President and Mrs. Obama believe strongly in the public school system. As long as their own children don't have to actually go to one:
Continuing a tradition among Washington's power elite, President-elect Barack Obama and his wife have decided to send their kids to Sidwell Friends School. Michelle Obama confirmed yesterday that Malia and Sasha, the incoming first daughters, will enroll at the pricey private school when the family moves into the White House in January.
Back to the present and a minor problem for the President and Washington Democrats who owe the teachers unions a favor or two:
A little-noted provision of the Democrats' budget bill would kill a scholarship program in the District of Columbia that allows some children to escape from the District's awful public schools and attend private schools, like the Obama girls. In today's Wall Street Journal, William McGurn profiles Sarah and James Parker, who attend Sidwell Friends with Sasha and Malia Obama
The children are Sarah and James Parker. Like the Obama girls, Sarah and James attend the Sidwell Friends School in our nation's capital. Unlike the Obama girls, they could not afford the school without the $7,500 voucher they receive from the D.C. Opportunity Scholarship program. Unfortunately, a spending bill the Senate takes up this week includes a poison pill that would kill this program -- and with it perhaps the Parker children's hopes for a Sidwell diploma.
President Obama's Press Secretary Robert Gibbs had this to say when questioned about his boss's opposition to school choice and vouchers:
QUESTION: On education, there's a provision in the omnibus spending bill that would sunset the D.C. voucher plan. And I'm wondering -- there's been a lot of publicity about this brother and sister pair at Sidwell who use their voucher money to -- to pay for tuition at the same school the president chose to send his children. I'm wondering if you could restate the president's opposition to the D.C. voucher plan and why he's...
GIBBS: Yes, I -- I would -- let me go -- I've not read the article today, if there was one. I think the...
QUESTION: Well, it's just about two kids who use their voucher money to go to Sidwell. I mean...
GIBBS: Right. I mean, I think -- right.
QUESTION: I mean -- I mean, and they would -- in other words, if they cut the voucher program, they couldn't go there.
GIBBS: Why are you even providing me the opportunity to be the middleman? I mean, again...
QUESTION: Well, could you just restate the president's position?
GIBBS: Well, I think the president has concerns about -- concerns about taking large amounts of funding out of the system to -- to address this, that the president obviously believes -- and I think you'll hear him talk about and has talked about -- the need for reform in our educational system, but -- but has not agreed with the program in the past. I'll see if there's anything to update on that.
I can't wait to hear it.