Chicago Sun-Times
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Michelle, Malia and Sasha Obama in Washington looking at schools

| 13 Comments

WASHINGTON--Michelle Obama and daughters Malia, 10, and Sasha, 7 have been in Washington since Sunday checking out schools.

The Obama women are returning to Chicago on Tuesday night. Michelle Obama was in Washington last week visiting schools and returned 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.

The Obamas "are looking for the right fit for their kids," she said. Last week, Michelle Obama visted two of the most elite private schools in town--Sidwell Friends and Georgetown Day School. The Quaker run Sidwell has a very rich student body, but is big on not making a big deal on wealth. Georgetown Day--the first school to integrate in the city--is known as more progressive; teachers are called by their first names.

A friend of mine whose child attends Georgetown Day School told me her child saw Malia--and a Secret Service detail-- at the school yesterday. The teachers were told to "look normal" and not treat the Obama's any different, that they just wanted to see the school in its normal state.

The Washington Post "Reliable Source" Tuesday column said the Obama daughters and Michelle spent two hours at Georgetown Day and are expected at Sidwell Friends today. Another private school, Maret, may also be in the running.

Last week, Washington Mayor Adrian Fenty told me he hoped the Obamas' would give some thought to enrolling the kids in public schools. However, that's unlikely, since the Obama girls now go to the private University of Chicago Lab School.

13 Comments

Typical elitism. The Clintons campaigned
on public education- no vouchers, and
promptly enrolled their daughter in a
private school. If Obama is really
championing more public funding for
education, shouldn't he (and his children)
suffer the same effects of poor public
education like the rest of us "little
people"?

It's a no brainer. Obama MUST send his children to private schools. Obama's children attended private school in Chicago, so why should they change now. Michelle Obama is not stupid, and will not allow her children to be sent to public school to be "dumbed down' like other public school students.

This is an issue that McCain could have hammered on, instead of the republican B.S. about taxes and national security. The public school system is primarily for the benefit of the teachers, administrators and higher education system. The Public School system is not for the benefit of the students or the community at large.

In order for the rich and powerful to keep the masses dumb, afraid and passive, they have institutionalized mis-education in the public schools. Parents should receive the money spent on public schools via vouchers to send their children to private schools. Private schools don't have the "gay" agenda in their curriculums; teach real-world financial skills that public students don't ever learn unless they become a business major in college; and teach alternative-history or history not taught in public schools about who really runs the world and this country. Private school graduates are so well advanced when they attend college that they run circles around public school grads. This is an issue that republicans need to run with, as well as the economy to benefit the working man and not the corporations.

Aw! Leave 'em alone!

The previous writer is obviously not a parent. If he was, he would understand that the best interests of one's children comes first. The notion that the Obamas should let their children "suffer" because of policy decisions is atrocious (and is an unsupported broad swipe at public education). The idea that Obama should be expected to hold out his children as an example or symbol of anything is simply wrong. Moreover, there is no basis to assert that a person cannot advocate for the interests of others simply because their own situation is different. One can ardently support public education while making a different personal choice for one's own family. Just because one has the means to choose private school in no way suggests an indifference to the interests of those who cannot. And, a choice of private school is not, by itself, a commentary on public schooling.

I wouldnt enroll my kids into public schools either. They have the money to send their child to a private school, don't talk down on them because of that. If everyone could afford to send their child to a Private school I am sure they would. Public schools are for those that cannot afford the private sector. Does that mean they shouldnt get funded. Now it would be elitist if they sent their child to private schools and said, DAMN, the public school system. No other president has been asked to send their child to public school, why are we asking this one to send his child to one. Kevin you are just looking for any reason to bash the man before he has even taken office. Get a grip and get over yourself.

Kevin,

This is hardly elitism ... The Obama's have worked hard and continue to work hard. My husband and I enrolled our children in private schools starting in Kindergarten, they are approaching graduation and we will send them to private high schools. It was our choice, our sacrifice and our dollar. Afterall, we work as they do. If you feel like you suffered a poor education, then what are "YOU" doing to change that. Change starts with each and every one of us. Perhaps your snobbery, is about seeing progressive people doing well and feeling jealous, because perhaps you can't do the same. And by the way, wouldn't you still be crying if they chose a public school and impacted the lives of all those children if they went there. Find another issue to complain about, this is hardly worthy. Those children should go where their parts want and can afford to send them. This has nothing to do with his upcoming presidency. By the way, where have most presidents sent their children to school? I would bet they've all gone to private schools.

Response to Kevin Kensik; Be real Kevin. If both you and I had the means to do so, we would enroll our children in private school as well. I don't consider it elitism when you want the best for your children. I call that good parenting. Since they are the children of President Elect Obama, I'm sure security is of the utmost concern especially in light of the increased racial threats against Obama being made across the country.

You have to consider the security issues needed in this situation

Sure, private schools could be called elite. However, when you consider additional challenges of sending the president's kids' to public school as Carter did... It's a noble effort, but I've read that Amy Carter was pretty miserable due to the security precautions (such as never going outside at recess) and the setup of private schools actually lets the kids in that circumstance have a more normal childhood. Not to defend private schools, after all, I'm public school-educated, and my kids will be, too. But I think it makes sense in this situation and after reading about Amy Carter's experiences.

for the record:

1. I am a parent and my wife and I struggle
every month to send both of our children to private schools. I don't consider myself an
elitist. Elistists believe that because they
are better than the rest of us, the same rules do not apply to them;

2. I am also taxed (by virtue of real estate
taxes) to pay the for the inadequate public
education system as well. I do not endorse
public education and therefore I have no duty
to fix it (as suggested by Cynthia). What I did to "fix it" was to support vouchers;

3. As Johnny Johnson correctly points out, the
public school system is for the benefit of
employees only, who elect the politicians to fund
their incomes and pensions;

4. As MAN PLEASE correctly points out, if
everyone could send their kids to private
schools, they would (good argument for vouchers);

5. And last but not least, if SECURITY were
such an issue, what is wrong with public schools?
Private schools generally don't have full-time
police officers, metal detectors, and other
security prevention measures in place like
public schools.

It is exactly the irony that a politician who
is endorsed and elected by union members to
protect their interests will not risk his
"children's best interests" by subjecting them
to the same system he endorses. And, for what
it's worth, I wish Obama well but it is
hypocrisy, plain and simple.

It would have been great if Lynn asked Fenty why he felt DC public schools were not appropriate for his two sons. I respect Fenty's desire to have the best education for his own two kids, but it's hypocritical to preach to the Obamas about how they should consider DC public schools.

Why is it that when Democrats cherish education and knowledge and yes, being able to speak in complete sentences the Republicans call them elitist. Let these parents and these children go to the school that they choose and best fits their needs. Do we really need anymore dysfluent people such as Bush 1 and Bush 2.

LET ME SAY THIS AGAIN, IF THE TWO DAUGHTERS
CURRENTLY ATTEND A PRIVATE SCHOOL, WHY DO YOU
THINK BECAUSE THEIR FATHER IS THE 44TH PRESIDENT
OF THE UNITED STATES, THAT THIS SHOULD STOP!
THEY WILL GO TO ANOTHER PRIVATE SCHOOL IN ANOTHER
CITY, BECAUSE THEY HAVE TO MOVE TO D.C. BECAUSE
ONCE AGAIN THEIR FATHER JUST BECAME THE 44TH
PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES!
YOU DON'T NEED SECURITY AT THESE SCHOOLS BECAUSE IF
YOU ACT A FOOL AT THESE SCHOOLS THEY INVITE YOU
TO LEAVE!
PUBLIC SCHOOLS DON'T HAVE THESE LUXURY!
THE SECRET SERVICE WILL BE ALL THE SECURITY THESE
SPECIAL DAUGHTERS NEED, PLEASE ALLOW THEM TO GO
TO THEIR NEW PRIVATE SCHOOL, THANK-YOU!

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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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About this Entry

This page contains a single entry by Lynn Sweet published on November 18, 2008 12:16 PM.

Lynn Sweet on MSNBC's "Hardball" talking about Obama McCain meeting was the previous entry in this blog.

Malia and Sasha Obama visiting the White House this afternoon to check out their new home is the next entry in this blog.

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