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Obama Talks Tech

March 8, 2011

President Obama spoke about his "DARPA for education" plan in Boston on Tuesday, alongside Melinda Gates of the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation and Education Secretary Arne Duncan.

The event at the TechBoston Academy highlighted the school's successes and its potential to act as a model for other schools.

It's a tough act to follow. TechBoston Academy is a public school with a 94 percent graduation rate despite a grueling curriculum that includes including four years of science, four years of math (pre-calculus, calculus, or advanced placement calculus) and four years of technology.

Other courses offered include biotechnology, forensic science and entrepreneurship.

It was founded in September 2002 with the support of the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation and Boston Foundation.

"There is no better economic policy than one that produces more graduates," Obama said in written remarks prepared ahead of his trip to Boston. "That's why reforming education is the responsibility of every American - every parent, every teacher, every business leader, every public official, and every student."

Obama's 2012 budget calls for $90 million to create a new grant process called the Advanced Research Projects Agency - Education (ARPA-ED). The name echoes the more established Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency and the new program would encourage universities or other groups to bid for funding to create "dramatic breakthroughs" using technology to improve learning and teaching.

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