WASHINGTON — 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.
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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.
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