Michelle Obama has announced an initiative to bring higher education to low-income families. Mobama herself came from a modest upbringing. Our First Lady was the daughter of a pump worker but she would later attend Princeton University and Harvard Law School.
Michelle told students at Bell Multicultural High School, “You have got to do whatever it takes to continue your education after high school — whether that’s going to a community college, or getting a technical certificate, or completing a training opportunity, or heading off to a four-year college.”
It’s great that she acknowledges that college isn’t necessarily the best option for everyone, nor is private school, so much as having some kind of skill or training. Only 52% of low-income students enrolled in college right after high school. Michelle noted in her speech, “When the year 2020 rolls around, nearly two-thirds of all jobs in this country are going to require some form of training beyond high school. You all are going to need some form of higher education in order to build a good career for yourselves and be able to provide for your family.”
In this day and age you need a bachelor’s degree to be a receptionist. Mobama is not wrong but encouraging students to go to college doesn’t exactly address the very real problem: college is expensive. The initiative hopes to appeal to underprivileged students using talks and social media. While I have seen many highly intelligent kids, when I was growing up in the poor Bronx, NY, fall to the wayside and have their aspirations lost because they weren’t encouraged or nurtured enough by the teachers around them, the fact of the matter is that even middle class families can’t afford higher education, how are low income families going to be expected to proceed?