Sunday, April 19, 2009

Obama Puts Daughters' Education Above Politics

Shikha Dalmia writing in Forbes, says that President Obama undermined D.C.'s successful school voucher program just as the project was delivering positive results. He writes:

The most blatant hypocrisy involves Obama's personal parental decisions. He chose to send his own daughters to Sidwell Friends, a private school among D.C.'s most exclusive institutions whose annual tuition runs around $30,000. If he felt so strongly that offering children an exit route would stymie the reform of public schools, then why not put his own daughters in one? Jimmy Carter did. This would not only please unions--prompting them to open up their war chest even more in the next elections--but also signal his resolve about reform. If he didn't, that's presumably because his daughters' futures are too precious to be sacrificed on the altar of politics. But, evidently, the futures of other children are not.

Incidentally, among the children who will have to return to public school once this program is scrapped are two of his daughter's schoolmates, who were using their vouchers to attend Sidwell. It's sad that Obama's message of hope and change doesn't include children like them.

While I see Dalmia's point, I know that private schools offered my children better educations and I found a way, as a struggling single parent, to send them to private schools. It is all about priorities and recognizing the possibilities.

I started by encouraging my children at an early age to write well. By the time they were in Middle School they already had some publications. This put them on the fast track for scholarships and grants. My second oldest daughter went to the Westover School in Connecticut for 4 years of college prep studies. My youngest daughter went to The Andrews School near Cleveland, and my son attended the Milton Hershey School for one year.

Granted in this economic downturn many of the smaller private schools don't have scholarships to offer deserving students, but parents should still consider the possibilities and develop skills in their children that will give them a competitive edge.

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