Michelle Obama has been a far more traditional First Lady than many of her supporters hoped she would be, but starting on Tuesday, she’ll branch out into a cause that’s more closely tied with her husband’s policies. At Bell Multicultural High School in Washington, the First Lady will deliver a speech encouraging low-income students to pursue higher education. The New York Times reports Obama will discuss the role education played in her life, allowing her to go from being the daughter of a pump worker at the City of Chicago Waterworks to an attorney and health-care executive. “The details might be a little different, but so many of the challenges and triumphs will be just the same,” she’ll tell students, according to an advance copy of her remarks.
While her new message is part of the Education Department’s effort to increase the percentage of college graduates, according to the Times, “her staff said she would be more focused on young people than on policy.” It makes sense that the White House would avoid making the First Lady the chair of any major task force, but downplaying her role in promoting the administration’s education initiatives seems excessive. She gets flak even for encouraging kids not to be disturbingly sedentary, so she might as well admit she wants to take on some meatier topics.