Can you please help the kids, Mr. Obama?


President Barack Obama sends his daughters Sasha and Malia to the Sidwell Friends School instead of a public school in Washington D.C.

President Barack Obama sends his daughters Sasha and Malia to the Sidwell Friends School instead of a public school in Washington D.C.

Ever since Barack Obama came onto the political scene, he has had the rarely found ability in a politician to connect with the youth. His campaign references to Lil Wayne, his love for basketball and his fresh, youthful appearance have all contributed to making a never before seen connection with the youth of America, resulting in huge voter turnout for him in November. Obama has long talked about making college available for all kids and bring prices down. Who doesn’t like the sound of that? What is bothersome, however, is his current hypocrisy to look out for the kids in the Washington, D.C. area.


Currently, the Washington, D.C. public schools system is a mess. It is nearly impossible for kids to get a decent education out of the schools currently available there. That is why the Opportunity Schools Program has been such a blessing for minority families living in that area. OSP is a program that allows kids to earn scholarships to attend better, private schools in the area. The voucher they earn is worth $7,500 and over 1,700 kids currently use those vouchers. 99% of those kids are either Hispanic or African-American and the Department of Education has found that these kids in the program have improved in many academic areas. While 1,700 kids use the scholarships now, more than four kids apply for each of the scholarships, which has become known as a lifeline out of the disastrous D.C. public schools system.

So what is the big problem? Congress wants to destroy this scholarship program. In an amendment sponsored by Democratic Senator Dick Durbin in the omnibus spending bill passed in March, OSP will no longer receive funding. It was determined that the program would be eliminated for the 2009-10 school year, but members of Congress will have a chance to debate the issue this month. Education Secretary Arne Duncan has prevented and been opposed to the program from giving out scholarships next year as well. Does Duncan’s daughter attend any of the D.C. public schools? Of course not. Duncan moved out to Arlington, Virginia, so his daughter could attend school there, where the Arlington public schools system is far superior to the system in D.C. Do Obama’s daughters attend a D.C. public school? Of course not. They attend the prestigious Sidwell Friends School, a private institution.

How can Obama be such a strong supporter of the public schools system if they aren’t good enough for his own daughters? Shouldn’t everyone have an equal chance to get a great education? Maybe Obama supports the public schools as a politician because of the Democratic Party’s decades-long alliance with the teachers’ unions. Why has the Republican Party gotten no credit for standing up for equal education for Africa-Americans and Hispanics? The media has long branded the GOP has a party that will cut spending on education as soon as they get a chance to. Where has the media been in its coverage of this education issue?

Obama has also promised to bring down the cost of college tuition for everyone, even going as far as to say he wants it to be free. Obama’s beliefs about economic equality come back into play here. Currently, you can earn much more money at a job if you have a degree. This is because not everyone has one and if you do, it shows you have put in extra work and have that education to complete your job. If everyone has a degree, however, the extra pay that comes with a degree won’t be there anymore. Everyone with a degree will be gunning for white-collar jobs, which brings those wages down. When that happens, there won’t be as many people trying to find blue-collar working jobs because they will have degrees. That means that blue-collar job wages will go up. Economic equality and social justice, in President Obama’s eyes.

For a private Catholic school in California, the price of tuition is somewhere near $9,000. For a child to go through a public school, it will cost taxpayers about $14,000. The pay for teachers does not correlate with the performance of students. The correct method of education should be for families to receive a $10,000 dollar voucher to send their kids wherever they want to go to school. Instead of throwing more money at public schools, teachers should be rewarded for excelling in their jobs and helping students perform better on tests. With the current system set up by teachers’ unions, teachers only get paid more the longer they work. This is not fair to students and it is not fair to the teachers who work harder and are better at their job but get no financial reward.

With the power and popularity President Obama currently has, all he has to do is say the word for the Opportunity Scholarship Program to stay in place. Instead, he has continued rooting for public schools in an area where public schools have failed. If he can’t send his kids to those schools, why should anyone else have to? Hypocrisy among politicians is often a grilling point for media members, especially when there are Republicans acting as hypocrites. It is a shame that nobody in the media will call out President Obama for the hypocrisy he is displaying right now.

Check out William McGurn’s article in the Wall Street Journal for more info on the Opportunity Schools Program.


2 Responses to “Can you please help the kids, Mr. Obama?”

  1. Erin Says:

    I think a huge factor for Obama sending his kids to private school is safety. The school is easier to control. And if the “D.C. public schools system is a mess” I wouldn’t want to send my kid there either just to prove a point. You don’t talk about the gang violence or the safety issues involved at these public schools, and that’s a huge factor for parents.

    • reaganlives Says:

      Erin, I completely agree, the public schools are not safe and are not good options. Parents shouldn’t have to send their kids to these schools, that is the whole point I am trying to make. Congress is now taking away that option from minority parents that could send their kids to a better, safer environment. In the case of the Obama kids, I would have to presume that they have personal security guards with them at all times, so safety isn’t as much of an issue for them. The issue is that Obama has continually championed the public school system, while at the same time steering his kids away from it.

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