News Column

Obama: U.S. Education Renaissance Possible

March 8, 2011

U.S. students can be the world's best if philanthropy, business, government and educators join hands, President Obama will say Tuesday, the White House said.

In remarks prepared for delivery during a visit to a pilot public high school in Boston specializing in technology and college preparation, the president will say success will require fundamental education reforms that will also need local community support.

U.S. Education Secretary Arne Duncan and Melinda Gates of the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation will accompany Obama on the visit to the TechBoston Academy.

The school, founded in 2002 with Gates foundation support, offers students in grades 6-12 a college-preparatory curriculum. It has middle and high school campuses.

The president will visit the upper campus, which educates students in grades 10-12.

The school has numerous private-sector, non-profit and higher-education partners, including Apple Inc.; Cisco Systems Inc.; Dell Inc.; Harvard University; Hewlett-Packard Co.; IBM Corp.; Microsoft Corp.; Tufts University; the University of Massachusetts Boston; and Year Up, a high-tech job-training and internship program.

Obama chose TechBoston for the visit "because it blends technology into the classroom, offers rigorous academic programs and urges students to take courses at local colleges," the White House said.

TechBoston's first class graduated in 2006, with 92 percent of the graduating class going to college, compared with 63 percent of Boston public school graduates in general.

Last year 93 percent of its graduates went to college, compared with 61 percent of Boston public school students, TechBoston said. The 66 graduates received more than $2 million in scholarships and financial aid.

Obama will talk with students and teachers during classroom visits and then give a talk to the faculty and student body, the White House said.

"There is no better economic policy than one that produces more graduates," a partial transcript of Obama's remarks indicated he would say. "That's why reforming education is the responsibility of every American -- every parent, every teacher, every business leader, every public official and every student."

Fostering "a college-going culture and experience" for students, including opportunities to earn college credits while in high school, is also critical to making U.S. students the best educated in the world, Obama is also expected to say.

In the evening, Obama will attend a Democratic Party fundraising dinner at Boston's Museum of Fine Arts.

Source: Copyright United Press International 2011

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