Chicago Sun-Times
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Bush twins show Malia, Sasha Obama White House; Michelle and daughters visit D.C. schools

| 24 Comments

By Lynn Sweet
Chicago Sun-Times Columnist

WASHINGTON -- First daughters have transitions, too.

Barbara Bush and fraternal twin sister Jenna Bush Hager, both 26, showed off their White House rooms to the Obama girls, Malia, 10, and Sasha, 7, on Tuesday as Michelle Obama brought her kids and mom here to check out schools and their living quarters.

The White House visit lasted about an hour, according to Sally McDonough, a spokesman for the first lady.

A week ago Monday, first lady Laura Bush gave Michelle Obama a tour of the private residence -- the top floors of the White House -- and other rooms in the historic mansion as Michelle visited at least two of the city's elite private schools.

Michelle Obama, her daughters and mother, Marion Robinson, have been in Washington since Sunday night in the unannounced visit. They are getting ready in advance of the Jan. 20 inauguration, when the Obamas actually move into the White House. Robinson will also be relocating to Washington.

There is a certain slice of Washington breathlessly waiting for the Obamas to decide on which private school Malia, in fifth grade, and second-grader Sasha will attend, because the daughters' presence will confer social status on everyone associated with the school, even the ones who have a lot of it now.


A pal of mine with a kid at Georgetown Day School said Malia was spotted there on Monday. The teachers were told to "look normal" because the girls just wanted to see the school in its normal state.

Another buddy of mine with children at Quaker-run Sidwell Friends told me that there were Obama family spottings Tuesday at the upper campus of Sidwell in northwest Washington and at the lower campus in Bethesda.

The Maret school may also be in the running; friends of the Obamas send their kids there.

Mayor Adrian Fenty pitched the public schools when we talked recently, but that seems a long shot since the girls now attend the private University of Chicago Lab School.

"Our goal is to have D.C. public schools be as serious an option as any charter or private schools, not just for the Obamas but for any family making the decision," Fenty told me.

Michelle wanted to let the girls see their choices "for their new schools, to make sure they find the right fit. That's the priority," Katie McCormick Lelyveld, the spokesman for the incoming first lady, told me Tuesday.

Sidwell has a very rich student body, but the faculty tries to downplay wealth. Georgetown Day -- the first school to integrate in the city -- is known as more progressive; teachers are called by their first names.

The Obamas' private tuition bills will jump because right now they only pay half price at the Lab School. Faculty and staff -- Michelle had been at the U. of C. Medical Center -- get the steep discount. The Lab school costs $18,492 for a second-grader and $20,286 for a fifth-grade student. Sidwell charges $28,442 for the lower school and $29,440 for the upper school. The bill for Georgetown Day is $27,945.

24 Comments

Since Jenna and Barbara were identified as fraternal twins, was it necessary to include include the phrase "both 26"?

Lucky thing kids who attend these schools don't take out loans....a K-12 education........WOW!

All psuedo-liberal/Democrat politicos & commoners who send their "offspring" to anyplace other than the NEAREST PUBLIC SCHOOL are roaring hypocrits. The Obamas as well as the Ayers could not possibly send their crew to school with the "voucherless, great unwashed" whom they pretend to represent & show false concern for. The motto on the new Obama Presidential Seal should read I'VE GOT MINE - NOW, YOU TRY & GET YOURS! Signed, UBI MEA

Honestly, Obama should send his kids to public school. I can't believe how much these schools cost, it is outrageous. I wonder if he will impose his college plan, allowing kids to participate in public service programs for tuition credits, for grade school children. The children in private schools should have to share what they learn to the children in the local public schools for tuition credits.

You know what Ubi Mea, both Barack and Michelle Obama worked hard to get the best education so they could be successful Americans. As of a result of that hard work they both make a good living. If they choose to send their kids to a private school that their hard work has afforded them, who are you to judge? I went to public school and I'm very proud of the education I received. I'm a bleeding heart liberal and want EVERYONE to get the best education so that we all can start off on the same playing field. However, if I lived in a district that had a public school that I felt was inadequate for my children, my kids are going to private school. No one has the right to judge what they feel is right for their children.

Why is it that when someone becomes a public servant we presume to be able to tell them what they can and cannot do with their personal decisions? If the Obama's can afford to send their girls to an expensive private school then I say go for it!

WHY ARE YOU WORRIED ABOUT THE COST OF THE TUITION
FOR HIS DAUGHTERS, I KNOW YOU HAVE MORE PRESSING
THINGS IN YOUR LIFE TO WORRY ABOUT!
LOOK, BOTH THE MOTHER AND FATHER WERE EDUCATED
AT IVY LEAGUE SCHOOLS, THEY BOTH ATTENDED BIG
TIME HIGH SCHOOLS, HE IN HAWAII, SHE IN CHICAGO,
THEY WANT WHAT IS BEST FOR THEIR DAUGHTERS!
THEIR DAUGHTERS ATTEND PRIVATE SCHOOLS AT THE
PRESENT TIME!
HAVE A GREAT DAY, SEE YOU AT THE INAGURATION!
LETS GIVE THE FAMILY A REST FOR AWHILE AND BE
SUPPORTIVE!
DON'T ACT LIKE FOX NEWS AND SEAN HANNITY, THEY
CAN'T HANDLE THE TRUTH, OR CHANGE!
BUT GUESS WHAT IT'S GOING TO HAPPEN!


Rebecca - UBI MEA
How can attending a public school seriously be an option for these girls? The security concerns alone make it unfeasible and outrageously costly for an already financially strapped DC school system. Republicans were enraged that Bill Clinton might have stopped to get a haircut in an airport ... what would they do if the Obama girls went to a public school?

I wish the Obama kids happiness and much learning. DMD

These children are not guinea pigs. Their parents worked hard to be able to give them a better life. That's the AMERICAN way, private schools are full of ordinary people who work and pay their children's tuition just like they pay the light bill,water bill, groceries etc. Get real why should elementary school aged children be compared to college kids. These children need to continue the type of life (and better) they were living before their father became President.

The Obama's should have a choice as to where they want their daughters to go to school. The Clinton's didn't send Chelsea to public school. Malia and Sasha currently attend private school in Chicago, so why should they switch to public school just because they go to Washington. I think people should mind their own business and not worry about where these kids will go to school. Plenty of people all across America send their kids to private schools. If they can afford it, then God Bless them.

The public schools in big cities are notoriously, slow, sad--i hope that changes, unless it's a magnet school-I don't think that these girls (who, indeed, are so cute, and probably already well-educated) should have to change to a public school). it would be so hard on them don't you think? And, schooling at the White House, well, they need to get out of the White House, 'cause it could become a prison to them. I think the choice of private is inevitable in this case, don't you? yes, they have the option, thank god, because several years' ago I read a book about a black "smart" kid who went to public school in Washington, then got accepted at Brown, and what a tough time he had, there. There are limitations on being smart (the school you go, too). He had so catching up to do--which is kind of sad because the "rich" kids had that shoved in their faces since birth. That's not good, either. The O'bama's will do great though with the educating thing. What they might miss out in school; they will be sure to get it from home!

Well, it seems neither the so expensive US private, nor the public schools teach the American kids a thing or two about world georgraphy, let alone other languages or about other countries cultures, so that the Americans would learn that the world does not turn around the US alone.
Maybe the Obama's should send their kids to us here in Finland. We only have public schools, free of charge (education is totally free, including University, so that everybody has an equal chance) and its safe.

My dad didn't attain very much of an education. But that did not stop him from trying to send me to THE BEST SCHOOL HE COULD AFFORD. HE WANTED BETTER FOR HIS CHILD!

Therefore, if the Obamas whom both graduated from Harvard university, while one graduated from Princeton as well, WHY IN THE HELL ARE WE HAVING THIS DISCUSSION on where the PRESIDENT-ELECT and the LOVELY FIRST LADY want to SEND THEIR children to school?!

Are some of you clowns stating the Obama's sacrifice their children's education to appease your feeble minded inanity of intellectual incompentency by doing what any might suggest for their children?

SOME OF YOU PEOPLE CAN BE EXTREMELY STUPID AT TIMES!! - Are you products of the American Public School System? If so, you need to return back to school and try it again!

While my organization is the nation’s leading advocate for charter school choices, I’m not so sure I want to see the Obamas choose a charter school. Though I disagree with our president-elect on many issues and fear that obsessive government solutions and spending will push us further into a government dependency, I want the best for him and his family when they come to Washington. I want him to have no distractions other than those that impact us all.

The reality of the obstacles facing charters in D.C. and around the country could be such a distraction.
Please read more at http://www.edspresso.com

Inka, get a grip! You read too many bad press articles on the US. IF and only if we believe the world revolves around our ountry it's because all the world is always in our business. As in, why are you here instead of in the Sauna reading the Finnish times, sweetie?!

I feel the girls should attend a private school for protection. After all, they are the President-elects daughters and a public school is too open for them.

HOW ABOUT THEY ATTEND A PRIVATE SCHOOL BECAUSE
THEY CURRENTLY ATTEND A PRIVATE SCHOOL, AND
BECAUSE THEY WILL RECEIVE A BETTER EDUCATION AT
THE PRIVATE SCHOOL!
SEE YOU AT THE INAGURATION!

IF YOU HAVE DRIVEN A TOYOTA ALL OF YOUR LIFE,
YOU DON'T SWITCH TO A FORD ALL OF A SUDDEN!
HIS DAUGHTER'S ATTEND PRIVATE SCHOOLS NOW, AND
WILL IN THE FUTURE!
SEE YOU AT THE INAGURATION!

Michelle serves on the board of her daughters' private school. The Obamas aren't supportive of public education in word or deed, as is their right. And the DC public schools are even worse than CPS, although DC's charter schools are far better than Chicago's nepotistically, corruptly run charters.

May Malia and Sasha have a wonderful eight years.

The President Elect and the First Lady should send their children to a school that they see fit -- public or private. I understand the message that could be sent by sending their girls to public school, but like many of the fellow commenters have stated -- the security issues would be absolutely disastrous.

With the girls being in a private school that are used to children of high profiled people -- they would be sheltered from the media and be able to be children and be educated.

I look forward to the new year, my fellow Americans.

The Obamas have concerns that the rest of us don't have. Security and privacy are concerns for the First Family that the rest of us don't share. At a public school, security would be much more difficult and costly, and privacy would be impossible. Sending Sasha and Malia to public school would not protect their best interests.

The Obamas shouldn't base a school decision on politics. They go to private school now. Why should they change just to make some angry right-wingers happy? Get over it folks. Obama won. You have no say in what he and Michelle decide for their daughters!

NEWS FLASH! Amy Carter went to the nearest public school. Those four years were the safest that her fellow students ever experienced. Amy's
fellow students treated her with respect. This may surprise those who
look down thier noses at poor people. I'm not surprised. I judge all
people by the content of thier character.

It is truly satisfying to hold a mirror up to the uninformed & irrational while they diplay thier insecurities, lack of linear thought & special kind of LOVE. Perhaps there is still hope. There might be a United Church of Christ filled with the good feelings that Chicago's own Trinity United fostered - so that the entire family can continue it's religous formation. PEACE! Signed SEMPER UBI SUB UBI

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Lynn Sweet

Lynn Sweet is a columnist and the Washington Bureau Chief for the Chicago Sun-Times.

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This page contains a single entry by Lynn Sweet published on November 19, 2008 6:59 AM.

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