Should Obama send his kids to public schools?

I don’t follow politics, but found this article, from “The Week”  and it was very interesting. As far as what I know, it happened during a “Today” Show interview, when Obama was asked a controversial question. “Could your daughters get a comparably “high quality, rigorous education in a D.C. public school?” The question was asked, because currently Obama’s two daughters go to a private school in D.C that costs a whopping $31,000 per year. Obama(from what I know) is also working on public school system reform policies that aim toward higher standardized test scores, amongst other “school goals”.  But the real reason the question was asked, was to “test” Obama and his commitment to the public education system.  Well this was Obama’s answer: “The answer’s no right now. The D.C. public school systems are struggling.”

Well at least he was honest, right?

Of course this sparked a lot of controversy especially amongst Americans whose children ARE in the public school system, and who don’t have the option of going to an expensive private school. Equally troubling(when pundits weigh in) is that Obama has an interesting stance on private education.  Again since I’m not a follower of politics, I’m really unsure of what he is doing to ensure that public education systems(around the USA) are changed for the better. HOWEVER what I can say is that since “change” doesn’t happen overnight, then obviously it makes perfect sense that if he has the money, he’d send his kids to the best school he possibly could. And after all, isn’t that the way it is in our country?  The one’s with the wealth, will probably send their children to the best schools, and live in some of the best neighborhoods. I know it held true for my family. Once my dad begin really making money, the first thing he did was move us to a better school district, (one of the best he could) and into a better neighborhood.  What Obama’s doing, isn’t completely different from any other wealthy American that wants the best for their children. On the other hand, being his position, his “role” as role-model, and his stances on education, I can see why people are disappointed in his response.

Anyway, these were some of the opinions of pundits that weighed in on this article:

“He’s just being honest: Oh c’mon, says Michelle Cottle at The New Republic, this is a cheap, tired excuse to “revive the eternal debate over whether it is immoral for presidents (especially Democratic ones) to send their children to private schools.” Even the best public schools don’t compare to Sidwell Friends, “one of the most elite — and elitist — schools in the country.” Like the flap over the first dog’s purebred status, this an “absurd political ‘controversy.'”
“Obama comes off badly, given his position on school vouchers: The issue isn’t that he’s making the choice to send his daughters to a private school — “good for him” — but that he’s “denying” other “parents the ability to send their kids to a better school,” says Jason Pye at United Liberty, noting that Obama “has supported the end expiration” of a “popular” D.C. school-voucher program.

“-And his public-school initiatives won’t correct the inequity: Obama’s educational policies — which “scapegoat teachers, make standardized test scores all-important, and embrace market-driven reforms” — certainly won’t help public schools offer the sort of education Sitwell Friends can, says Valerie Strauss in The Washington Post. The president’s initiatives make little mention of “parental involvement, early childhood education, after-school programs…all of the things that a student at Sidwell could expect to get.”

What do you think?


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