by David Miler
First lady Michelle Obama is working to push forward with an educational initiative, and is using her personal history as a way to promote her ideas. One compelling story is her struggle trying to get accepted into Princeton University. Mrs. Obama says that her high school guidance counselors told her that she was never going to be accepted.
“They told me I was never going to get into a school like Princeton,” she told a group of student, according to the Washington Post. “I still hear that doubt ringing in my head.”
Mrs. Obama is lending her name to a new White House effort to help low income students go to college. This is the first time that the first lady has discussed her educational background, which has been a political sticking point in her family’s continuous battle against the Republicans.
Mrs. Obama is going to speak to thousands of high school students across the country, mostly sophomores, about college and the application process. She was also part of a recent White House Summit consisting of numerous institutions willing to invest in the recruitment and retention of low-income students.
“The truth is that if Princeton hadn’t found my brother as a basketball recruit, and if I hadn’t seen that he could succeed on a campus like that, it never would have occurred to me to apply to that school — never,” she said. “And I know that there are so many kids out there just like me.”
This is going to be a big test for Mrs. Obama, since challenging a high profile policy area like education can be politically complex. The most telling example was when Hillary Clinton tried to participate in health care reform in the 1990s.
“Education is a really tough issue,” said George Bush’s chief of staff, Anita McBride. “Inevitably, someone is going to be unhappy with what you’ve promoted. No matter what she does, she has got to always make sure it married up with the broader administration goals.”
You can read more about Mrs. Obama’s initiative at The Washington Post.