February 2nd, 2009
04:02 PM ET
14 years ago

First lady rallies education department staffers

[cnn-photo-caption image= http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2009/images/02/02/art.obamasprayer0202.gi.jpg caption="The first lady spoke about her husband's plans for education policy during an event at the Education Department Monday."]
WASHINGTON (CNN) - In one of her first public speaking events as first lady, Michelle Obama told employees at the federal Department of Education on Monday to "roll up (their) sleeves" and prepare for "hard work" as the new administration seeks to expand education funding in the face of the economic downturn.

Watch: 'We have a lot of work to do,' first lady says

Obama also indicated that her meet-and-greet session with the department's staffers will be the first in a series of appearances with employees throughout the federal government.

"Barack and I want to say thank you for what you've done," the first lady said. "You have to build a team from the bottom up."

Greeting by thunderous applause after an introduction from Education Secretary Arne Duncan, Obama declared that the country has "a stake in educating every single child" regardless of background or income. She pledged that the administration will push to upgrade more than 10,000 schools as part of a broad-ranging effort to boost educational opportunities for 5 million youngsters.

Among other things, she said, the administration will push to expand college Pell Grants and prevent teacher layoffs by using the economic stimulus package to boost federal aid to education.

Obama stated that she "wouldn't be here if it weren't for the public schools who nurtured me and pushed me along."

During the presidential campaign, then-candidate Barack Obama promised, among other things, to double charter school funding, boost support for math and science education, and promote merit pay for teachers.

"We have to remember that the children of this country ... are counting on us," Michelle Obama concluded. "Let's get to work."

Filed under: Education • Michelle Obama
soundoff (57 Responses)
  1. Leigh

    All I heard were several um's.

    February 2, 2009 05:49 pm at 5:49 pm |
  2. Barack wins and America collectively loses.

    More talk of expanding Education. More governement and less Main Street jobs, isn't this getting old already?

    February 2, 2009 05:49 pm at 5:49 pm |
  3. Soldier 4 OBAMA

    PATC, you sound ignorant! At least Daschle paid his tax all 104,000 in back taxes and so too did the other guy. It is Cheney, Libby, Rove, bush, and all 177 GOP Reps in the House, and the 37 in the Senate who fail to pay theirs. Oh, I forgot, the GOP want to give 400 Billion in Tax cuts for the super rich and their wives who get hired to do jobs they aren't qualified for. Oh OBAMA is so educated and READY. The CHANGE we seek is up to us. END THE GOP once and for all!

    February 2, 2009 05:53 pm at 5:53 pm |
  4. California Gold

    PATC. That's funny. Sad and funny.

    Appointees lie about their earnings. Admit guilt of income tax fraud. Don't pay their share. Conflict of interest. Come fresh to the White House from lobbying for the insurance industry. The honeymoon is definitely over.

    February 2, 2009 05:55 pm at 5:55 pm |
  5. naqib

    JR in PA...

    If your grammar is any indication of your teaching ability, I can see why your district is failing.

    February 2, 2009 06:13 pm at 6:13 pm |
  6. This is CHANGE

    Here we go...Hillary #2 is on her way!!

    February 2, 2009 06:17 pm at 6:17 pm |
  7. michaelndayton

    hmm..michelle nobama wants to build support from the bottom up? well...nobody has a bigger bottom to start with!

    February 2, 2009 06:21 pm at 6:21 pm |
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