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.