Obama: Boston School Is National Reform Model

By Jess Bidgood

Mar. 8, 2011

BOSTON — President Obama gave an upbeat speech in Boston Tuesday, lauding TechBoston Academy for its achievements in education — and emphasizing his commitment to education investment as Congress scales up efforts to cut the nation's budget deficit.

"It used to be that we didn't know how to turn around failing schools," Obama said, citing America's high-school dropout rate of almost 20 percent and falling rate of college-degree holders as impetus for reform.

President Obama talks to students during his visit to classrooms at TechBoston Academy with Melinda Gates, center, in Boston on Tuesday. On the right is teacher James Lewis. (AP)

"I wanted to come to TechBoston so that the rest of America can see how it's done," Obama said. "You guys are a model for what's happening all across the country."

The president lauded the Dorchester school for its use of technology, its commitment to a wide range of subjects and its long school days. He pointed to the school's high attendance and graduation rates as evidence of success.

"Students come here from some tough neighborhoods, and yet the graduation rate is almost 20 points higher than the rest of the city," Obama said. “Every day, TechBoston is proving that no matter who you are, what you look like, where you come from, every child can learn."

Obama called on educators, parents and students themselves to commit to education reform, elaborating the renewed focus on education he set out in his State of the Union address earlier this year.

The president called for new investments in educational technology, teacher recruitment and reform of the No Child Left Behind act, which allots some school funding based on test scores.

He linked a strong education system with a successful economy, acknowledging Congressional efforts to reduce the national deficit. "Even as we find ways to cut spending, we cannot cut back on job-creating investments like education," he said. "There's nothing responsible about cuttin back on our investment in these young people."

The president won't be in Boston long — but he does plan to attend a Democratic fundraiser Tuesday night.

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