President and Mrs. Obama Visit D.C. Charter School

Washington, D.C.–(ENEWSPF)– “This kind of innovative school…is an example of how all our schools should be,” President Obama said yesterday, as he and Mrs. Obama visited a public charter school in Washington, D.C.

The President and First Lady read “The Moon Over Star,” a book by Dianna Hutts Aston, illustrated by Jerry Pinkey, to a second grade class at the Capital City Public Charter School. After finishing the book, they asked the students if they had any questions. The President fielded queries about pets (“We had a fish. I’ve got to admit the fish died”), why he wanted to become president (“to be able to help people”), and his favorite superheroes (“Spiderman and Batman”).

Less than 10 years old, the school serves 244 students in grades Pre-k through 8, and is widely regarded as one of the best schools in Washington.

“We’re very proud of what’s been accomplished at this school and we want to make sure that we’re duplicating that success all across the country,” the President said.

That task falls to Education Secretary Arne Duncan, who attended the event along with the President and First Lady. 

We sat down with Secretary Duncan to get to know him a little bit better and understand where he gets his passion. He told us that improving our schools isn’t just about education – it’s a matter of social justice.

Capital City Public Charter School
Washington, D.C. 
February 3, 2009

THE PRESIDENT:  Well, listen, you guys, you’ve been terrific.  Thank you so much for your hospitality —

MRS. OBAMA:  — your good questions. 

THE PRESIDENT:  — your excellent questions.

MRS. OBAMA:  — your outstanding listening skills.

THE PRESIDENT:  You’re excellent listeners.  And the reason we came to visit, A, we wanted to get out of the White House; B, we wanted to see you guys; but C, the other thing we wanted to tell everybody is that this kind of innovative school, the outstanding work that’s being done here by the entire staff, and the parents who are so active and involved, is an example of how all our schools should be. 

And what I’ve asked Arne Duncan to do is to make sure that he works as hard as he can over the next several years to make sure that we’re reforming our schools, that we’re rewarding innovation the way that it’s taking place here, that we’re encouraging parents to be involved, that we’re raising standards for all children so that everybody can learn — especially things like math and science that are going to be so important for the jobs of the future.

And so we’re very proud of what’s been accomplished at this school and we want to make sure that we’re duplicating that success all across the country.  So nothing is going to be more important than this.  And the recovery and reinvestment act that we’ve put forward will provide billions of dollars to build schools and help with school construction.  It will provide money to train teachers, especially in subjects like math and science that are so critical.  And it will also give Secretary Duncan the resources he needs to reward excellent, innovative schools.  And so we think it’s really important for the country that we get that bill passed.    

But thank you so much, everybody.  Appreciate you.

MRS. OBAMA:  Thank you, guys.  This was fun.  (Applause.)