First Lady joins with Alicia Keys to talk education

McClatchy Washington BureauJanuary 15, 2014 


Singer Alicia Keys attends a discussion with first lady Michelle Obama following a screening of "The Inevitable Defeat of Mister and Pete," in Washington.


First Lady Michelle Obama has earned accolades -- and few brickbats -- for her campaigns to improve the American diet and get people off the couch. She's also championed hiring opportunities for returning veterans.

And now, the first lady says, she's adding another initiative to her roster: helping achieve President Obama's goal that the U.S. by 2020 will have the highest proportion of college graduates in the world. (It once was No. 1 but has fallen to 12th, she said.)

Still, Obama, who turns 50 on Friday, says she's not giving up her "Let's Move," food and exercise program or her "Joining Forces" campaign to help military veterans and their families.

"Nothing is going away, we’re just adding more on," Obama said Wednesday, talking to a room full of educators at the White House. "I’m going to be doing my very best to promote these efforts by talking directly with young people. That's my focus. Everybody else is going to be talking about resources, but the one thing I can bring to this is the message that we can give directly to young people."

Obama's remarks came after a White House screening of "The Inevitable Defeat of Mister and Pete," produced by the singer, Alicia Keys, who preceded Obama at the lectern in the State Dining Room.

Obama said she "wept" as she watched the movie, which the White House describes as a "coming of age story about two inner-city youth who are left to fend for themselves in the Bronx.

And she said it speaks to her plans to improve education access in underserved communities.

"This is the movie that should begin the conversation that is already happening about what we have to do to invest in kids in this community," Obama said to Keys. "Because there are millions of Mister and Petes out there who are just struggling to make it."


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