Obama’s Visit Gives Metro Schools A Boost

Students made up most of the crowd at McGavock High School. Politicians also got an invite, though primarily Democrats came. They included former Vice President Al Gore. Credit: Stephen Jerkins

Students made up most of the crowd at McGavock High School. Politicians also got an invite, though primarily Democrats came. They included former Vice President Al Gore. Credit: Stephen Jerkins

Metro schools have sometimes struggled with a reputation, but they got a big lift Thursday when President Obama came to Nashville.  In a speech at McGavock High, Obama said he wants to “encourage more high schools to do what you are doing.”

Mr. Obama said Tennessee’s schools are the fastest improving nationally.  And he pointed to Metro’s graduation rate, up sharply over the last decade, as well as to the Academies program, which urges students to develop career specialties in high school.

“Now, every community is different, with different needs, different approaches. But if Nashville can bring schools and teachers and businesses and parents together for the sake of our young people, then other places can,” Mr. Obama said.

That’s not to suggest everything’s perfect at McGavock; the school’s composite ACT last year was about 18—a test score that’d make it hard to get into some state colleges.  Still, when the president flies in to say you’re doing something right, Metro curriculum head Jay Steele says, it’s a boost:

“Sometimes the people here in the city don’t even see it, so it is rewarding when the president—you can’t get any better than that—when the president acknowledges it.”

President Obama stopped in Nashville to wrap up a brief stint touting his State of the Union agenda.


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