30 Mar Obama Calls for Tougher Standards, More Funding for Education (MA)March 30, 2011
By: Peter Schworm and Michael LevensonSource: Boston Globe
Speaking at a Dorchester high school today, President Obama called for a combination of tougher standards and increased spending to improve the nation’s public schools and prepare students for a technology-driven world.
"A budget that sacrifices our commitment to education is a budget that sacrifices our country’s future," he said at TechBoston Academy, a pilot school that Obama praised as a national model for its rigorous coursework and "culture of effective teaching."
Greeted by screaming applause, Obama said schools like TechBoston "smash the old prejudices about what low-income and minority students can achieve," and said all children should be able to attend strong schools.
“No child’s chance in life should be determined by the luck of a lottery,” he said. “Not in this country."
Standing before a blue background with the catch phrase "Winning the Future," Obama said too many students are dropping out of high school, or graduating without the necessary skills to succeed.
"That’s not acceptable," he said. "The most effective way to create jobs in this country is to change those statistics.”
Obama said that schools must be held to strict standards, but that more funding is also crucial. Students at TechBoston, he noted, are given personal laptop computers, which "open a window for learning."
He noted that TechBoston students are required to take four years of math, science, and technology, and often go to school in the summer.
"The results have been powerful," he said.
Obama’s whirlwind visit to Boston was also expected to include a Democratic fund-raiser at the Museum of Fine Arts tonight.
Air Force One landed at Logan International Airport at 2:25 p.m. About 10 minutes after landing, Obama exited the plane, pointing to Boston Mayor Thomas M. Menino as he descended the stairs. Obama appeared to make a joke about Menino’s recent leg injury, which Menino acknowledged with a smile and a jaunty lift of his cane.
Once on the tarmac, Obama gave Menino a hearty handshake and pat on the shoulder and greeted US Representative Edward Markey.
Obama then met about 50 friends and relatives of Secret Service agents and Air Force One crew standing behind a metal barricade on the tarmac. Obama shook hands as the crowd snapped photos before he was whisked off in a black Cadillac to the school.
Obama’s budget calls for $90 million for a new grant competition to promote the use of technology in education, and $300 million in grants for projects in math, science, and engineering.
The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation and The Boston Foundation helped provide seed money to launch TechBoston, whose graduation rate of 83 percent is significantly higher than most city schools.
Most students are from low-income families, and many are children of immigrants.
While anticipation at TechBoston was high, the president’s policies drew flak in East Boston this morning, at a protest organized by some of his fellow Democrats. Former Representative Joseph P. Kennedy II, along with current Representatives Edward J. Markey, Michael Capuano, and James McGovern, called a news conference to protest the administration’s proposed cut in heating assistance.
Obama has proposed cutting the program’s $5.1 billion budget by $2.5 billion.
House minority leader Nancy Pelosi labeled the evening gathering at the museum in an email as "an unforgettable evening with President Obama and leading Democrats from across America."
& #x0A;"It is critical that we show the world how strongly we support President Obama’s bold vision to encourage innovation and invest in America’s future," she added.