Second-graders brighten Obama's Daschle-dashed day
A mid-afternoon visit to a second-grade classroom must have brightened what was a tough day for President Obama.Skip to next paragraph
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Barack and Michelle Obama climbed into their limo Tuesday shortly after the news broke that presidential friend and political mentor Tom Daschle was dropping out of contention for the post of secretary of Health and Human Services due to tax troubles.
School officials knew the president and first lady would visit, but the destination was kept secret from the press and public until the motorcade arrived at the school.
Tired of the White House
In explaining his visit to the class, the president said, “We were just tired of being in the White House.” Only the hardest of hearts could fail to sense the joy in the faces of the 25 admiring children who greeted the Obamas.
The first couple entered the white-walled, blue-carpeted classroom with the president saying, “Hello, everybody.” Education Secretary Arne Duncan trailed them into the classroom.
Mr. Obama, dressed in a blue suit, white shirt, and blue tie, walked around the classroom shaking hands saying, “Good to see you guys.” After shaking a number of students’ hands, he asked, “Did I get everybody?” No, was the reply. So more handshaking ensued.
Finally, the president and Mrs. Obama sat in green plastic chairs in front of the class. “Thank you for having us,” Mr. Obama said. He then recognized various school officials. Mrs. Obama, dressed in a black outfit and tall black boots, led the applause for the school’s principal. When the kids faltered in giving their teacher’s name, Mrs. Obama jokingly chided that they were “falling down on the job on that one.”
A presidential quip
In helping explain their visit, Mrs. Obama pointed out that,“Sasha is our second-grader." The president quipped that it is “quite a coincidence you are the same age.” Mrs. Obama asked for each student to each give his or her name.
According to the White House, the charter school was founded in 2000 by a group of Washington public school parents working with teachers and other education professionals interested in reform. The building the Obamas visited serves 244 students in Grades Pre-K through 8. The student body is 39 percent African-American, 24 percent Latino, and 34 percent white. More than half the students qualify for reduced-price lunch. Student achievement in the school ranks in the top one-third of D.C. public schools.
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