Why is education such an important platform for the Obamas? This month, the First Lady sat down with editor-in-chief of Essence magazine, Vanessa K. Bush, to explain. She discussed how in order for children to grow they need to be challenged, and be willing to accept the challenge. As parents, Mrs. Obama sees us as having a responsibility to nurture their resilience. She continues:
I know I tell my kids all the time that they shouldn’t shy away from difficult things, because that is the point at which you are really growing. It’s not just about grades or test scores. Today our kids may shy away from applying to college if they think they don’t have the right grade or test score. But the truth is that the kids who succeed and go on to be successful professionals are the ones who know how to work hard.
Education must therefore be seen as an opportunity, a sensitive subject for the First lady. She explains, “We cannot waste the opportunity that we have here in America, especially as African-Americans. Our ancestors fought and bled and died so that we could go to school. And I still think about that.”
This is a message she takes to her own daughters as well; “We talk about responsibility and accountability, about making sure that they’re not wasting the opportunities they’re given. We make sure they know how lucky they are and that, because of that, they have an obligation to have their acts together and to take their education very seriously.”
Education has long been an important issue for the President. Over the last six years, a major focal point of his Presidency has been his fight to make higher education more accessible to millions of students with his historic reforms.
Daughters Malia and Sasha, (nearly 16, and 13 respectively) presently attend the private Sidwell Friends School in Washington, D.C.