If testing and measuring makes for better schools, why are the Obama girls in a school that doesn’t agree?

The Obamas opted for a pricey pivate school for their daughters. (AP)

The Obamas opted for a pricey private school for their daughters. (AP Photo)

In a powerful essay in Education Week, retired educator Alan Jones of Illinois shares his experience accompanying his daughter to look at schools for his grandson.

Jones talks about today’s test-driven education classrooms, codified through No Child Left Behind and incentivized through Race to the Top. He compares schools that measure students almost entirely by test scores to the holistic approach of the Sidwell School attended by President Obama’s girls, saying. “When President Obama talks about good schools, he is talking about schools for other people’s children, not his own.”

Jones makes great points, although comparisons between public and private schools are not necessarily instructive in view of the wide gap in costs. The best private schools in metro Atlanta cost $18,000 to $22,000 a year — and that does not count books and fees — while the average per-pupil spending in public schools in Georgia is around $9,600.

And Atlanta is a bargain compared to private school prices in New York and Washington. Tuition at  Sidwell is more than $32,000 per year. (While quality may certainly be the prime reason that U.S. presidents, including Richard Nixon and Bill Clinton, enroll their children in Sidwell, a desire to keep their kids out of the public eye is probably another. )

But Jones makes searing points about how a daily diet of drill and test has turned school into an uninspired and unappetizing gruel.

Here is an excerpt but take a look at his full piece in Ed Week:

Nothing could have prepared me for the mindlessness of the hallways, classrooms, and main offices I observed in the coming weeks. I reviewed curriculum with no art or music and only sporadic attempts at teaching science. I followed a school schedule heavily focused on basic literacy skills. I found kindergarten programs with no recess. I observed classrooms where students were required to repeat state standards written on the chalkboard and spend hours completing mountains of worksheets designed to make children more test-savvy.

The schooling landscape worsened when I questioned administrators and teachers about their schools’ instructional programs. What I heard was a form of pseudo-educational jargon that made no sense. The new foreign language of schooling was an incomprehensible mix of educational alphabet soup (RTI, ELL, AYP, LD, BD, ADHD), business metaphors (data-driven, performance-based, TGM), and an urgent plea for more time to prepare students for the state test in March.

Worn out by what I was observing in schools in my community, I wondered what kind of school the president’s children attended… Sidwell students, it seemed, experienced an instructional program that allocated appropriate time for each discipline to be taught well; engaged in instructional activities that were problem-based and interdisciplinary; participated in a rich extracurricular program; and were supervised by administrators and teachers who place children’s social and emotional development on an equal footing with their intellectual growth.

Under this new government-driven regime of testing and accountability, schools are no longer the schools I attended, taught in, or led. This new breed of accountability-driven schools is more interested in reaching some number at the end of the school year than with my grandson’s deep—and untestable—need to be known, respected, and educated.

–From Maureen Downey, for the AJC Get Schooled blog

137 comments Add your comment

Fled

February 3rd, 2013
4:59 am

Maureen, your blog continues to be one of the most interesting anywhere.

Of course, excellent education costs money, a lot of money. I agree with the other side that the education funding that exists is squandered on administrative positions that provide little or no real value. The superintendent’s staff in Fulton offers a case study of money wasted, as do many of the people working in the multiple levels of central office administration. This also holds at the school level where there are far too many six-figure assistant principals who, truly, contribute nothing to education, but do manage to cause multiple headaches for teachers in their misguided attempts to impose standards of customer service on educators.

However, the cure of for-profit charter schools is worse than the disease and will result in much greater emphasis on looking good on paper (something they are indeed good at doing) and a great decline in education across the board. It seems to me that parents hear “charter” and think “private school without tuition,” but that is a false metonymy, as shall soon be evident. The market cannot cure the ills of education.

I gave up, threw in the towel, and fled. My children are receiving an excellent education in an internationally recognized private school. What about yours?

Beverly Fraud

February 3rd, 2013
5:28 am

@Fled, if you’ve ever taking a look at the Invisible Serf’s Collar website, you might wonder just how far the tentacles reach and will schools overseas, even the private ones, be affected by what’s coming down the pike.

Reading that blog makes you think is the author is reaaally reaching or worse, is it the equivalent of Morpheus asking you if you want the blue pill or the red pill?

Private Citizen

February 3rd, 2013
5:30 am

Maybe the federally placed “Race to the Top” is in reality using political interference to create systematic destabilization, or as John Taylor Gatto would say, an agenda of incoherence. This would explain why no state leader, teacher or administrator can seem to grasp the tiger by the tail. It may be impossible to do so.

Peter Smagorinsky

February 3rd, 2013
6:34 am

bbear

February 3rd, 2013
7:28 am

I taught at a very expensive private school for three years. I was floored by how disorganized everything was. There were no standards or set curriculum, no emphasis on problem solving, and most of the teachers had no idea what a curriculum map was. The entire school was years behind their public counterparts however the parents were paying to keep their kids out of the “evil” public schools and to say “My child goes to ___________________ Academy.”

dc

February 3rd, 2013
7:29 am

my kids got a decent education at the local public school, and are now employed in great jobs, and on their own. We don’t need to spend a huge amount of money to educate kids. we need to figure out how to recognize and reward our better teachers so they keep teaching. it’s pretty much that simple.

bootney farnsworth

February 3rd, 2013
7:33 am

simple. the same reason the Clintons did it. the rules are for the little people, not “them” congress routinely makes laws they exempt themselves from, and Obama routinely ignores the constitution and congress.

why should education be any different

bootney farnsworth

February 3rd, 2013
7:41 am

Race to the Top as it was explained to me by a buddy who recently retired from Lumpkin Co. after over 30 years in the classroom.

RTTT is the IRS of education. deliberately designed so no one can understand it, deliberately designed to be unachievable so it can self perpetuate, and a great tool to reward the “deserving” and punish those who ask questions / step out of line.
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RTTT is educational busy work, to keep everyone from looking behind the curtain

Georgia Dad

February 3rd, 2013
7:42 am

Ever notice how all male teachers at public schools are coaches. There is no budget for a basic physics class yet the athletic programs are fully staffed.

Hooty Goot

February 3rd, 2013
7:49 am

Sidwell may be the type of school that allows secret service agents to roam the halls and keep the school secure. All presidents’ children have to have this type of security.

dc

February 3rd, 2013
7:51 am

and btw my wife is one of those really outstanding “ex teachers”…and if her skills and contributions were rewarded and recognized, she’d likely still be teaching, and inspiring students. It wasn’t the lack of money that drove her out, it was watching teachers who were awful, make the same or more money with zero penalty for how they were damaging kids lives.

indigo

February 3rd, 2013
8:08 am

Enter your comments here

Pride and Joy

February 3rd, 2013
8:08 am

Why are the Obama girls in a school that doesn’t agree?
The answer is OBVIOUS.
Because the traditional public schools in D.C. are some of the WORST in the country.
The Obamas are great examples of good parents everywhere.
It would be politically correct of the Obamas to throw their girls in a public school in D.C. but…
The children are MORE IMPORTANT than being politically correct. They chose the very best school they could reasonably commute to while living in the White House.
Their daughters are top priority.
Many, many, many middle class parents feel exactly like the Obamas. It is exactly how I feel.
I am considering selling my home and taking a loss on my house just to get out of Dekalb and APS and moving to get into Decatur City schools.
I want my children to have the best education I can possibly afford.
If I had the money, I would have put my kids in Woodward, Lovett or Paidea. I just don’t have that much tuition money. As it is, I have spent my retirement funds to put my children in an affordable private school this year.
Yes, Obama is a politician but even HE recognizes that his daughters are too important to play politics with…
and that should tell you all you need to know.
Most traditional public schools in this country are not worth the money. Most traditional public schools in this country are failing and most families in this country WANT OUT of the failing traditional public schools.

Scarlett Ohara

February 3rd, 2013
8:08 am

@ Maureen Downey. Stupid has not cure. Security. Did you question why the Bush’s, Clinton, Regan, Carter, Nixon children did not attend these same school? If you don’t have anything nurturing to say, stay in bed!

GUTRAKE

February 3rd, 2013
8:09 am

Public education is a disgrace and Obama’s inability to understand how hypocritical he is happens to be a direct result from not being held accountable by a sycophantic press. Nero is fiddling…

indigo

February 3rd, 2013
8:10 am

If your’re wealthy and sick, you can afford the best doctors.

If you’re wealthy and need legal council, you can afford the best law firms.

If you’re wealthy and have children, you can afford the best private schools.

This is the American capitalistic way.

It always has been and probably always will be.

cris

February 3rd, 2013
8:16 am

This is what I see in public high schools – after 10+ years of NCLB and now the continuation of more of the same in RttT, we have students that don’t want to think. They want you to pass out the sheet/quiz/test and they want to go ahead and fill in the bubbles and get it over with as quickly as possible. The good bubble-fillers love the fact that it’s so easy and the bad bubble-fillers are just marking time. Very hard to get students to form their own opinions and thoughts because they’re not used to doing that! They’ve never been rewarded for that type of thinking. Not to blame elementary and middle school teachers – they’re just doing what they’ve been told to do. I think as a non-academic teacher, I see this even more than teachers of other subjects – students WANT the multiple choice option and one right answer even in subjects where it just doesn’t happen.

Pride and Joy

February 3rd, 2013
8:16 am

I find it VERy interesting that Get Schooled points out that private schools in Atlanta are $18k to $22k but neglects to point out what public schools cost in Atlanta. Instead she says what the average public school costs in GA.
Nice slight of hand, Get Schooled.
Pricey private schools in Atlanta cost $18K to $22K but the average PUBLIC school in ATLANTA costs $14K!
YES! and the private school my children attend costs MUCH LESS than the public schools in Atlanta.
The facts Do make a difference.

Cindy Lutenbacher

February 3rd, 2013
8:26 am

I heartily agree with Jones’ premise, for it shows something of the impact of all this data-driven (sic) madness and testing dementia.
I would also note that I just did a quick search online and discovered that in addition to Richard Nixon, Bill Clinton, and Barack Obama, the children of George H. W. Bush, George W. Bush, and Jimmy Carter all spent part or much of their school years in private schools (although Amy Carter attended DC public schools during her father’s term in the White House, only attending a private school in Atlanta her senior year 1984).

Maureen Downey

February 3rd, 2013
8:31 am

@Pride and Joy, And here is another fact. I once sat down with the finance director of APS to break down the per-spending figure. What was interesting is that Atlanta at the time was spending $20,000 per year on students with disabilities. But the per pupil spending on students with no special designation receiving no special services was less than half that. (I had been at a conference where a forensic education auditor broke down NYC’s education spending average. The audit showed that the city was spending very little on kids with no special needs — in fact the amount had held steady for years — and wanted to see how APS looked in comparison.)
The students who cost the most to educate in public education would not find an easy private school match. They would have to go to a school that specializes in learning disabilities, and many of those cost even more then $22,000 a year.
Many top private schools have high admission criteria; kids with learning challenges would not be admitted.
That is why comparisons of public school spending to private school spending are complex. Many factors must be considered, including the numbers of students with special needs for whom the schools are providing special services.
Maureen

Cindy Lutenbacher

February 3rd, 2013
8:34 am

@Pride and Joy,
Another quickie search–DeKalb spends less than half that on our kids. So, maybe Maureen is right in seeking a state average.

Atl Parent

February 3rd, 2013
8:35 am

My child has been enrolled at both public and private schools. Both private and public schools in GA are extremely lacking in curriculum and discipline. Folks … Georgia education standards apply for both private and public schools. My kid in public school is studying the same thing as her friend in private school. Of course the private school has carpeting and teachers who aren’t as stressed because not as much is asked of them. Here are the differences I’ve seen between public and private schools in Atlanta –

Private school teachers have more support, assistants, training,etc. Why aren’t we supporting public school teachers?

Private schools sweep discipline problems under the rug. And the parents have bought that rug by the way. Public schools have to actually enforce the law .. and that’s hard to do.

Some private schools breed ignorance, elitism and bigotry. How can a child understand people from different backgrounds if they aren’t exposed to them. Tolerance isn’t something you learn from a book or by service work a few hours a year.

Private schools don’t want to hear from parents. If you don’t agree with what they are doing they will show you the door. Public schools allow parents a voice and legal grounds to take action.

There are drawbacks to both types of schools. My kid is back in a public school. I can honestly say that for every negative there is a positive. As parents and community members, we need to band together to make our public schools greater so we have less need for private schools.

Maureen Downey

February 3rd, 2013
8:42 am

Atl Parent, It is hard to know how private schools are performing as there is no public info with the exception of SAT scores. I do know that average Georgia SAT scores do not get the “bump” from their private school students that other states do. (That was noted in a conference I attended about five years ago. Other states see their average SAT rise more because of private school performance than Georgia does.)
Maureen

Google "NEA" and "donations"

February 3rd, 2013
8:49 am

The REAL question is … if Obama’s political party believes parents shouldn’t have the right to choose their kids’ K-12 schools—then why won’t they live by their convictions? When will they agree to let less wealthy parents LIKEWISE determine the school best meeting their own children’s needs?

Also, the school the Obamas send their girls to is one of the relatively few Washington D.C. schools WITHOUT a unionized teaching staff.

mountain man

February 3rd, 2013
8:54 am

“If testing and measuring makes for better schools,”

Testing and measuring do not automatically make better schools, it only tells you how your school is REALLY doing (unless everyone cheats, of course). It USED to be that testing was not necessary, because teachers’ grades were indicative of learning, but that is no longer the case (grade inflation, no F’s or zeros, ADMINISTRATORS changing grades or forcing teachers to change grades).

To make better schools, you have to address the basics of education: discipline, attendance, student (and parent) apathy. You also must have teachers who actually know the subject matter and can practice it in front of students (NO bad grammar from teachers, even if they are not English teachers).

Your comments about the cost of SPED students is right on the MONEY, Maureen! How can you afford to educate REGULAR students when all your money gets spent on SPED students?

10:10 am

February 3rd, 2013
8:58 am

When all parents are given the right to freely choose the schools their children attend—the appropriateness of achievement testing will be decided by the marketplace.

mountain man

February 3rd, 2013
9:03 am

“PUBLIC school in ATLANTA costs $14K!
YES! and the private school my children attend costs MUCH LESS than the public schools in Atlanta.”

Pride an Joy – The figure you quote is the AVERAGE cost of APS. To school YOUR child (if they were qualified to get into a private school) would probably cost the APS system around $4000. The amounts are highly skewed in public schools. If your child were a SPED student then APS might spend $22000 on him/her (see Maureen’s quote). But your child would not be eligible to go to a private school.

Nick

February 3rd, 2013
9:10 am

Georgia Dad–I am a male public school teacher, and am not a coach, I teach engineering. The physics teacher that you say is not funded is also a male, and does not coach. I have a co-teacher who teaches engineering with me, doesn’t coach. Our computer science teacher is male, doesn’t coach. Our social studies department chair is a female and she is a coach.

People crack me up when they “tell me” about public education as if they really know better than I do, a public school teacher.

Truth in Moderation

February 3rd, 2013
9:10 am

Maureen, you forgot home schooling. It’s much cheaper than private or public. One of mine, who home schooled through high school, was unable to attend a traditional four year college because of a learning disability (ADHD, one of the main reasons I home schooled him). He was able to get a job while still finishing up high school, and then began working full time and working towards a two year technical degree, WHICH HE PAID FOR HIMSELF. Today, at 25, he makes $50,000/year, drives a new car, lives in a 6 bedroom home, and has over $20,000 in an IRA. Home schooling works……especially for those with DISABILITIES.

DeborahinAthens

February 3rd, 2013
9:18 am

I am not an educator, but why don’t we just get rid of NCLB and RTT and use the millions of dollars to fund these terrible programs and go back to teaching? What is so hard about that? When Dubya the Dumb came up with the idea everyone knew that it, like Medicare Part D, theBush Tax Cuts, and the two unnecessary, unproductive, expensive wars, was lunacy, yet the Republicans voted for every hare-brained scheme. Let’s just repeal everything that the lunatic pushed down our throats, and make no apologies about it. The money used to administer NCLB could be used for enrichment programs–art, music, robotic competitions. Why, why, why is is so difficult?

DeborahinAthens

February 3rd, 2013
9:20 am

Sorry, in the posting above, my first sentence should have said,”I am not an educator.” I have no clue why IPad changed it?

Maureen Downey

February 3rd, 2013
9:25 am

@Deborah, Fixed.
Maureen

HS Math Teacher

February 3rd, 2013
9:33 am

I guess that kids who go to private schools aren’t in the arena of concern; it’s the kids in poor inner-city, and small, rural schools. Also, there’s another demographic – race. The achievement gap is more pronounced in public schools.

I’m not against testing and measuring; I think there should be objective measurement of academic performance on an annual basis. I do believe teachers should be held accountable for student progress, but in a fair way. Where I have a problem is trying to fit together a k-8 public system where promotion is not merit-based to a high school system where advancement is merit-based. You can’t take 10th grade math until you’ve passed 9th grade math. It’s a mess.

If the state leadership wants all kids to take Math 1 – 4, then it needs to find a way to fix this social promotion madness in k-8. Enforce certain requirements instead of issuing “guidelines”. If you don’t fix this mess, then offer a less-rigourous, but meaningful alternate pathway that ensures that students learn the essentials of all the subjects in an applied sense. Bring back VICA – bring real-world relavence to the classroom, without insisting that every student has to be able to pass pre-calculus. Too many can’t and/or won’t.

Georgia Dad

February 3rd, 2013
9:33 am

An example of the disparity in education. Nick’s school has physics and engineering classes. Floyd county schools have neither.

mountain man

February 3rd, 2013
9:38 am

“Of course, excellent education costs money, a lot of money. ”

You are right, an EXCELLENT education shoud be available for $14,000 – $22,000 per year. An ADEQUATE education (which is what the Georgia Constitution requires) should only cost around $4000 per year. But you cannot do that if you spend all your money on ADMINISTRATORS, and not only that, ADMISTRATORS that don’t do their primary jobs (handle discipline, address attendance, etc.), Plus then you have the federally mandated (but not paid for) SPED students whose parents sue the school if they are not “included” in regular classrooms with their own private nurse/tutors.

Centrist

February 3rd, 2013
9:40 am

Of course the liberally framed headline question of this blog should be: “Why are the Obama girls not enrolled in public education?”

TeacherMom4

February 3rd, 2013
9:56 am

As an elementary school teacher, I completely agree with this essay. My Title I school has to put extra time into remediating each day (per county guidelines). The result is that we lose time that would have been dedicated to social studies and science. We have one 40ish minute a day period to teach both (not each). We do have science lab as one of our daily enrichment periods, but it just isn’t enough time. Fifth grade social studies covers history, economics, geography, and civics. Our kids have to know specific people, places, and events starting with the Missouri Compromise (1820), through the present day. In addition, they need to know the Bill of Rights (amendments 1-10), 12, 13, 14, 15, 17, 19, 23, 24, and 26 amendments and how to find similarities and differences between them. Several of the geographic locations they are expected to know are random and have no link to the history portion of the curriculum. They need to to know economic concepts such as functions of banks, consumers, businesses, opportunity cost, technology’s impact on the economy, and the list goes on:

https://www.georgiastandards.org/standards/Georgia%20Performance%20Standards/Gr5%20Social%20Studies%20Stds%202009-2010%205-27-09.pdf

The information they are expected to know is tested on details, not broad understandings. There is no way to allow for project based or interest based learning because everybody has to have the same base of knowledge. Many children would develop an interest in the material if they were allowed to delve into the aspects of a unit of study that interested them. Example: study the Civil War, but allow students to spend time on projects that interest them, such as medicine of the era, or women’s roles, or technology of the time, or food, or slavery, or abolition. Get them hooked and they might want to learn more and be more receptive to the content when they are in high school. Now they have to learn more than many of us did in high school, and they’re 10 and 11 years old! They are bored to tears and overwhelmed by what they must memorize.

Elementary school should be for building skills and a desire to learn. Now, it’s just an exercise in force feeding facts. In the time that my school allocates to a subject like social studies, there is just no way to make it meaningful and cover all the “facts” that students must be prepared to regurgitate.

Mary Sue

February 3rd, 2013
10:06 am

Under NCLB, the focus was just on multiple choice objective tests. Many schools taught to the test, which meant ignoring subjects that did not count for AYP, such as science and social studies. One good thing that RttT has done is make all four academic subjects count equally. With the adoption of the new Common Core Standards and the College and Career Readiness strands, there is a much greater emphasis on analysis and being able to write coherently about what one reads citing textual evidence – this was completely absent in NCLB. New tests are coming to assess performance starting in 2014. Given the new standards (especially in English, which I teach), the tests will have to change from the NCLB-style tests in order to assess whether the standards are actually being mastered. This year is the last year of the CRCT as we know it in Georgia. None of us know what the new assessments will look like. We are all in a wait and see mode. I am not ready to pass judgement on RttT until I see how students are going to be assessed under the new guidelines.

Rhaegar Targaryen

February 3rd, 2013
10:08 am

Amy Carter went to public school in D.C. while her father was president.

And for what it’s worth, Chelsea Clinton went to public school in Little Rock while her father was governor.

Private Citizen

February 3rd, 2013
10:12 am

An example of the disparity in education. Nick’s school has physics and engineering classes. Floyd county schools have neither.

This is a significant issue, state-wide inconsistency across counties, districts, schools, systems.

bootney farnsworth

February 3rd, 2013
10:28 am

Jimmy sent Amy to DC public to make a statement that his kid wasn’t too good for hanging with the poor and underprivleged. with the secret service around that was the safest public school in the nation.

Slick Willy has never been known to have anybodies best interests (outside of his own) at heart.

10:10 am

February 3rd, 2013
10:28 am

Liberals twist logic into such convoluted shapes to deny parents real choices … and to thereby protect teacher union/Democrat Party revenues … that one can only laugh at the absurdities thus created.

At a whim, any mother can end the life of her unborn child. But she cannot choose which school a born son or daughter will attend.

bootney farnsworth

February 3rd, 2013
10:31 am

if I were president, I sure as hell wouldn’t send my kids to DC public schools

bootney farnsworth

February 3rd, 2013
10:33 am

@ 10:10

thank you for that excellent job of illustrating why the GOP is in free fall.
it didn’t relate to the topic, but good job nonetheless

drew (former teacher)

February 3rd, 2013
10:34 am

To answer the question, Obama’s girls are in a private school because A) the Obama’s CARE about the quality of their children’s education, and B) can AFFORD the best.

The bottom line is that those who can afford the best education for their children (presidents, senators, congressmen, i.e., those making the rules) don’t give a rat’s ass about the state of public education. As a matter of fact, the advantages of private school are even MORE valuable when public education is in disarray.

As several others have pointed out, ADA and SPED policy have hijacked spending in public schools, at the expense of the average student.

At the risk of sounding cynical, I’m with Fled. Like it or not, you mostly get what you pay for in this country. Capitalism works (mostly), but it doesn’t really care about justice, fairness and equity.

Jerry Eads

February 3rd, 2013
10:45 am

Let’s be fair in one regard: Sidwell is no doubt set up to enable the Service to watch over presidential offspring. The kids would no doubt be tempting targets for all sorts of ne’er-do-wells.

That said, schooling at privates can be whatever they want it to be, and the best ones – like Sidwell and probably several here – take, for the most part, very capable kids from very capable families and help prepare them for wonderful futures.

Some publics with substantial tax bases – like Fairfax County in Virginia (the article noted that Duncan sent his kids to a Virginia public) and Gwinnett here must by law like all other publics spend huge amounts of their resources on special education, yet can still dedicate resources to highly capable kids – and send them to the Harvards and Yales and Northwesterns (etc.) just like the expensive privates.

Those are the fortunate ones. Inner city and rural districts must not only address the requirements of special education (in higher proportion than the high-income districts) but also address the needs of much higher proportions of disadvantaged kids.

Of course, many of the public and their elected representatives have no interest in understanding that those schools have a very different job than high tax base schools. Because their pass rates on the worthless state minimum competency tests are lower, we assume that the schools are “worse” when in fact they really have a very different job and most certainly aren’t starting with the same population. (I won’t even start on the issue of “value-added” testing. It’s a nice concept but our tests aren’t good enough to do it well or fairly.)

The problem has been infinitely exacerbated by the criminal negligence of NCLB and RT3 – forcing the schools with higher proportions of disadvantaged kids to devote every cent and minute toward getting kids to pass a test that forces schools to do nothing but mind-numbing repetitive “drill and kill” memorization. I’ll remind you once again that we’ve been doing this for about 30 years at the state level; the federal mistakes have simply made it worse in the past decade.

The policy conclusion seems to have been “Hey, this minimum competency testing the states have been doing for 20 years didn’t raise pass rates (NOT SCORES – measuring SCORES takes much better tests) – we must need to force even more of it.” What it did, as much of the public and legislators don’t care, is make public education for many a dreadful hell-hole of repetitive day-in and day-out never-ending memorization. If we want productive, thoughtful citizens – if we want a democratic country at all – we’ll need to completely change how we view “accountability.” If we do, we’ll be able to make public schooling what it was intended to be – the means to provide the country with future generations of creative, capable citizens.

bootney farnsworth

February 3rd, 2013
10:45 am

a moment to introduce logic into this mess:

disclaimer: I didn’t vote for Obama, I never would vote for Obama, I never will vote for Obama. I would vote for Louis Farriakan before voting for Obama.

for anyone ragging on Obama for sending his kids to a private school…..enough already.
POTUS (let me know if I need to explain this) is both a symbol and a target. so are his kids. the nation requires they be as safe as possible, and most public schools are anything but…..especially in DC.

and the kids in DC public schools deserve the lack of insanity which comes with Obama’s kids attending.

if something ever happened to those kids it would paralyze the nation.

if you want to make a point about the inequities of education, fine. if you’re just looking to make stupid political points, take it over to Hannity

bootney farnsworth

February 3rd, 2013
10:47 am

and this goes for myself, too

10:10 am

February 3rd, 2013
10:47 am

@blabney Feignsworth:

Republicans hold 30 of 50 governorships nationwide. And the party has a lock on more state legislatures than do the Democrats.

Plus, if your mother made something of herself in life then the basement you’re posting from is probably situated in a Republican-run county.

Private Citizen

February 3rd, 2013
10:51 am

A lot of folks here do not seen to realise the quantity of political interference occurring that makes it difficult for teachers to do their jobs. I think the point of the article is not that Obama doesn’t want the best his children, the point of the article is that he sends his own kids to a school environment that is not saturated with political interference, at the same time that his basketball buddy appointed education secretary is putting all of this stuff onto the heads of the government schools. It’s a solid point.