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President Obama On Albany Avenue

Prospect Park has not seen anything like military helicopters, including Marine One, landing on the Great Lawn as President Barack Obama arrived to speak to the students at Pathways in Technology Early College High School housed in the Paul Robeson High School building.  The president was among friends in the borough that had given him eighty-two percent of the vote and was greeted by cheering crowds along the route and in front of the school.


Time Swampland reported that among his remarks, Obama called for additional investment in education and called for Congress to take a smarter approach to budgeting. “The question can’t be how much more we can cut,” Obama said. “It’s got to be how many more schools like P-TECH we can create.”

Taking a swipe at the recent government shutdown proponents he said, “I just sat in on a class called Real World Math, which got me thinking whether it’s too late to send Congress here”.

For some Obama’s visit was no more than a photo op, and a nod to Mayor Bloomberg’s efforts to “downsize” public schools.   Too bad, there was little thought on the part of the President to acknowledge the students of Paul Robeson H.S. which is slated for phase out by June 2014, according to the DOE web site.

The replacement scenario of 2011 outlined a gradual phase out process to include co-location of schools in this building where Robeson is located.  The site further says, “Based on an extensive review of data and community feedback, the New York City Department of Education (DOE) has determined that Paul Robeson High School (Robeson) is unable to turn around and cannot provide a high-quality education to its students. The DOE is proposing that Robeson be phased out. “


Earlier this week, an education expert at a Columbia University parents’ workshop said the worst of all of this is: children are told they are not good enough.  With IBM’s millions and folks on the level of the President, the Mayor and the community leaders saying “You can do better!”  what a difference it would make.

But we also understand that those Charter Schools get the head start from parents who are pushing to get their children a better situation.  It ultimately starts at home.  But there’s something not quite right when a school loses its bearing, and its good name goes the way of oblivion.

It’s easy to take a photo with the ones who shine.  But it’s a lot harder to find the gold in the field.  How meaningful it would have been if President Obama’s community affairs advisers had found a way for him to follow in the footsteps of Mandela.  There are some good things going on at Boys & Girls High School, less than a mile away.   (DG/BG)