Bell Multicultural High School Welcomes Obama for Town Hall on DREAM Act, Education

Flickr: United States Government Work

No wonder Irving Street was blocked off this morning! The President visited Bell Multicultural High School in Columbia Heights, for a town hall meeting on education that will air tonight on Univision. The Chancellor for D.C. schools, Kaya Henderson was also there, along with Secretary of Education Arne Duncan and Juan Sepulveda, head of the White House Initiative on Educational Excellence for Hispanics.

According to pool reports, the President was greeted by enthusiastic cheers from students and parents as he took the stage. The President answered questions from the audience and via pre-taped video about the role of parents in education, the DREAM act, technology and more. However, the first question, from the event’s moderator, Univision anchor Jorge Ramos, was about Libya. The President briefly answered that U.S. involvement there would be limited before adding that he would address the issue later tonight (tune in to WAMU 88.5 at 7 p.m., for NPR’s full coverage of the event).

After watching a video question from a female student who was holding up a deportation letter, the President said that he strongly supports the DREAM Act: “We’ve got to keep the pressure up on Congress”. Obama stated that it was not appropriate to give undocumented workers “temporary protected status” and he clarified that it was not possible to suspend deportations by executive order.

Bell High School principal Maria Tukeva asked the president about encouraging minorities to enter teaching, to which the President replied, “We’re trying to constantly elevate teaching as a profession”, before suggesting that we recruit future teachers from historically black colleges and universities.

When asked about the role of parents in education, the President said that they were the “single most important factor in determining whether a child will succeed.”

After the event ended, the President worked his way through the room before leaving Columbia Heights.

  • Anjali

    The university student leaders of One World Youth Project are currently working at Bell Multicultural High School, the very High School that Obama held this speech, embodying the type of global learning that Obama speaks about. Students from Georgetown University are linking Bell classrooms with high school classrooms in Kosovo and Qatar via a four-unit curriculum that guides students through cultural exchange, global awareness, community mapping, and service-learning.

    Click here to view a short video of the connection between Bell Multicultural High School and High Schools in Kosovo: a prime example of global learning: