Campaigning for the renovation of the "No Child Left Behind Law" yesterday, President Obama shared a rare, candid story about how he's raising his daughters to love learning and achieve their best:
These aren't my prepared remarks but I think it's important to note... Malia and Sasha are just wonderful kids and Michelle is a wonderful mother but in our own household, with all the privileges and opportunities that we have, there are times when kids slack off. There are times when they'd rather be watching tv or playing a computer game than hitting the books. And part of our job as parents, Michelle's and my job, is not to just tell our kids what to do but to start instilling in them a sense that they want to do it for themselves.
So... Malia came home, the other day, she had gotten a 73% on her science test. Now, she's a sixth-grader. Now, there was a time a couple years ago when she came home with an 80-something and she said, "I did pretty well." And I said, "No, no, no... Our goal is 90% and up." [applause]
Here's the interesting thing! She started internalizing that, so she came [home] — she was depressed. Got a 73%. And I said, "Well, what happened?"
"Well, you know, the teacher... The study guide didn't match up with what was on the test and..."
"So, so what's your idea here?"
"Well, you know, I'm going to start... I've got to read the whole chapter. I'm going to change how I study, how I approach it."
So she came home yesterday... She was... Got a 95! So she was high-fiving. [applause]
But here's the point! She said, "I just like having knowledge." That's what she said! And what was happening was she had started wanting it more than us. Now, once you get to that point — our kids are on our way.
But the only way they get to that point is if we're helping them get to that point. So it's going to take that kind of effort from parents to set a high bar in the household. Don't just expect teachers to set a high bar. You've got to set a high bar in the household — all across America.