Ahead of Higher Ed: First lady leads education initiative

Michelle Obama branched out from her healthy lifestyle speeches on Tuesday when she presented her new campaign to promote higher education to low-income, first-generation college students.

She introduced her new initiative at a Washington, D.C. high school by talking about her own struggle, attending high school in Chicago and remembering being told she’d never make it into Princeton.

The end goal for the Obamas, as the president has also been involved in this effort, is to have the United States achieve the highest percentage of college graduates in 2020 — and that is going to mean providing aid to the socioeconomic classes that have the lowest percentage of college graduation.

The first lady impressed upon the Bell Multicultural High School students that at the end of the day, it is students’ will and focus to learn that will drive them through to graduation day.

“No matter what the president does, no matter what your teachers and principals do, or whatever is going on in your home or neighborhood, the person with the biggest impact on your education is you,” New York Daily News reported that Obama said. “It’s going to take young people like all of you across the country stepping up and taking control of your education.”


Binging burdens brain’s critical thinking

Universities and advocates have warned against college binge drinking for years, preaching of poor grades and dangerous consumption levels. But a new study shows a long-term danger of inhibited critical thinking skills.

The study found, Inside Higher Ed reported, that low-critical-thinking first-year college students who binge drank in college had lower critical thinking skills than their counterparts who did not binge drink. Basically, the students who initially had poor critical thinking skills were not able to improve these skills if they participated in binge drinking.

The paper, which will be presented this week at the Association for the Study of Higher Education in St. Louis, had a sample of 4,100 students from 17 different institutions and focused on critical thinking because it’s a valued outcome from a college degree, Inside Higher Ed reported.

“We know that when they’re drunk, they’re making less good decisions, but you can’t do that for four years and think it’s not going to have an impact on you developmentally,” said Scott Lewis, partner at the National Center for Higher Education Risk Management, to Inside Higher Ed.

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