The First Lady speaks on the power of education, 11/12/13

Mrs. Obama:

“See, when Barack came into office, one of the very first things he did was to set what he calls a North Star goal for the entire country -– that by the year 2020, the year that all of you will be graduating from college, that this country will have the highest proportion of college graduates in the world.

Now, Barack set this goal because as a — a generation ago, we were number one in college graduates. But over the past couple of decades, this country has slipped all the way to 12th. We’ve slipped. And that’s unacceptable, and we’ve all got a lot of work to do to turn that around and get back on top.

But Barack didn’t just set that goal because it’s good for our country. He did it because he knows how important higher education is to all of you as individuals. Because 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. That means whether it’s a vocational program, community college, a four-year university, you all are going to need some form of higher education in order to build the kind of lives that you want for yourselves, good careers, to be able to provide for your family.

And that’s why the President and Secretary Duncan have been doing everything they can to make sure that kids like you get the best education possible and that you have everything you need to continue your education after high school. They’ve been fighting to strengthen your schools and to support your teachers. They’ve been working hard to make college more affordable for all young people in this country no matter where you come from or how much money your parents have. They’ve been working with parents, teachers, administrators, community leaders all across this country just to help you succeed.

But here’s the thing — and I want you to listen to this — at the end of the day, no matter what the President does, no matter what your teachers and principals do or whatever is going on in your home or in your neighborhood, the person with the biggest impact on your education is you. It’s that simple. It is you, the student. And more than anything else, meeting that 2020 goal is going to take young people like all of you across this country stepping up and taking control of your education.”

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