View Full Version : Mr. President, We Want Your Children's Education, Too

01-19-2011, 08:43 AM
This from Truthout (http://www.truth-out.org/mr-president-we-want-your-childrens-education-too66425) by Rachel Levy:
I agree that it was the economy that doomed the donkeys' midterm election results this past November, but something rang true for me in the descriptions of last week's voters as resentful of Obama's tin ear for the common person. I used to think that claims of Obama's elitism were baloney. As Jon Stewart quipped about "arugula-gate": "He's an elitist! He eats slightly more bitter green leafy vegetables than I do."

But now, given the comments Obama made on NBC's Today Show while talking about why he and the first lady don't send their children to DC public schools, I'm not so sure. Obama's alleged elitism may not deter his ability to govern, but it does undermine his legitimacy in the face of growing populist sentiment (and not just of the Tea Party), and it further erodes my confidence in his education policies.

I went to DC public schools from the age of four until I walked across the graduation stage at the end of 12th grade. I went on to teach in public schools and I am currently a public school parent. I value my DCPS education, but my experiences there were far from perfect. There were times I pined to go to the Georgetown Day School, or the Field School or even to the public Bethesda-Chevy Chase High School over in the Maryland burbs. From what I know, Sidwell Friends (the private school where Obama sends his daughters) offers amazing academics and extracurricular activities. But I wouldn't trade most of the teachers and coaches I had, nor my friends or even the peers who called me names because of what the color of my skin represented to them. It's all a vital part of my identity, of how I view the world, of how I relate to others. My DCPS past, warts and all, has made me a different person than I would have been had I gone to a place like Sidwell, different in a way that seems lesser to my current eye.

Back in September, when asked on the Today Show if, "Malia and Sasha would get the same kind of education at a DC public school compared to the elite private academy that they're attending now," President Obama responded:
I'll be blunt with you. The answer is no right now. The DC public school systems are struggling. They have made some important strides over the last several years to move in the direction of reform. There are some terrific individual schools in the DC system. And that's true, by the way, in every city across the country. There are some great public schools that are on par with any private school in the country. I'll be very honest with you. Given my position, if I wanted to find a great public school for Malia and Sasha to be in, we could probably maneuver to do it. But for a mom and a dad who are working hard but who don't have a bunch of connections, don't have a lot of choice in terms of where they live, they should be getting the same quality education for their kids as anybody else, and we don't have that yet.
That sounds like perfectly respectable honesty, except it isn't, not really.

read more>> (http://www.truth-out.org/mr-president-we-want-your-childrens-education-too66425)