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Obama Visits Tech High School in Texas



From VOA Learning English, this is the Education Report. An unusual high school in Texas recently welcomed a special visitor. President Obama visited Manor New Technology High School, near the city of Austin.

The high school seeks to help prepare students to meet the increasing demand for technology workers. It has gained national recognition for focusing on student projects in so-called STEM subjects: science, technology, engineering and mathematics.

Manor New Technology has 332 students. Sixty-eight percent are from ethnic or racial minorities. Fifty-two percent are from poor families. Across the country, students from poor families are more likely to have low educational levels and leave school. But the Texas school sent 97 percent of its graduates to college in 2011 and all of its graduates in 2012.

Most schools, however, do not have the financial support that Manor New Technology receives. It gets help from private organizations as well as state and federal funding. Technology schools are sometimes criticized for not paying enough attention to the arts and social sciences. But supporters say more money should go into STEM programs that will provide people with jobs.

University of Texas professor Jeremi Suri says workplace success depends on good communication and an ability to work well with others as a team. He says an understanding of cultures is important. For instance, some students at Manor New Technology High School reconstructed early Egyptian tools used to build pyramids. They learned about the engineering involved. But they also studied the social and cultural atmosphere of that time.

For VOA Special English, I'm Laurel Bowman.

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