WASHINGTON--Mayor Adrian Fenty told me Tuesday he hopes the president-elect and Michelle Obama--and all new District of Columbia residents--give some thought to enrolling their children in public schools.
Fenty commented the day after the school shopping Michelle Obama toured Sidwell Friends and Georgetown Day, elite private schools . The Obama girls, Malia, 10 and Sasha, 7 attend the University of Chicago Lab School, where Michelle serves on the board.
"Our goal is to have DC 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 said.
Fenty and D.C. Schools Chancellor Michelle Rhee have been trying to overhaul the troubled school system. Fenty said there are schools the Obamas' could consider that are achieving results on par with the private schools here.
The mayor, an early supporter of president-elect Barack Obama, told me he would not personally pitch the incoming First Couple. School selection is "an extremely personal decision for any family," he said.
He does want to send the message that there are D.C. schools "that can compete" with private schools.
"By this point people realize that under Chancellor Rhee we are moving the system as fast forward as humanely possible," Fenty said.
And this closing note from the mayor: "Please write that we are fixing this system for all the children of the city."
The last White House child to attend a public school was Amy Carter.