Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Obamas choose Sidwell Friends for Sasha and Malia

I sent a slightly different version of this piece to the Chicago Tribune letters to the editor.

I expected the Obamas to enroll their daughters in Sidwell Friends, the Quaker school Chelsea Clinton attended during her father’s White House years. Pure hypocrisy, in my opinion—the multimillionaire Obamas can select their daughters’ school based solely on education quality without regard to cost. The President-Elect won’t permit American families to have that choice. No tuition vouchers—the public school monopoly must be preserved!
Sidwell Friends admission runs about $30,000 per pupil—roughly two to three times the cost of Jewish day school tuition in Chicago. (Day school tuition varies from one school to the next and increases with student grade level.) At that cost, only Washington elites can afford to pay full freight. Similarly, families who want to send their children to private school in or near Chicago must depend on financial assistance, make significant financial sacrifices to afford tuition, or have a qualifying income that puts them in the top one percent of American households. Why should private school be reserved just for wealthy families, or families who need to meet every year to determine how they can afford private school? It’s not right for a whole host of reasons. If an Evanston public-school eighth grader wants to go to a small high school, Roycemore charges nearly $20,000. Or she can join her 700 classmates at Evanston Township High School. Decisions, decisions.

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