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President Barack Obama will appear in a back-to-school television special with singer Kelly Clarkson and basketball star LeBron James next month.

Obama is appearing in a 30-minute documentary that will air at 8 p.m. Sept. 8 on BET, MTV, VH1, CMT, Comedy Central, Spike TV and Nickelodean, all of them Viacom networks.

In the program, the president says education is the key to people living out their dreams.

“So as this new school year begins, I urge you to set goals for your own education: to study hard and get involved in your school, to try new things and find something you’re passionate about,” Obama says, according to a release issued Wednesday.

“And that’s how our nation will get ahead — by ensuring that every American gets a world-class education, from preschool to college to a career,” Obama said.

The program marks the kickoff of an education initiative by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation and Viacom Inc. Called “Get Schooled,” the five-year campaign is aimed at improving this country’s dismal high school and college completion rates.

In the special, Obama, Clarkson and James all are shown alongside behind-the-scenes colleagues; Obama’s is speechwriter Sarah Hurwitz, who talks about her time in school and current job at the White House. Also featured are Clarkson’s music director, Jason Halbert, and James’ marketer, Latesha Williams.

Gates official Allan Golston, president of the foundation’s U.S. Program, noted Obama has made education a top priority and that schools got unprecedented money from the economic stimulus law earlier this year.

“Education is the key to opportunity and economic progress, for our young people and our nation,” Golston said.

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