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Money alone isn’t the cure for America’s ailing school system, President Obama says.

Speaking to TODAY’s Matt Lauer in the Green Room of the White House for nearly 30 minutes, Obama said that additional funding tied to significant reforms — including a longer school year and lifting teaching as a profession — is a much-needed fix.

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“We can’t spend our way out of it. I think that when you look at the statistics, the fact is that our per-pupil spending has gone up during the last couple of decades even as results have gone down,” explained Obama, invited to appear by NBC as the network launched its weeklong ” Education Nation” initiative.

“Obviously, in some schools money plays a big factor … ,” Obama said, pointing out that schools in the poorest areas often don’t have up-to-date textbooks. “On the other hand, money without reform will not fix the problem.”

Obama said his administration’s “reform agenda” includes increasing standards, finding and encouraging the best teachers, decreasing bureaucracy and deploying financial resources effectively. Teachers who fail to live up to expectations need to be given a chance to improve, he said, while those who do not should move on.

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