Updated: Trump Will End Michelle Obama's 'Let Girls Learn' Initiative

Updated: Trump Will End Michelle Obama's 'Let Girls Learn' Initiative

Updated, 5/2/17, 10:44am:

The White House says it will not be eliminating Michelle Obama's "Let Girls Learn" program after all. State Department spokesperson Heather Nauert told CNN last night, "There have been no changes to the program. The Administration supports policies and programs to empower adolescent girls, including efforts to educate them through the completion of secondary school. We are committed to empowering women and girls around the world and are continuing to examine the best ways to do so."

CNN reports that Trump will end Michelle Obama's signature program, the Let Girls Learn initiative.

According to its website, the program, started in 2015, was a "holistic approach to change the perception of the value of girls at the individual, community and institutional website." The program brought organizations like the Peace Corps and inter-governmental agencies together to increase girls' access to education, healthcare and other resources worldwide.

In addition to her programming to inspire children across America to both exercise and eat right, including by putting in place nutritional guidelines for school lunches that the Trump administration is already rolling back, 'Let Girls Learn' was a major part of Obama's legacy as First Lady.

Acting Peace Corps director Sheila Crowley said in an email to employees, "We will not continue to use the 'Let Girls Learn' brand or maintain a stand-alone program."

Tina Tchen, who served as Obama's chief of staff, said she was disappointed in the decision to end the program and surprised given the fact that it already had funding in place from both the public and private sector for the next few years.

"We felt it was important to have a branded campaign that drew attention to those issues, and we found that when we did it, we had extraordinary support," Tchen said. "I think it's unfortunate to not continue with the branded campaign. We think that this is an issue that has bipartisan support, it's really not a Republican or Democratic issue."

"'Let Girls Learn' had several years of funding already baked," she added. "We were hopeful that given that, it could continue. But obviously elections have consequences, and nobody knows that better than we."

Melania Trump is still in the beginning stages of defining how her role in the White House will take shape. In a recent speech at the State Department, she seemed to indicate that education may be part of her platform as well, saying, "I continue to firmly believe that education is the most powerful way to promote and ensure women's rights. Together we will do this not only by striving for gender parity at all levels of education, but also by showing all children, and especially boys, that it is through empathy, respect and kindness that we achieve our collective potential."

It's hard to imagine that a program addressing the hurdles girls face globally in accessing healthcare and education could be controversial, especially considering that gender inequality is a huge barrier to a country's development, but the Trump administration appears to think otherwise. Given that Trump isn't entirely sure why the Civil War happened, maybe education really is lower on his priority list than we thought.

[h/t CNN]

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