By Pilar Oberwetter
The moment has come where I feel that I need to (gasp) criticize Obama. For the faint of heart, rest assured—it is not Barack that I take issue with, but rather Michelle.
While the major headlines focus on positives and negatives of Barack’s maneuvers since taking office in January, Michelle has been doing less-showy, yet very effective work in raising local morale and national awareness. She has paid visits to federal agencies, served food to the homeless, and, most recently, recruited powerful women in government, entertainment, sports and business to visit the area’s public schools in honor of Women’s History Month.
So what is my beef?
Well, when Michelle and her gang of power-gals, which included the likes of singer Alicia Keys and gymnast Dominique Dawes, went to the schools, they spoke to less than 20 students at each school who were “picked for their academic and athletic achievements.” Translation: they spoke to the successful students at each school, and provided them with examples of further success, encouraging them in words and by example to push themselves in that direction.
However, in DC’s public schools, the prevailing trend is that students do not succeed. More students drop out of school than graduate. More students fail classes than get A’s. More students get pregnant than star on sport’s teams. So why was Michelle not bringing her insight, wisdom, and inspiration to the students who are on probable paths to failure? Why was her visit treated as a reward for students who were doing well instead of an intervention strategy for students who are at-risk? Why were the students who are most in need of this type of motivation not given consideration when DCPS staff were hand-picking the attendees?
Next time, Michelle, be an advocate for those who are educationally most at-risk. Speak up for those who need more than just a path to success—who, in essence, need the whole map.