Friday, May 16, 2014

First Lady Michelle Obama is a Role Model for Young People to Dream High!

“She saw firsthand the impact of Brown v. Board of Education in her own life,” said Valerie Jarrett

This is a tribute not only to Michelle Obama but to her parents who refused to keep the status quo and instead encouraged her to do well in school and qualify for the first desegregated magnet high school in Chicago.  Sounds like in Chicago like Dayton, Ohio, whites fled the neighborhoods as soon as a black family moved in so you had your all black high schools on the west side and all white on the east.  Both sides of town were filled with GM/Frigidaire factory workers who worked side by side but their kids were in segregated high schools in the city of Dayton.  Never made sense.

To move out of your neighborhood because a black moves in left a lot of people outside of Dayton asking why?  They sold their homes for pennies on the dollar -- Dad used to say it was real estate agents who were part and party to the scare tactics as they made money off the sale and again off the purchase of a new home.  After dealing with them over the years, he was probably right.

Cannot even fathom what it would be like to be a young child and have a teacher tell you not to dream high -- every child in this Country has the right to have the best education we can provide them.  It is time for Republicans to get with fully funding education for all students or get out of the way.  We can no longer tolerate this mentality we are seeing out of our elected officials who keep cutting education and underfunding poor school districts to give the wealthy more tax cuts.   It is imperative all kids get a good education to break the chain of low expectations for some.

Parents, teachers, educators need to follow the lead of Michelle's parents who taught their children to aim high and not settle.  It is a tribute to her tenacity and willpower that she overcame the odds and is a role model for young people today of what they can accomplish with an excellent public school education to fulfill their dreams.
A Decision That Helped Shape Michelle Obama
WASHINGTON — She was born into the segregated Chicago of the 1960s, when public schools actively resisted integration. But in 1975, the city, under pressure to comply with the landmark Supreme Court decision desegregating public schools, opened a racially integrated high school for high achievers that changed the young woman’s life. 
Michelle Robinson, a graduate of that integrated school, is now Michelle Obama, the first African-American first lady of the United States. In this season of civil rights anniversaries — in particular the 60th, on Saturday, of the 1954 decision in Brown v. Board of Education of Topeka, Kan. — she is talking in new and more deeply personal ways about race. 
“She saw firsthand the impact of Brown v. Board of Education in her own life,” said Valerie Jarrett, a senior White House adviser and close friend of Mrs. Obama. “What she appreciates is the strength of diversity, how important it is to be in a community, a classroom, where you are hearing from all perspectives.” 
On Friday evening, President Obama will meet privately at the White House with the families of the plaintiffs in the Brown lawsuit and two of the lead lawyers. Aides say he wants to pay his respects. Mrs. Obama will take center stage in Topeka, where she will visit the Brown v. Board of Education National Historic Site — formerly an all-black school — and address graduating seniors at the Kansas Expocentre. 
The anniversary comes at a time of historic milestones, including the anniversary of the passage of the 1964 Civil Rights Act, which have repeatedly put a focus on the Obamas’ place as the first black occupants of the White House. But Brown v. Board of Education had more of a direct impact on Mrs. Obama than on her husband and shaped her life in ways she does not always openly discuss. 
While Mr. Obama grew up partly in Indonesia and attended an elite prep school in multicultural Hawaii, Mrs. Obama was raised on the South Side of Chicago, first in a one-bedroom apartment and later in a house in South Shore, a neighborhood experiencing rapid white flight. By 1980, the year she turned 16, it was 96 percent black, and so were its schools. 
In 1969, Mrs. Obama started kindergarten at Bryn Mawr Elementary, her neighborhood school. Data from the federal Department of Education show that in 1970, out of 1,258 students, 1,214 were black. 
One of her kindergarten classmates, Dr. Theodore Ford, described their class this way in a 2012 article in The Chicago Sun-Times: “There were five little white faces and 23 shades of brown faces and one Middle Eastern face, a subtle shade darker than that of the Jewish kid to his right in our class photo.” 
The school appears to have had more resources than most. In the sixth grade, Mrs. Obama was selected to participate in its gifted program, which allowed her to take French, and to study biology at the local community college, according to Ms. Mundy’s book. She graduated as its salutatorian. 
But it was the creation of Chicago’s first public high school for high achievers — the Whitney M. Young Magnet High School — that really changed the trajectory of Mrs. Obama’s life, by getting her out of her neighborhood and giving her exposure for the first time to an educational environment that was truly diverse. 
“She often speaks about the importance of diversity as a strength, that her education was enriched by listening to people who had different life experiences and differences of opinion,” Ms. Jarrett said. 
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This is an amazing story of what a young person can do when they refuse to be told they will never fulfill their dream of where to go to college.  Now it is time for all of us to put pressure on our elected officials to FULLY fund education and make this the most educated country in the world instead of a Country that fails so many of its students.

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