Progressive Revival

(Cross-posted on

I have received a number of emails and seen a lot written
about Obama’s decision not to send his girls to DC public schools.  People
are saying he has thrown the urban public school system under the bus and
betrayed the inner-city kids whose parents can’t afford to pay $30K/year in
tuition for a private school. 

I can understand why people would want Obama’s daughters in
their schools or school system, but I think that any critique of Obama or
implication he is a hypocrite or sell-out are grossly unfair. 

If Obama had said public schools were fine or that they
didn’t need more resources and then sent his kids to private school, that would
be one thing.  But he’s working to improve public schools precisely
because they aren’t a place he would send his own children and doesn’t think
other parents should be forced to do so. 

It seems to me that health care provides a perfect analogy
to this public school question.  Should we condemn a politician who
champions universal health care or the need to improve SCHIP unless he refuses
to accept health care benefits for his own family? 

And for those of us who champion family and good parenting,
I don’t think we should be asking parents to sacrifice their children to make
political points.  I have no doubt that, being a fallen creature, Obama
will do plenty of things during the next 8 years to rightly justify
critique.  But fighting for improved schooling for all children in this
country while at the same time providing the best he can for his daughters is
not one of them.


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