Friday, November 21, 2008

Equity of rights

Great quote in the December 2008 edition of the School Reform News:

"Americans insist on equality of opportunity in housing, employment, and public accommodations, yet we trample upon this right where it hurts us most--the raising and nurturing of our children," said Rabbi Israel Teitelbaum cofounder of Parents for Free Choice in Education...
In the meantime another family that can afford choice gets a free pass to use it:
President-elect Barack Obama and his wife Michelle “have every right” to send their children to public or private school, and no one should “criticize” their decision, Randi Weingarten, president of the American Federation of Teachers (AFT), said in an interview with on Monday at the National Press Club.
Got that? NO ONE should criticize their decision. But it's OK to hamper the efforts of poor families in Milwaukee, Cleveland, Washington DC and Nashville, TN to use vouchers and charters in order to raise and nurture their children as they determine is best for them.

No hope or change here.

UPDATE: They Obama's have chosen Sidwell Friends (again replicating the Clinton administration).

They will also be joining the grandchildren of Vice President Elect Joe Biden. In fact, Malia had told her parents she wanted to attend Sidwell because of her friendship with one of the grandchildren, according to sources familiar with the decision.

In selecting Sidwell, the Obamas have chosen a rigorous school where many of Washington's most prominent and moneyed families have sent their children. Vice President Gore moved his son, Albert Gore III, to Sidwell from St. Albans in the 1990s, and Washington Post Co. chairman Donald Graham sent his children there as well.

Ben Cunningham has the tuition numbers.


N.S. Allen said...

Psh, I'll complain about it a lot. The Obamas should send their kids to public school(s), and that's that. Unless there are, say, irreconcilable safety issues, I'm going to be disappointed, if they choose not to.

Personally, I think the biggest problem with the hyper-emphasis on school choice these days is that it waters down collective will to get the failing schools in shape. Were I not a college student and therefore broke, I would feel safe betting good money that, if we made every kid go to public schools, we'd suddenly see much louder demands for accountability in education and, thereby, a lot more improvement.

But, seeing as how that's never going to be politically feasible, I'd settle for the first family, which certainly has more power to alter the focus of the education debate than any parents anywhere else in the U.S., putting their kids in public schools.

(That being said, Obama's education plan actually has some choice-y elements to it. He's for increased national funding for charters, for instance.)

Kay Brooks said...

They've chosen Sidwell Friends ('natch). I've updated the original post.

I don't blame them. DC schools are among the most expensive public schools and among the worst in actually doing the job. If money were the answer...they should have figured it out. Is it too much to hope that the Obama's will notice and make an effort to fundamentally change those public schools for the better?

It's one thing to increase funding for charters but when state law won't allow charters--what will money do? When regular public school administration considers Charters the enemy of 'real schools' they'll never really get the support they need. When unions are more concerned about the schools being non-union than glad the children are actually learning unions will remain the anchors that prevent real improvement in the public education system.

Nashteach said...

another family that can afford choice gets a free pass...But it's OK to hamper the efforts of poor use vouchers.

Sounds like one of those "spread the wealth," "redistibuty" class warfare kinds of programs that Democrats are usually berated for.

N.S.: hyper-emphasis on school choice these days is that it waters down collective will to get the failing schools in shape

I disagree that there's a hyper emphasis; in fact, locally, when it comes to actual action, MNPS has done very little recently.