President Barack Obama is defending his administration’s education policies, responding to criticism that so far they have not substantially helped minority students, reports the Associated Press. The president blames some of the criticism of his plan on teachers and others resistant to change. Obama was to speak July 29 at the centennial convention of the National Urban League, one of eight civil rights organizations that released a report this week calling the president’s $4.35 billion education initiative an ineffective approach for failing schools. In excerpts released ahead of the president’s speech, Obama says his program’s goal is to spur innovate education reform in states and turn around failing schools, many in minority communities—and not just label them as troubled and then walk away. Obama will tell the civil-rights group’s convention that some of the criticism of his programs come from those resistant to change and a “comfort with the status quo.” The goal of the initiatives, he says, isn’t to fire or admonish teachers, but to hold them accountable and help “create a better environment for teachers and students alike.” The president will call for schools to provide teachers higher pay and a fulfilling, supportive workplace…

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staff and wire services reports