Mrs. Obama: High school diploma not enough First lady Michelle Obama cheers as she arrives for a town hall meeting at Howard University in Washington. The first lady visited as part of a program to immerse talented high school students in a college campus environment
Mrs. Obama: High school diploma not enough
Lexile

It may be a few years before the first daughters head to college, but Michelle Obama is already brainstorming a dorm room checklist while encouraging high school students to dream big about their education beyond graduation.

The first lady told a group of students Thursday that a high school diploma is not enough in today's global economy.

"No longer is high school the bar. That is not enough," Mrs. Obama told the crowd. "You have got to go to college or get some kind of professional training."

Before her remarks, the first lady toured a Howard University residence hall with high school juniors and seniors from her hometown of Chicago. "How do you get a single room," Mrs. Obama asked the tour guide, as the students chuckled. He replied: "There is a slight price difference."

The campus visit is a part of Mrs. Obama's push to promote higher education, especially President Barack Obama's "North Star" goal. By 2020, America would once again have the highest proportion of college graduates in the world.

After the tour, the first lady led a discussion moderated by rapper and TV host Bow Wow in a university cafeteria, the Punch Out. Mrs. Obama shared her own college experience and said she wanted to support the high school students because "this transition for some of you may be a little scary."

"The only reason I saw a dorm was because I visited my brother once when he was in college," she said. "That was the only exposure."

Mrs. Obama added that she had applied to Howard, "one of the finest universities in the country," along with Northwestern University and the University of Wisconsin-Madison when she was considering higher education. She went on to attend Princeton University and Harvard Law School.

"We have to have a hunger for education like we had when our parents and grandparents were fighting for us to have a right to come to these schools and get the education," she said. "So now it's up to you all to take that baton and do the very best you can with it."

The high school students will also attend classes with their hosts and meet with university officials as part of their four-day visit.

Critical thinking challenge: Why is a high school diploma alone no longer sufficient in a global economy? A generation ago, did American workers compete with workers in other countries? What do American workers do best? Here's a hint: Think Apple, Pixar, Tesla

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COMMENTS (34)
  • francesca12345
    4/25/2014 - 10:59 a.m.

    If she says that a High school diploma is not good enough then she should tell her husband to do something about this, it is almost impossible to graduate now because you need to pass the HSPA and if you don't then you don't graduate if a high school diploma is not good enough and a college education and diploma is then why have the HSPA? Not everyone has the same qualities or can do the same qualities like the mentally unwell people they are going to be in school for the longest time to get the qualities of a normal person that is horrible not everyone is the same.

  • Quay_Gucci_Sosa
    4/25/2014 - 11:01 a.m.

    I think it was good what Mrs.Obama said to the high schoolers.A high school diploma is not going to get you anywhere but if you go to college it will lead you to succes.

  • alexus053
    4/25/2014 - 11:03 a.m.

    I think now that with the abundance of people in america the diploma is just handed to everyone so for specialization purposes they raise the bar to the next thing, being a college education. A decade ago the competition was just heating up, now we just stick to our guns, being technological innovation.

  • Samanthad5
    4/25/2014 - 11:04 a.m.

    Michelle Obama is thinking up ideas to get into college. A college diploma is not enough. The White House is thinking that you'll need more to get into college. This idea is sprouting. Obama wants the U.S to have the highest percentage of graduated students in the world.
    I thought this article was kind of boring. I feel like America is doing just fine.

  • DominicK711
    4/25/2014 - 11:06 a.m.

    I think it was good what Mrs.Obama said to the high schoolers.A high school diploma is not going to get you anywhere but if you go to college it will lead you to success.

  • carrollart01
    4/25/2014 - 11:17 a.m.

    Getting a college diploma is necessary because is puts you in a higher rank in society, but Americans were best at inventing, and working with our hands, and becoming a big global powerhouse in this world, and now we need a college diploma to prove that.

  • andrewf-Koc
    4/25/2014 - 11:17 a.m.

    I think mrs.Obama is correct. Having only a high school diploma these day will only help ear a low income. These days people need a specific skill they learn from college or schools. If people want to exceed, they need to go to something that is more than high school.

  • whitestar
    4/25/2014 - 01:27 p.m.

    We have to have a hunger for education like we had when our parents and grandparents were fighting for us to have a right to come to these schools and get the education," she said. "So now it's up to you all to take that baton and do the very best you can with it."

  • NatashaS123
    4/25/2014 - 01:28 p.m.

    A high school diploma is no longer enough in a global economy because the job market is looking for the best of the best for their department, which would usually include the need of higher education. A generation ago, American workers did not compete with workers in other countries, the most competition they had were new immigrants with better qualifications to take the job. American workers do best with technology as it advances.

  • mikaylamikayla
    4/25/2014 - 01:32 p.m.

    I think high school diplomas are not enough in todays economy because we need more inventions. We made Apple, Pixar and many others. To be bigger and more successful you need have more educational experience. We will need a lot of intelligent people to create something bigger than Apple. I think Americans are good inventors and hard workers.

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