Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Sidwell Friends

The Obama daughters, like Chelsea Clinton before them, will attend Sidwell Friends School.

I do not fault the Obamas for sending their daughters to private school, nor do I fault them for accepting the money, support, time, or homage of teachers unions. It is the teachers unions that show their hypocrisy when they support candidates who send their children to private school, not candidates themselves.

Mike at EIA gives us some very interesting (and no doubt sarcastic) information about Sidwell Friends, and one wonders how the NEA folks can look themselves in the mirror while supporting two Democratic presidents in a row who send their children there.

A better question is why the Obamas would choose Sidwell Friends, a school sorely lacking in many of the elements we are told are required for educational excellence. It would be a shame if the Obama kids were to miss out on all these benefits, so we humbly submit these additions and subtractions to make Sidwell Friends the type of school the experts want all schools to become:

Add a unionized workforce and a collective bargaining agreement. NEA asserts "that the attainment and exercise of collective bargaining rights are essential to the promotion of education employee and student needs in society." How can the Obama kids have their education needs filled without agency fee, release time, grievances, binding arbitration and strikes? ...

Add diversity. The Obama kids will become part of the 39% of Sidwell students who are racial/ethnic minorities. But the DC Public Schools are 95% racial/ethnic minorities. How can the Obama children be denied so much of the rich cultural mix our nation's capital provides?

Subtract religion. The Quaker tradition is part of daily life at Sidwell Friends, including weekly worship meetings for all students, Quaker or not. This isn't very inclusive of the Catholics, Muslims, Hindus, Wiccans and animists among the student body. Religious beliefs should only be studied from an academic standpoint and never practiced within a school's walls.
Can I get an "Amen!"?


Rhymes With Right said...

Gotta disagree, Darren. When you have a politician who has actively advocated keeping children trapped in failing public schools while sending his kids elsewhere, I do fault him for hypocrisy. When such a politician labels as enemies of public education those who support letting children of all social classes escape from failing schools like in DC while availing himself of that very option, you have serious hypocrisy that shows him to be unfit for public office.

Mrs. C said...

I wonder what his girls will be wearing during the school's Gay Pride and Tolerance week?


Guess not.

Maybe it's just the underclass that needs to learn these "family values" during school hours. :]

Whatever. IMO he's a bit hypocritical to send his girls there, and also hypocritical that there isn't a big outcry from the teachers who individually elected the man and believe in gay rights, etc.

At least, though, he isn't trying to get away with saying he's "homeschooling" like the Edwards family did. Using public school curriculum. And a certified teacher. And a school room. That made me positively gag. HELLO, that is "public school at home," not homeschooling. Big, big, big difference.

Darren said...

RWR, does he in fact advocate against vouchers? I know he's changed position so many times that you could find him on all sides of any issue; what is his view on vouchers *this* week?

I know the NEA has used the term "friends of education" before; has Obama used the term "enemies of public education"? If so, it would be news to me.

allen (in Michigan) said...

A hypocritical politician? Oh my God! Alert the media!

OK, scratch that last but come on, does anyone who has much of a choice send their kids to the decrepit ruin that the D.C. school system is widely regarded to be? The answer's in the numbers: D.C. has one of the highest percentages of kids in charters of any city in the U.S. Obama has a choice and charges of hypocrisy will most likely be met with stony silence where they don't receive a quite proper "kiss my skinny, black butt".

I can't even give much credence to the charge that the unions are hypocritical.

Hypocrisy's too complex a motivation to explain union behaviour. Unions are a lot more like one-celled animals blindly moving towards money and power and blindly recoiling from any threats. The few exceptions - the AFT comes to mind - still exhibit largely the same blindly tropic and phobic behaviors, they just talk a less ideologically pure game.

With that in mind, the NEA is neither a friend nor an enemy of education; it's a parasite of public education and I'm using the term in its biological sense, free of moral taint. All labor unions are parasitic bringing nothing of value to the exchange as a part of their nature. Of course unions aren't parasites, they're parasitic, so you'll find the occasional union or local that has, due to local circumstances a bit of leeway. But it's not the way the smart money bets.

In any case, I was wrong about the black vote this time; identity trumped education. Identity's obvious, immediate and compelling, education, in the form of more charters, is a less obvious, not immediate and thus not immediately compelling. Next time around it might be tougher for a Democrat to simply assume the black vote if the Democrats are still in the pocket of the NEA. Even if the candidate's black.

lsand said...

Re vouchers - BHO has, to the best of my knowledge, always been adamantly opposed to them. He strays from the union party line only on merit pay, which he has supported...so far.

Ellen K said...

Just an observation, but all of my liberal friends live in the city for diversity, but send their children to private schools. Why is that? In fact the most liberal person I know moved from an upscale urban neighborhood to a suburb when her daughter reached high school age. It's as if they like the idea of diversity in theory, but not in practice. Of course, given the choice between putting my own kids in DC public schools or private schools, I would opt for private as simply a matter of security. I am sure the Secret Service is relieved at any rate. Friends has to be an easier perimeter to secure than an inner city school with metal detectors and thugs on every corner.