Obamas to visit Miami-Dade's Coral Reef High School on Friday

 

dsmiley@MiamiHerald.com

President Barack Obama will arrive Friday in South Florida, where he plans to give a speech at Coral Reef Senior High School on how the country’s future economic success hinges on the quality of its education.

Obama, who will visit the Richmond Heights school with first lady Michelle Obama, is expected to make an announcement about an executive action related to higher education. His 1 p.m. appearance at the school comes days after he released a budget promoting the redesign of high schools, which the “mega-magnet” Coral Reef and Miami-Dade schools have embraced.

Obama also continues to tout wireless access in schools, something Miami-Dade schools expanded districtwide through a bond initiative approved by voters. And the district is a major proponent of the president’s Race to the Top grant program.

“There are a lot of good things happening at this school, and in this particular district,” said Cecilia Muñoz, director of the White House’s Domestic Policy Council.

The details of Obama’s South Florida visit have been guarded, but rumors of his visit began to surface this week. Students, including hundreds of senior citizens who will listen to Obama speak, have been told to leave book bags and large purses at home. The office of U.S. Rep. Frederica Wilson, D-Miami, who will travel aboard Air Force One and accompany the Obamas during the school visit, said the event would be well-attended by members of the 5000 Role Models of Excellence mentoring program for young black men.

While the Obamas’ visit to Miami-Dade appears to have a domestic agenda, it comes amid international turmoil. U.S. Sen. Marco Rubio, R-Fla., on Thursday called on Obama to pay greater attention to the escalating violence in Venezuela, and Lt. Gov. Carlos Lopez-Cantera urged the president to use his visit to Miami to “shine a light on the crisis.”

Meanwhile, the president’s staff has said he might have to cut short weekend plans with his family in South Florida — perhaps including a stay at the posh Ocean Reef Club in Key Largo — due to tensions in Ukraine.

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