Michelle Obama made her first solo debut on the national stage as first lady this afternoon -- and took the opportunity to discuss the nation's education system and what improvements she hopes to make during her tenure in the White House.
"The children of this country are counting on all of us," she told to staff members at the Education Department. "They're looking to us for that direction. They're looking to us for that ray of hope."
Obama said that the stimulus package currently facing the Senate would be used in part to make investments in public schools. Funds from the package could help prevent teacher layoffs, hold off education cuts against hard-hit states and preserve early childhood programs, she said.
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"There's a lot of work to do and we're going to need you," she said.
Obama attended Chicago's public schools and said she would make education a central issue as first lady.