Michelle Obama Rallies the Education Troops

Feb 2, 2009 5:00pm

ABC News’ Yunji de Nies reports:

Michelle Obama made her first solo foray as first lady into public policy advocacy today, with a visit to the Department of Education. The first lady, who was joined by Education Secretary Arne Duncan, spoke briefly to a group of employees.

"I’m a product of your work," she said, referring to her own education in the Chicago public school system.

Mrs. Obama stressed the need for more education spending saying, "Imagine what we can do with millions of dollars more investment in this area. We can expand opportunities in low-income districts for all students, particularly for students with disabilities."

The first lady also pushed her husband’s economic stimulus package, saying it will prevent layoffs and education cuts, create jobs and make college more affordable.

She thanked the group for their work, and said there would be much more ahead. 

"There’s a lot of work to do. And we’re gonna need you," Mrs. Obama said.

Her visit today could provide insight where she will dedicate her energies as First Lady. Mrs. Obama has yet to formally announce her platform, but has said she intends to focus on military families and working women.

Last week, Mrs. Obama held a reception at the White House following her husband’s signing of the Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act. Mrs. Obama said Mrs. Ledbetter’s struggle was one shared by women across the U.S., and one that she would continue to fight for.

"This legislation is an important step forward," the first lady said, "It’s also one cornerstone of a broader commitment to address the needs of working women who are looking to us to not only ensure that they’re treated fairly, but also to ensure that there are policies in place that help women and men balance their work and family obligations without putting their jobs or their economic stability at risk."

– Yunji de Nies

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