Your Education Road Map

Politics K-12

Betsy DeVos. Donald Trump. The Every Student Succeeds Act. Congress. State chiefs. School spending. Elections. Education Week reporters keep watch on education policy and politics in the nation’s capital and in the states.


Michelle Obama to Career Staff: Thank You!

By Alyson Klein — February 02, 2009 2 min read

First lady Michelle Obama dropped by the Department of Education this afternoon for a meet-and-greet/pep rally to honor career employees, the first in what’s supposed to be a series of such sessions at various cabinet agencies.

The roughly 350 employees who gathered for the event cheered, applauded, and used cellphone cameras to take pictures of the first lady. Seventeen of the agency’s longest-serving employees, some of whom have spent decades at the department, stood behind Obama as she spoke.

—Christopher Powers/Education Week

“I am a product of your work,” she told the crowd. “I wouldn’t be here if it weren’t for the public schools that nurtured me and helped me along. ... I’m going to be visiting agencies throughout this administration to do just something simple, and that’s to say thank you—thank you before we even begin the work, because so many of you have been here struggling and pushing for decades. ... The children of this country are counting on all of us.”

She also touted the economic stimulus package working its way through Congress, saying it would help avert teacher layoffs, and highlighted provisions to direct money for facilities, teacher training, and charter schools.

The first lady is planning to drop by a number of federal agencies and speak to employees, in part to get to know the folks living in her new hometown of Washington, D.C., a spokeswoman said.

In introducing Obama, the new secretary of education, Arne Duncan, said it’s “not a coincidence” that the department was Obama’s first stop.

Duncan reiterated remarks he made during his Senate confirmation hearing last month about the “Obama effect,” which he hopes will inspire schoolchildren across the country to get a good education.

—Christopher Powers/Education Week

“We have people saying not just I want to be the president or the first lady, but I want to be smart like the president, or smart like the first lady,” he said. “The Obama effect is going to be powerful.”

Education Department employees clapped and smiled and seemed genuinely jazzed.

Recognizing and commending the efforts of career staff was “really right on” said Karen Stratman-Krusemark, a career staff member who serves as a liaison between the department and professional associations in education field. She and other department employees also had glowing words for their new boss.

"[Mr. Duncan] has this great combination of smart and real,” Stratman-Krusemark said. “We were cheering at the staff meeting, we were all so excited to get to work. ... Right now, if you work at the Department of Ed, it’s like the coolest thing.”

Let us know what you think!

We’re looking for feedback on our new site to make sure we continue to provide you the best experience.


This content is provided by our sponsor. It is not written by and does not necessarily reflect the views of Education Week's editorial staff.
Future of Work Webinar
Digital Literacy Strategies to Promote Equity
Our new world has only increased our students’ dependence on technology. This makes digital literacy no longer a “nice to have” but a “need to have.” How do we ensure that every student can navigate
Content provided by
Mathematics Online Summit Teaching Math in a Pandemic
Attend this online summit to ask questions about how COVID-19 has affected achievement, instruction, assessment, and engagement in math.
School & District Management Webinar Examining the Evidence: Catching Kids Up at a Distance
As districts, schools, and families navigate a new normal following the abrupt end of in-person schooling this spring, students’ learning opportunities vary enormously across the nation. Access to devices and broadband internet and a secure

EdWeek Top School Jobs

Data Analyst
New York, NY, US
New Visions for Public Schools
Project Manager
United States
K12 Inc.
High School Permanent Substitute Teacher
Woolwich Township, NJ, US
Kingsway Regional School District
MS STEM Teacher
Woolwich Township, NJ, US
Kingsway Regional School District

Read Next

Education Obituary In Memory of Michele Molnar, EdWeek Market Brief Writer and Editor
EdWeek Market Brief Associate Editor Michele Molnar, who was instrumental in launching the publication, succumbed to cancer.
5 min read
Education Briefly Stated Briefly Stated: December 9, 2020
Here's a look at some recent Education Week articles you may have missed.
8 min read
Education Briefly Stated Briefly Stated: Stories You May Have Missed
A collection of articles from the previous week that you may have missed.
8 min read
Education Briefly Stated Briefly Stated: Stories You May Have Missed
A collection of stories from the previous week that you may have missed.
8 min read