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Educators to Sit in First Lady’s Box During Speech

By Alyson Klein — January 24, 2012 1 min read

Education issues are supposed to be one of four main themes in President Barack Obama’s State of the Union speech tonight. And so a handful of educators, students, and advocates will be guests of First Lady Michelle Obama.

They include:

• Sara Ferguson, a teacher from Columbus Elementary in Parkside, Pa. When her district, the Chester Upland School District, faced bankruptcy, Ferguson said she’d continue teaching without getting paid. “We are adults; we will make a way,” she said. “They don’t have a contingency plan. They need to be educated, so we intend to be on the job.”

• Mahala Greer, a student at the University of Colorado Denver who has been accepted into Teach for America. She will graduate from school with more than $35,000 in debt.

• Amber Morris, a law school graduate from Virginia Beach, Va., who is struggling to repay her student loans and working as a waitress.

• Laurene Powell Jobs, who is the founder and Chair of Emerson Collective, an organization in Palo Alto, Calif., focused on helping folks in underserved communities tap into their potential. Jobs is also the president of the board of College Track, an after school program that prepares students from disadvantaged communities for success in college.

Two things to note here: First off, looking at this list, it’s clear college affordability will be a big theme. And second, most of these folks are from swing states.

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