In the first major education address of his presidency, Barack Obama called for a complete overhaul of the country’s public education system. “The relative decline of American education in untenable for our economy, unsustainable for our democracy, and unacceptable for our children,” he told the U.S. Hispanic Chamber of Commerce on Tuesday. Though teachers unions have long opposed the idea of merit-pay, Obama continued his support for the measure, which he said “can make a difference in the classroom.” His proposals include extended school days and years for students, boosting the proportion of college graduates to the highest in the world by 2020. Improving education won’t come cheap. His economic stimulus plan sets aside $5 billion to expand the Head Start program and a $5-billion incentive fund to reward states for raising the bar.