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President Obama to Visit Washington-Lee Students

by Katie Pyzyk | May 2, 2012 at 2:30 pm | 3,872 views | 121 Comments

President Obama is going to visit with students at Washington-Lee High School on Friday.

The President will be focusing on the need to prevent interest rates on federally subsidized student loans from doubling. If Congress does not act, the loan rate will double on July 1, from 3.4 percent to 6.8 percent. Both he and Republican presidential hopeful Mitt Romney have said that action needs to be taken to prevent that from happening.

President Obama is scheduled to hold a roundtable discussion on the issue with graduating W-L seniors and their parents. He will then deliver prepared remarks to the junior and senior classes on “the importance of their having a fair shot at an affordable higher education and the skills they need to find a good job,” according to the White House.

The public will not be able to attend the lunchtime event. The Arlington County Police Department will be helping to direct traffic in the area during the presidential visit.

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  • novasteve

    I’m guessing w&l has a LOT of students over 18, right?

    • drax

      How dare a politician running for office do things that are popular and get votes for it!

      • Elmer

        Yes, and some dare call it pandering!

        • drax

          Pandering is the job of a politician. That’s the point, Elmer.

          • Elmer

            “Pandering is the job of a politician”?
            I get it, drax. An admission against interest.

    • Hope

      I don’t think he really needs the 18 year old vote in Arlington, so I doubt that was a consideration.

    • austin Dalton

      no, not really. Out of the crowds i hang out with, only 8 of us are 18+

    • Rosemary

      It’s a honor to be able to have the PRESIDENT of the UNITED STATES visit our school .In fact is a once in a lifetime opportunity for myself and Washington-Lee students alike. WELCOME, Mr. PRESIDENT !!!

  • DarkHeart

    He didn’t win his Senate seat by spending time in hicksvillinois.

  • SMR

    I’m guessing those students have parents who may be swing voters in a swing state, and would be considered about the possibility of risking student loan costs. This isn’t controversial though. Romney supports the same thing. He already shook up the etch-a-sketch on this one.

  • Patrick

    The House already did act. Instead of doing yet another campaign event perhaps President Obama should call Senator Reid and have him schedule a vote on a bill.

    • SallySmokeStacks

      The House can’t decide anything on its own, and they already knew that the Senate planned to vote on it when Congress returns from break next week. They also know that the Senate version “has a different funding plan…the sides will need to hash out the differences” (meaning that word they hate to hear, “compromise”).

    • drax

      You know it’s not that easy, Patrick.

      Or maybe you don’t.

    • Elmer

      You mean like have him schedule a vote on the budget. I’m waiting, and waiting, and waiting, and waiting.

  • drax

    The voters at the school are irrelevant. This school was chosen because it’s near the White House. He plans to make national news, not just local.

    • Elmer

      Agreed, and that makes it national pandering, not just local pandering.

      • drax

        So what?

      • Robert

        And your point?

    • Nadia

      That’s completely wrong. He’s talking about college loans and the importance of our generation to attend college. Who better to talk about loans for college than the students who will be in college within the following year. He attended our rival school, Wakefield; which may I add is located in South Arlington. No matter where the president goes he will make national news… for god sake hes the president

  • Jon

    Please pick some other jurisdiction to mess up traffic, far away from Arlington. Visit a high school in Afghanistan. Another event only VIPs will be able to attend like the VIP event for the Boeing 787 arrival at the airport.

    • Josh S

      This is me, bowing down before the almighty Traffic.

      _/\o_ TRAFFIC

      Now everybody! Bow down!

      • Done and Done

        I think we could forgive him messing up traffic *IF* he can comprehensively address the jobs situation in Arlington – new/new vs. old/new vs. new/old vs. old/old vs. relocated/virtual.

        Maybe just maybe he’s here to address the drought in Donaldson Run

        Is it true that Sam’s Corner is providing the catering? Karzai’s next-door-neighbor told me so when we were there for today’s special

        • nom de guerre

          I had also heard that Sam’s Corner would be the event caterer. I also understand that Arlington County plans to lobby Obama for funding to enhance the fire department’s swift water rescue capabilities in Donaldson Run.

          • Tabs

            With eau de Four Mile Run-infused cupcakes as feature dessert.

    • SouthArlJD

      Yeah, VIPs like the graduating seniors and their parents. How dare he talk to regular students and their parents at a public high school! I don’t have a problem with him coming here. It’s fun to have the President dropping in on one’s stomping grounds notwithstanding the occasional traffic disruption.

  • KalashniKEV

    Is he going to “slow jam” it to them?

    “You should staaaaaaay in school forever because there aint gonna be nooooooooo jobs…. *JOBS!*”

    • drax
      • Zoning Victim

        Too bad we needed to create 4.8 million jobs in that period of time just to break even on the new job seekers attempting to enter the workforce and most of the jobs that were created are either temporary, low paying or both. Obviously, it’s better than no or negative job growth, but it’s not really anything to get excited about.

        There was a really interesting interview about the student loan situation on WTOP this morning. The interviewee likened the kids (students) to homeowners and the guidance counselors and student loan makers to the predatory mortgage companies that caused the housing crisis. He said that there are people who are in the 80s that still can’t pay their student loans because when they were 17 nobody told them the degree they were going for wouldn’t make them enough money to pay back their college tuition.

        He made some good points about how guidance counselors and loan providers never tell kids that they aren’t going to make squat with a liberal arts or English degree and that a lot of degrees will never pay off for them if they go to a private college because the tuition is so high. There are people with law degrees moving back in with their parents, he said, because they can’t afford their student loan payments with the staff job they ended up getting.

        He was talking about excusing student debt for those duped just like we have done with the mortgage fiasco. Obviously, I don’t agree with that, but it was very interesting and certainly worth a listen for anybody who wants a better perspective on the student loan problem in this country.

        • drax

          What a long response.

          Yeah, I’ll take constant, if slow, job growth over job losses any day.

  • http://Maddlibbs.com Maddlibbs

    As a Washington-Lee student, I can report that the entire student body is excited.

    • Scott

      Very cool for the kids & teachers

    • AllenB

      That’s great… I would be too.

      You’ll have to excuse the negative types on here. They’re just bitter that life has apparently passed them by.

    • anon

      I voted for the Pres., but as the parent of a W-L student, I’d rather not have the interruption to the learning process for what is – in fact, if not legally – a speech intended to push his agenda. And, Maddlibbs, would you be as excited to have a visit by a president you didn’t support?

      • WeiQiang

        If by “agenda” you mean “that legislation that is not yet passed by both houses, or funded by the unpassed legislation, or signed by him”, then I’m failing to understand why the guy who has to sign the legislation yet to be sent to him wouldn’t legally be entitled to opine on it.

        • Anon

          Interesting, WeiQiang. I did not write that he is not legally entitled to opine. Any other straw men you’d like to raise?

          • jackson

            I can tell you, Anon, that when I was in high school, I went to see George HW Bush speak at an outdoor event, and yes, I was excited, even though I consider myself more left leaning on many issues. Seeing the most powerful person in the free world is pretty cool when you’re that age, when you haven’t yet become a dour cynic.

          • Anon

            I agree – it will be exciting and cool for many kids. That still doesn’t make it educational. And, the fact that APS is inviting parents of seniors – instead of adding more kids (the event is only for juniors and seniors) supports my view that this is not an education motivated event. Rather than hurl invectives, stick to facts on which to base your opinions.

          • Anon

            The “fact” that seeing the President of the United States speak is not educational is (in fact) your opinion. And not well supported by logic.

          • Josh S

            Doesn’t make it educational?

            What is your definition of “educational?” Filling out one more worksheet? Maybe a group presentation by your extremely unprepared and uncaring classmates? How about a day in the library “researching” for that report on how mummies are made?

          • Liberal Arts

            You have a rather narrow view of what is educational.

            Besides, the freshmen and sophomores (and their parents) will get their chance in 2014 to hear President Obama speak in front of them on some issue or another.

            Perhaps in his next four years he will venture forth to Wakefield, Yorktown and O’Connell as well.

          • anon

            The point, Liberal Arts, is not that freshman and sophomores didn’t hear him, it’s that the school choose to have parents – instead of students – hear him. If APS were motivated by education, it would have chosen students over parents.

          • WeiQiang

            ” … if not legally – a speech intended to push his agenda.” His speech isn’t legal? Since there is no law modifying the student load rates, his perspective would be his opinion, no?

          • Anon

            Selective quotations. The last refuge of scoundrels….

            Try again.

      • SouthArlJD

        Oh please. As the parent of three now-former high school students I can guarantee you they’re likely to learn far more from having something as exciting as a presidential visit one morning than they are the rest of the week. This is the type of thing which can interest a kid in following current events and topics of critical interest to ALL Americans. I teach part time at NoVa and am always flabbergasted at how ignorant many of my students are about politics and current events and how legislation works or why it affects them. Good for the President.

        • anon

          Wow. That doesn’t say much for WL but, okay, you’re entitled to your opinion on the quality of education there….

          • drax

            It is quite normal for high school kids to learn more about things they are excited about and see first-hand.

            Try again.

          • Anon

            They may be excited about watching The Avengers. That doesn’t make it educational.

            Try again.

          • jackson

            There is no “try again.” You have an agenda, and I have to assume that if Bush went there in 2003 you’d have been on board.

            If you honestly think a student is going to remember a normal day of classes in two years over remembering seeing the president in 10 years, you are deluded. And ability to recall is a hallmark of something being educational.

      • Tabs

        I would!

      • anonymous

        As a student of WL I can say that although I do not support Obama’s campaign the issue of affordable post secondary education is relevant to all students and not just Obama supporters. Romney has announced his commitment to the issue as well and I am eager to hear Obama speak regardless of who I plan to vote for in November. Although this takes away from instructional time it is important for students to be aware of current events issues and topics, particularly if they are affected by the issue. As a senior going to college next fall this is of utmost importance to me.

      • Josh S

        Holy Cow, really? Another day of brain-numbing SOL review versus a chance to be in the same room with the President of the United States? And he will likely shake a bunch of hands, pose for some pictures, etc.

        Versus one more day of same old same old?

        Yeesh.

    • Bruce

      The “entire” student body? An overstatement, at best. Asked 2 kids in my neighborhood (students at WL) and…..they really didn’t care.

  • Maddlibbs

    anon: YES! Any sitting President of the U.S.A. is a big deal, regardless of political affiliation.

    • Forward

      I would much prefer the President’s visit to all the other things that interrupt the learning process – stupid movies instead of teaching for example, or teachers who apparently hate kids. My kid goes to W-L and loves it, and there is a lot of learning going on aside from the usual complaints, but a presidential visit? Way cool…..

      • anon

        Way cool; yes. Learning; no. But I agree on the movies and teachers who hate kids.

        • CMo

          When I was a kid President Ford visited our school, complete with the marching band playing the national anthem. Way cool. Plus, we all talked about the issues facing the nation and how the Repubs and Dems positions differed on the way to address those issues. No soundbites, but a fair and frank exchange of ideas meant to inform and educate, The experience led me to pursue a career in government (which I abandoned once I appreciated how negative and counterproductive the election process was). The positive experience politely debating issues has stayed with me to today (even if our elected officials can’t seem to get away from campaigning 24/7). Maybe if we stopped gerrymandering and made Congressional terms greater than 2 years folks would actually do some governing?

        • PikeMan

          hearing the President of the US talk and express his view on an issue isn’t considered learning? aside from the inherent value of hearing a major world leader speak in person, regardless of whether or not you agree with them, you honestly don’t think that’s is going to spark a lot of conversations inside and outside the classroom?

          • Tabs

            +300 million.

          • anon

            Hearing one side of any view is not learning. And, I’d be much more inclined to think that APS viewed this as a learning opportunity if they allowed more students and didn’t, instead, open up attendance to parents of seniors. That’s a very telling move on the part of APS.

          • PikeMan

            “Hearing one side of any view is not learning.”

            what an incredibly limited view on learning… listening to new ideas and learning to think critically about them is the entire point of education (unless of course you’re just looking for teachers to check curriculum items off of a list, but I would argue that is a far less effective take on learning in the long run).

            there’s a unique educational opportunity here if students and parents choose to take advantage of and actually engage their students.

          • jackson

            So I guess you support making students learn about creationism and the bible in biology classes? Gotta get every side before the kids can make an informed decision!

          • Robert

            In that case just about every single class is not learning by your definition then.

          • Anon

            Actually, Robert and PikeMan, you support my position. Far too often, classes are engaged in routine memorization of acts because of high stakes testing. There’s not enough critical analysis in school. And, no jackson, I don’t believe that religion should be taught in biology. Nice try, though.

          • Anon

            Actually, most of what you all write supports my position. Too often, classes are engaged in routine memorization of facts because of high stakes testing. There’s not enough critical analysis in school. And, no, I don’t believe that religion should be taught in biology. Nice try, though.

          • WeiQiang

            Ahhhh, the “critical analysis” tripe. Isn’t this the substance of the TN law? Methinks you should reconsider your criticism of WL students, teachers, the system and the President. This is all redux of creationism, intelligent design, and rest of the buck that can’t stand up to the scientific method.

          • drax

            “Hearing one side of any view is not learning.”

            So true. I demand that students learn about how the Flying Spaghetti Monster created the world with a touch from His Noodly Appendage!

          • Josh S

            I’m wondering if there is anything that schools teach in grades K-5, for example, that would involve more than one side? I mean, the capital of California is Sacramento, no matter whose point of view we are considering, right?

            Nevertheless, I’d argue that the most learning that any kid experiences in public schools happens in those first six years.

          • Hmmm

            I didn’t really become proficient with integral calculus till the eighth grade………

    • WeiQiang

      +44

    • anon

      Good to hear.

  • TJLinBallston

    I’m always proud when any president, from either party, visits Arlington, even when it’s brazenly political and self-serving, because it makes Arlington look good on the national news. Slowly but surely, we are evolving into a premium, or first-tier urban area. Besides, Obama’s clearly just a one-termer. Let’s hope President Romney visits Arlington more often.

    • Gus Bus

      lol, Republicans in Arlington.

      • LOL

        LOL Obama one-termer!

        • Zoning Victim

          I don’t like Obama’s policies one bit, but you’re dreaming; even Republicans don’t like Romney.

      • ART Bus

        There are 2 on my street. Rare species, indeed!

    • Robert

      I always have to remember to the average American and then remember half of the country is more stupid than they are…

      • drax

        “average American” is singular but “they” refers to the plural.

        Bash people’s intelligence and you open yourself for bashing.

        • Hmmm

          “Bash people’s intelligence and you open yourself for bashing.”

          Kind of hoisted on your petard there Drax…….

          Think about it…..

  • Larry

    I live in Cherrydale and needed an excuse to take a Friday off and head for the beach. All this guy does is run his mouth, when he’s not throwing one group or another under the bus. He’s visiting Arlington so he can get re-elected and run his mouth for four more years.

  • Jewel M.

    I’m at senior that goes to Washington-Lee and I will be listening to the president speak. I think its good that his coming to speak to my school. what you guys fail to realize is that he is coming to speak to the future of this country. The election effect the youth just as much as it effects you. People say my generation is lost and doesn’t know anything about politics, we wont know unless we are informed which it seems like most of you don’t want us to be, therefore we will continue to be lost. so thanks for handing me my future.

    • Tabs

      Who says that?

      Your grammar needs a lot of work. That’s for sure.

      “I’m a senior WHO goes to W-L and I will be listening to the President speak. I think THAT IT’S good that HE’S coming to speak to my school…The election will AFFECT…youth…as much as it AFFECTS you.”

      The rest is just blah-blah-blah; get over yourself.

      • AllenB

        You’re a real piece of work, Tabs. How bitter can you be to pick fights with high school students on blogs?

        • Allenb is mad at the world

          You seem to go out of your way to pick fights with any and all….

          • Tabs

            Thanks.

          • AllenB

            And no answer from the Tabs. Typical meanspiritedness from you. Do you ever post anything positive?

          • AllenB

            I’ve probably picked fights with 4 or 5 total on here… only where their ignorance and snarkiness deserves it.

            And yes, I’ll include you in that group.

      • Done and Done

        +1.9 GPA (APS adjusted to 4.1 just so they still feel good about themselves). I’m not sure which is more offensive – Jewel’s grammar or Allen attacking you for calling her out.

        • jackson

          Elbows off the table as you type about your easily offended sensibilities, Done and Done.

        • Tabs

          Thanks. I should have focused on disabusing Jewel of her belief that we older folks think hers is a “lost generation” yada yada.

      • Robert

        OH I forgot about the strict grammar rules on a comment in a blog! Jesus christ my man, it’s a damn comment box.

        • Tabs

          I’m naive (or hopeful) enough to believe that people can learn to write.

          • drax

            She made a few minor mistakes in style, which are common even among adults who have graduated from high school already, but she wrote well, expressing her ideas, which were intelligent and thoughtful, using complex language.

            Style isn’t substance.

    • Arlwhenver

      The only thing you need to know is $16 trillion and counting. That’s the debt that Barack Obama and his minions in Washington are bequeathing to your generation, a debt that is dwarfed by unbooked, unfunded obligations for entitlement programs. He won’t be talking about any of that, so don’t waste your time listening.

      • drax

        As if it’s all Obama’s fault.

    • drax

      Don’t listen to the bitter jerks, Jewel.

  • Gus Bus

    I’m a junior at W-L.
    Wow! As an IB student, I guess I’ll be feeling real smug as Obama tells us we need “to work as hard as possible, get well-paid and respectable careers,” etc.
    :D

    • Tabs

      Will you?

      I don’t recommend it.

  • Alex

    He’s a good president who appreciates what it takes to build for the future over the long term. He’s not about quick-fix easy-buck profit-taking like some leaders are. Bravo for Obama and W-L High School!

  • Roger

    In fact, last group Obama Administration threw under the bus were the kids who work as farm laborers. Labor Department safety regulations got trashed so Agribusiness wouldn’t be offended.

    • drax

      “Agribusiness?” “Offended?” More like family farms complained that they’d be put out of business. I don’t necessarily agree with his actions, but your description is completely unfair.

      • Roger

        At least a hundred thousand children work in agribusiness and not on family farms. At least a hundred thousand children work on a farm owned by someone they are not related to. Labor Department spent years developing regulations to protect them. No matter. Got tossed under the bus by Obama anyway.

        • drax

          Where’d you get those numbers?

          Do you really believe agribusiness is desperate to employ children? Are children vital to their labor pool? Are they paid less than adults?

          Show me where agribusiness has said these regulations would hurt their farms.

          The solution was easy – simply exempt family farms. But the Obama Admin didn’t want to do that because it believed all children deserve protection. Rather than compromise or deal with a long hard fight in order to cover family farms, it withdrew the rulemaking.

          That had nothing to do with agribusiness opposition.

          • Roger

            Agribusiness employs entire families in it’s labor pool. You are ignorant of the economics of 21st Century American agriculture. Tea Party Republicans in Congress pushed legislation repealing carefully crafted regulations that would prevent child injuries and deaths in agribusiness. Obama Administration threw the children under the bus.

          • drax

            You completely failed to answer my questions. I want evidence for your claims.

          • Roger

            The legislation and regulations are so ubiquitous you can find out yourself by doing a Web search.

      • Josh S

        Why?

        “Family farms” are few and far between. Pretty much any time national farm policy is being discussed, we’re talking about corporate farms. My understanding of domestic agriculture doesn’t extend down to the details of this particular subject, but I know that much and so I tend to believe what Roger is saying.

        But I’m willing to learn. Can you explain why this characterization is unfair?

        • drax

          Do corporate farms employ alot of children?

          • Roger

            Do some on-line research about America’s agricultural economy. Agribusiness is engaged in the 21st Century equivalent of sharecropping. Children employed in various ways by Agribusiness are latest to be thrown under the bus by the Obama Administration. Next will be college students who have taken out student loans.

  • Rebecca Pettinelli

    Honored that President Obama will visit my Alma Mater!
    Very exciting! !!

  • drax

    This thread is more proof that people will find any reason to bash someone they don’t like politically, no matter how stupid.

  • Keisha

    We need at least 10 more classrooms at W-L. We will get an expensive baseball field. And the school system’s offices are next door to the school. Oh, school system is spending millions a year to rent space for new offices for do-nothing staff. School system functions like the Obama Administration.

    • Robert

      I think you mean like the modernized world… not just this country.

  • nota gain

    The loans are a joke and many are not paid back. There should be a condition(s) for the loan such as serving in the military, holding the parents responsible for half of the loan, keeping a high grade average or not having the loans at all. Many grads believe that their parents’ or the government owes them their education.

    • Devil’s Advocate

      Why shouldn’t students feel that the government should provide them with a college education?

      • drax

        A loan isn’t “providing.”

        • Devil’s Advocate

          Exactly. Why shouldn’t the government provide, a la the French, a higher education for free?

  • Tom

    This whole issue is a fabricated political ploy by obama and the democrats. The student loan interest rate is scheduled to raise because the Democrats forced it through years ago so that it will be scheduled to go up in this election year, and they could demonize their opponents as usual and falsely accuse them of wanting it to raise. It was created to use as a wedge issue towards the election.

    • drax

      So you’re saying that the GOP just as eagerly supports keeping the rates low? So much that they aren’t using it as a political hostage to squeeze other priorities, like disease prevention programs, from Obama?

      Sure. Fabricated political ploy.

    • And now for something completely unrelated…

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  • Billy Bob o.O

    GOOOO WAKEFIELD HE ALREADY CAME TWICE LALALAL :D

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