It's sort of a sad state of affairs when there's been exponentially more conjecture and reportage about what kind of dog the Obama family will chose than what kind of school Malia and Sasha will attend. Maybe it says something unfortunate about our national priorities…but moving on, Politico is reporting that public school is still a possibility for the Obama family upon their move to Washington D.C. Sasha and Malia were privately educated in Chicago, but public school proponents believe that the President elect has a community obligation to educate his kids publicly.In an open letter to the Obamas, D.C. mom of a public school attending child and writer Stephanie Mencimer pleads with Barack and Michelle to embrace the Washington school system:
One of the major problems with the city's schools is that they've been all but abandoned by middle-class parents who can use their political clout to hold schools to higher standards and to demand sufficient resources for them. Right now, DC schools are at a critical turning point. Some middle class families, particularly with very young kids, are starting to come back into the system, which holds great promise for the future of education in the city. But keeping those families—and convincing more to do so—is a major challenge. The arrival of the Obama girls in a DC public school would send a powerful message to other nervous yuppie parents: your kids will be ok here—come join us! Those parents can be a major force for good that, unlike tax cuts, does have a trickle down effect on lots of kids whose parents don't know how to write grant proposals or lobby Congress. And imagine the turnout for PTA meetings should Michelle join!
Mencimer does concede, however, that some of the schools in the D.C. system are so bad, "I myself have serious reservations about eventually sending my own kids there." The commenters on DCist are relatively tame about the issue, and most of them say the Obamas should do whatever they think is best for their children regardless of how it looks to the community. There are more wackadoos in the comments section of the Washington Post, some of whom are still talking about Bill Ayers and ACORN and generally frothing at the mouth. Mencimer says she was vastly disappointed when Bill and Hillary Clinton decided to send Chelsea to the private Sidwell Friends. And after all, the D.C. public school system was good enough for Amy Carter…although she did turn out to be a protest starting radical hippie feminist. Public School Still A Possibility For Obamas [Politico] Public School For The Obama Girls, Please? [Mother Jones] Where Will Sasha And Malia Go To School? [DCist] Michelle Obama Visits Georgetown Day School [WaPo]