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Obama Visits D.C. Elementary School, Speaks About Federal Budget

President Barack Obama sits with Emily Hare as she completes her spelling lessons during his visit to a preschool classroom at Powell Elementary School in the Petworth neighborhood.
(AP Photo/Pablo Martinez Monsivais)
President Barack Obama sits with Emily Hare as she completes her spelling lessons during his visit to a preschool classroom at Powell Elementary School in the Petworth neighborhood.

President Barack Obama visited Powell Elementary School in Petworth this morning, where he toured a classroom and delivered remarks on his 2015 budget proposal.

In the speech, Obama touted his $3.9 trillion budget, which he said would help bolster the economy by directing more money to road-building and education.

"As a country, we've got to make a decision if we're going to protect tax breaks for the wealthiest Americans or if we're going to make smart investments necessary to create jobs and grow our economy and expand opportunity for every American,'' he said at the school.

Powell Elementary has seen rapid growth in recent years, growing from 211 students in 2009 to over 400 this school year. It serves a predominantly Hispanic student body, and 99 percent of students received free or reduced-price lunches. Math and reading scores have risen in recent years.

The school also has daylong preschool programs for three-year-olds, which Obama has said should be adopted and funded nationwide.

In January, Education Secretary Arne Duncan singled out the city's public school system for posting large gains on math and reading tests.

In 2010, Obama and First Lady Michelle Obama signed a bill providing funding for school meals at Harriet Tubman Elementary School in Columbia Heights. In 2009, he visited Capital City Charter School and the SEED School.

President Clinton visited two public schools while he was in office — Kramer Middle School in 1994 and Garrison Elementary in 1997 — while President George W. Bush stopped in at KIPP's Key Academy in 2003.

In September 2013, Michelle Obama visited Orr Elementary School in Southeast D.C., where she spoke on healthy eating habits and exercise for children.

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