BOSTON — Arguing that good public education can thrive even in troubled neighborhoods, President Barack Obama showcased a school in a working-class Boston neighborhood Tuesday that turned around its graduation rate thanks to new flexibility for its leaders and plenty of help from private foundations.
Obama visited TechBoston Academy in Boston's Dorcester neighborhood with philanthropist Melinda Gates in the latest stop on his month-long push for an education agenda aimed at garnering bipartisan support for more flexibility and accountability for teachers, and more innovative standards for students.
The quick trip also had a political subtext, like most things on the president's agenda now that the 2012 election is approaching. Boston is a Democratic stronghold with a strong donor base and Obama was coupling his education speech with a dinner to raise money for House Democrats.
TechBoston, a public school operating under a pilot program, opened in 2002 with money from the foundation funded by Melinda and her husband Bill Gates, the billionaire co-founder of Microsoft. It has made big strides academically through combined efforts of government, businesses, philanthropists and community groups.