Saturday, January 10, 2009

Obama Chooses Private School--Well, Duh

So I've heard that Barack Obama is sending his two daughters to Sidwell Friends School, a private school where Chelsea Clinton also received part of her education. And why wouldn't he? He didn't send them to public schools in Chicago, so why would he try out the failing public schools in Washington, D.C.?

Since school choice is one of the most important political issues to me, I thought I'd mention this article by Ed Feulner. In it Feulner rightly points out the irony of Obama's decision.

During his campaign, he vowed, “We cannot be satisfied until every child in America -- I mean every child -- has the same chance for a good education that we want for our own children.” And the best way to give students that chance is to give their parents a choice. If parents were allowed to pick their children’s school (as the Obamas have now done twice), they’d pick the best available school, not merely the one that happens to be in their neighborhood.

...Sadly, candidate Obama seemed to be leaning in the wrong direction. “What I do oppose,” he told the American Federation of Teachers, “is spending public money for private school vouchers. We need to focus on fixing and improving our public schools, not throwing our hands up and walking away from them.”

Giving parents and students a choice is not "throwing our hands up and walking away from" public schools. Rather, school vouchers put power in the hands of common people, rather than giving it directly to a corrupt and inefficient public education system.

What we have now, as this site makes clear, is a system in which teachers' unions work politically to maintain the status quo, which is that teachers get public money for doing less than our money is worth. So Barack Obama is really in favor of a system that favors the powerful over the powerless.

School vouchers, however, would still use public money to pay for education, but they would give power to the powerless, choice to those who have no choice. This would create a system in which schools actually have to compete for the money they make, and that would be in the public's best interest.

I do recall a commercial campaign by Lending Tree that said, "When banks compete, you win." When it comes to education, it's just as simple. When schools compete, students win. It frustrates me that Barack Obama would put the interests of teachers' unions before the interests of America's youth, despite what his rhetoric may say.

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