In China, first lady stresses education

First Lady Michelle Obama on Sunday stressed the value of education at a roundtable of Chinese educators, parents and students at the U.S. embassy in Beijing.

“I would not be where I am today without my parents investing and pushing for me to get a good education,” Obama told the group, assembled to discuss education in China and educational exchanges.

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“My parents were not educated themselves, and one of the things they understood was my brother and I needed that foundation, so the president and I have made education a key focus of our work in the coming years, because we want to have as many young people as possible in the United States and in the world, quite frankly, have access to education,” she added, according to a pool reporter.

“I am here to learn and to listen,” she added.

A senior administration officials said the educators, students and parents discussed challenges that exist in both the Chinese and U.S. education systems, including areas such as standardized testing an ensuring access to college.

The treatment of ethnic minorities in the Chinese education system was also discussed, the official said.

Education has been a focus of the first lady’s trip to China, where she has visited a Chinese high school and Peking University, which hosted an interactive discussion with students in China and the U.S.

Following the roundtable, Obama and her daughters toured the Mutianyu section of the Great Wall northeast of Beijing.

Following that visit, according to the pool report, reporters accompanying the Obamas spread out in search of t-shirts showing President Obama in a Mao hat that merchants had been told to temporarily stop selling.

According to the pool report, two reporters found merchants who initially denied carrying such items, but then tried to sell the popular t-shirts to the reporters.

--This report was updated at 9:48 a.m.