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Obama Passes On High Tech High

A San Diego charter high school today fell short in its effort to have President Barack Obama deliver its commencement address.

High Tech High International, part of the High Tech High schools in Liberty Station, was one of three finalists in the 2011 Race to the Top High School Commencement Challenge.

But the top prize -- a visit from Obama -- was Booker T. Washington High School of Memphis, which raised its graduation rate from 55 percent in 2007 to 81.6 percent last year, the White House announced.

When the competition was narrowed to a field of six, HTHI was the only school west of Tennessee to be included. It was chosen for creativity in engaging and supporting students, academic results and progress in preparing students to succeed in college and be ready for a career.

Those six schools produced videos that were placed on the White House website, and voting by the public narrowed the field to three. The president made the final decision.

"I'm so proud of the schools that participated in this year's commencement challenge and I want to thank all of them for their hard work and dedication," Obama said.

Another administration official is expected to speak at HTHI's graduation ceremony as a consolation.

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Avatar for user 'JustKristin'

JustKristin | May 11, 2011 at 5:35 p.m. ― 5 years, 10 months ago

"Obama Passes On High Tech High"? "A San Diego charter high school today fell short in its effort..."?

I am sad to see that, of all news outlets, KPBS has missed the point of President Obama's Commencement Challenge. The seniors at HTHI did not get "passed on", nor did they "fall short". The final results of the President's challenge can be looked at from a realistic standpoint, which would put the deliberations of the Administration well beyond the realm of a simplistic rating of one school as "best", or from an idealistic vantage, in which all the schools involved can be said to have "won" simply by going through the edifying process of deeply considering their education and discovering how it is both excellent and improvable.

To make it sound like the President has voted HTHI off some competitive island is to insult the purpose of the challenge - note it is called a "challenge" and not a "competition". Furthermore, to insinuate that the students of HTHI have somehow failed is to belittle all they and their teachers have accomplished. They have not fallen short, but risen above.

I assume that, as professional journalists and writers, you can come up with more appropriate wording than that used in this article. A bit of respect for all those involved, then. Both the Commencement Challenge and the students of HTHI deserve it.

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