumina Foundation for Education issued a similar call — Goal 2025 — earlier this year, though it’s for the country as a whole instead of just a particular region. (Disclosure: Lumina Foundation is one of The Hechinger Report’s many funders.)

The latest graduation initiative comes at a time when talk of America’s slipping status in education is dominating conversation, highlighted most recently by Waiting for “Superman” and the NBC Education Summit. It also follows Georgetown University Researcher Anthony Carnevale’s estimate that states will need to increase the number of college degrees and certificates that are awarded by three percent to meet the nation’s future workforce demands.

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Liz Willen, a longtime education journalist, has led the award-winning Hechinger Report staff as editor in chief since 2011. A sought-after moderator of education conferences and events, Willen also writes...

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