The most telling appointment Barack Obama has made since becoming President-elect has nothing to do with his Cabinet or senior advisors.
It was the appointment of Sidwell Friends School, a private grammar school in Washington D.C. to which the Obamas have reportedly decided to send their two daughters.
I applaud Obama’s commitment to the education of his daughters, choosing to send them to the best schools.
It is just too bad that Obama opposes extending that choice to families whose children are relegated by geography and by income to schools he knows and everyone knows will fail them.
And Obama does indeed know something of this problem. While an Illinois State Senator, Obama represented a district with more than 12,000 students in failing elementary schools (according to NCLB standards, 2004).
During that time, while Obama’s daughters matriculated at the prestigious — and private — University of Chicago Lab School, thousands of other children Obama was elected to represent were inventoried at Chicago Public School (CPS) warehouses where most are stored for 8-12 years until they are mature enough to either enter the penal system or go off into the real world having mastered the phrase, “Would you like to try one of our combo meals today?”
What did Obama do then? The same thing he does now, backslap the teachers unions for their good intentions while generations of children from low-income families are ushered into society’s underclass, the direct result of not being taught to read or do simple math.
Obama is not the only one whose private action is disconnected from his public posturing. A 2004 study by the Thomas B. Fordham Institute found that 39% of Chicago public school teachers send their children to private schools (compared with only 23% for non-Chicago Public School teacher families citywide). One wonders what teachers on the inside of CPS know that the rest of us do not.
If CPS was not good enough for the Obama children and CPS is not good enough for the children of 4 in 10 CPS teachers, then for which children exactly is CPS good enough?