It seems that the Obamas, having brought the horde of Clintonistas on board their administration, are following the Clintons in another way: they’re enrolling their daughters Malia and Sasha at the Sidwell Friends School in Washington.
The Clintons were criticised for their decision to send Chelsea there, as people felt it was a vote of no confidence in public education. It is that. The DC schools are struggling to improve themselves, but obviously the Obamas don’t think that process is far enough along, and its success is uncertain.
Personally, I think it’s a sensible choice. Sidwell Friends (a Quaker school) is an excellent institution. My father went there back in the day when his dad was a mover and a shaker in Washington’s aviation scene and (towards the end) when “that man” (Franklin Roosevelt) was in the White House. Now the “New Franklin Roosevelt” prepares to take power, but he’s not taking any chances with his kids.
I don’t use this term very often, but frankly there’s a lot of hypocrisy about public education. There are many who believe it’s parents’ civic obligation to send their children to public schools, and will move heaven and earth to block the availability of choices (such as vouchers, charter schools, and the like.) They’re very pompous in their belief and self-righteous in their expression. But there’s almost always a choice for those who can afford it, and the Obamas (like the Clintons before them) obviously can.
It’s time for the fanatic boosters of public education to spend as much time trying to fix it (or at least getting out of the way of those who are) as they do shaming people into sending their children there. Barack Obama would do his country well by expanding the availability of choices, which in itself would move the system forward. But looking at his party’s constituencies, I wouldn’t hold my breath.
Then again, given the way he threw the LGBT community under the bus with Rick Warren, anything’s possible…