• Twitter
  • Facebook
News-Sentinel.com Your Town. Your Voice.
Opening Arguments

A matter of choice

Malia and Sasha Obama now go to a private school in Chicago, and the speculation has started about where the Obamas will choose to send them to school in Washington:

Chelsea Clinton went to Sidwell Friends, a private Quaker school. So did Archibald Roosevelt and Tricia and Julie Nixon. And Joe Biden's granddaughters are at the school right now. Will Michelle and Barack send their daughters Malia and Sasha there as well once they get settled in the White House?

According to an article in yesterday's Washington Post, many Washingtonians expect them to seriously consider Sidwell as well as other fancy privates such as Georgetown Day School, Maret, and National Cathedral School (Al Gore's girls went here). After all, Sasha and Malia are currently attending the private University of Chicago Laboratory Schools.

But what about public school?

Shouldn't the nation's highest elected public official show his belief in public education by sending his children to a public school? The key word in my first sentence was "choose." Obama has indicated his support for charter schools, which at least give parents some choice. But he's against a voucher system, which would give parents maximum choice. Obama has the luxury of sending his kids to any school he wants to, and no one should fault him for putting their interests first (and the disruptions caused in a public school by the Secret Service are probably one good argument against that option). But if he chooses an elite private school, he at least needs to explain why he doesn't favor giving all parents some of that same flexibility to put their children's interests first.


Mon, 11/10/2008 - 12:00pm

A "voucher system" gives parents "maximum choice?" Depends on the "voucher system." One in which a private school is required to accept all applicants for the amount of the voucher without additional tuition charged would obviously provide more choice than, for example, one where the private school could cherry pick easily educated students without any special neeeds for the amount of the voucher money plus any additional funds they want to charge parents.

Steve G
Mon, 11/10/2008 - 6:30pm

The Obamas will, of course, choose a private school. They will give many weak arguments, in their defense. The true irony is that the Natioanl (Re)Education Association will give a wink of disapproval, knowing that B.O. is still in their pocket.

Tue, 11/18/2008 - 6:38pm

Why people care about a personal decision that will be made public? Because they are now public officials under the microscope. That is the Obamas decisions for god's sake. They have money and they can afford it and that is enough for me. As long as he put and enacts plan to change the public education system I do not see any problem. The federal government will pay the president elect close to half a million dollars to stay in the White House and work for the nation ($400,000/year is the sum). The government is also paying the cost of security, travel, and lodging for him, his daughter and wife when travel to and from places 24 hours a day. So, would we rather have him send his children to public school witch will be a security headache to protect them or have them a private school where the president will spend his own $50,000+ a year? Sending them to public school just for symbol does not make any sense.