Contributor Post Created with Sketch. Obama Wants School Choice… But Only for the Rich

 
Obama-high-school-graduation
Barack Obama, graduating from Punahou School, a private preparatory academy.

President Obama shared his thoughts on private education at an anti-poverty summit Tuesday. Held at the Georgetown University, the president slammed parents who send their kids to private schools:

What’s happened in our economy is that those who are doing better and better — more skilled, more educated, luckier, having greater advantages — are withdrawing from sort of the commons. Kids start going to private schools; kids start working out at private clubs instead of the public parks. An anti-government ideology then disinvests from those common goods and those things that draw us together. And that, in part, contributes to the fact that there’s less opportunity for our kids, all of our kids.

This analysis of private education is particularly galling coming from this President. Growing up, Obama attended the exclusive Punahou School in Hawaii, a private preparatory academy that currently charges students more than $20,000 a year. After graduation, he attended Occidental (private), Harvard (private), and Columbia (private), all of which he failed to mention in his speech at Georgetown (private).

Perhaps Obama used all that expensive education to determine he should eschew private schools for the good of society at large? Not so much. When living in Illinois, Barack and Michelle sent their daughters to the private University of Chicago Laboratory School (tuition: $29,000) and upon entering the White House, Sidwell Friends School (tuition: $34,000).

Thankfully, someone in the media called out Obama on his hypocrisy. On Wednesday’s Morning Joe, host Joe Scarborough quizzed White House Press Secretary Josh Earnest on the irony:

JOE SCARBOROUGH: Were you, I am sure you will be asked this question many times in your next press briefing, but the president was critical of people who went to private schools and sent their children to private schools and plays at private clubs and well every alarm should be going off…

Obviously, the man that said it, went to the best prep school in Hawaii and went to the best private colleges in the United States, his children who I don’t think it’s anybody’s business where they send their children, but if the president is going to criticize people who send their children to private schools he has to recognize, obviously, that he sends his children to the best schools in Washington, possibly America. How does he, is there a self critique against himself, the mistakes he’s made? What was the president trying to get at there?

JOSH EARNEST: Joe, the point the president was making is it’s important for us to recognize it as a country. We all have an interest in investing in the common benefits that our country has to offer.

His point is that even if you send your kids to private school, we all have an interest in making sure we have good high quality public schools available to everybody. It’s not that far from the White House that we do have some of the best public schools in the country over in Fairfax County, Virginia.

That is an example. That is also a more wealthy than average county in the country. That is an example of a society of a community that has invested in a common good for the benefit of their community and that’s the kind of thing that we need to see all across the country. Whether that is something as simple as investing in our national parks or local parks or public schools or making sure that every single American has access to quality health insurance.

SCARBOROUGH: So did the president consider sending its children to public schools? Again, none of my business unless he is criticizing Americans who send their children to private schools.

EARNEST: Again, I don’t think he’s criticizing sending people to private schools.

The dirty little secret is that all politicians support school choice. However, most on the left think it should be reserved only for the wealthy.

There are 22 comments.

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  1. Gumby Mark (R-Meth Lab of Demo… Thatcher

    It’s even worse. One of his first actions as President in 2009 was to end the District’s voucher program under which poor children got vouchers to attend private schools.

    • #1
    • May 14, 2015, at 5:39 PM PDT
    • 1 like
  2. TKC1101 Inactive

    Obama’s is finally identifying with his base! The liberal elite who use the underclass as a weapon against the well being of the middle class.

    • #2
    • May 14, 2015, at 5:43 PM PDT
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  3. Gumby Mark (R-Meth Lab of Demo… Thatcher

    Also, and I know this may shock you, but he is wrong factually. American spending on education has gone up continually for 50 years despite the continued existence of those dreaded private schools. You can find more about the trends here and here .

    My question is this – why do the same folks who complain that health care costs too much for the results we are getting and thus we need to cut costs and have government step in, also say that we need to spend more on education despite the fact that’s exactly what we have been doing for decades with no improved results?

    • #3
    • May 14, 2015, at 5:48 PM PDT
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  4. Vance Richards Member
    Vance Richards Joined in the first year of Ricochet Ricochet Charter Member

    What exactly are “common goods”?

    If someone pays taxes to the public school and then sends their kids elsewhere, that means the public school has that much more money per student. Is that bad?

    • #4
    • May 14, 2015, at 5:49 PM PDT
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  5. Jerry Giordano (Arizona Patrio… Member

    A park or a road is a “commons,” more typically called a “public good.” The general idea of a “public good” is that use by one person does not materially affect the possibility of use by another person. The air we breathe is one of the best examples of a “public good.”

    Schools are not “public goods.” One child sitting in a desk means that another child can’t be in that desk.

    Frankly, there is little or no reason that government should be in the education business at all.

    • #5
    • May 14, 2015, at 5:56 PM PDT
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  6. Palaeologus Inactive

    What’s happened in our economy is that those who are doing better and better — more skilled, more educated, luckier, having greater advantages — are withdrawing from sort of the commons. Kids start going to private schools; kids start working out at private clubs instead of the public parks. An anti-government ideology then disinvests from those common goods and those things that draw us together. And that, in part, contributes to the fact that there’s less opportunity for our kids, all of our kids.

    Sure. Here’s the thing though: the parents sending their kids to the private schools and clubs often live in crappy-to-almost-crappy neighborhoods/ districts.

    It isn’t all Andover vs. some spiffy upper-middle class neighborhood school driving this phenomenon. In fact, it is rarely that.

    So those who are more skilled, lucky, educated, etc. are often folks treading water just trying to get their kids into neighborhoods from which their grandkids can attend the public schools without being surrounded by troublemakers.

    Obama pretends that this is all about the superstars who won’t buy into his Grand Strategy. That is bunk.

    • #6
    • May 14, 2015, at 5:59 PM PDT
    • Like
  7. Gazpacho Grande' Coolidge

    Once again, Barry proves himself an idiot who can’t see past the mirror he carries in front of his face all day.

    • #7
    • May 14, 2015, at 6:30 PM PDT
    • Like
  8. KC Mulville Inactive

    This is the second story in a couple days where the liberal response is to achieve equality by making everyone miserable. (The other story (Ricochet’s post here) was the Australian philosophers arguing that since kids who come from good families have an advantage, the solution is to get rid of good families.)

    When your notion of equality means “dragging everyone to the lowest common level,” you have a truly dangerous perspective.

    • #8
    • May 14, 2015, at 6:35 PM PDT
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  9. Judge Mental Member

    He also assumes private means expensive/exclusive. One of my nephews was failing in early elementary school. He was transferred to a small local Christian school, where he flourished. That cost about $2500/year, even though they were not members of that church. This was about 10 years ago, but even then that is about one quarter the public school spending.

    I believe the typical US private school is closer to mine than Sidwell Friends.

    • #9
    • May 14, 2015, at 6:45 PM PDT
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  10. Rachel Lu Contributor

    The point that leaps out at me: for progressives, investing in “the commons” means more government, full stop. You can’t serve the common good through churches or civic groups or private charities or just having people over for cook-out. Only government can actually work for the common good. The crippling liberal politician’s conceit.

    • #10
    • May 14, 2015, at 6:48 PM PDT
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  11. Richard Fulmer Member

    Obama’s focus on “the commons” and on “common goods” is telling. The end game of Socialism is a society in which property is held in common for the common good. What invariably follows is the tragedy of the commons, a term coined by Garrett Hardin in 1968, but described somewhat earlier by Aristotle. Having gone to elite schools all his life, Obama is likely unfamiliar with the concept.

    • #11
    • May 14, 2015, at 6:53 PM PDT
    • 1 like
  12. MBF Member
    MBF Joined in the first year of Ricochet Ricochet Charter Member

    Who “works out” at a public park? Like on the swing set? The public tennis and basketball courts where I live are always full in the summer.

    • #12
    • May 14, 2015, at 7:13 PM PDT
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  13. Gumby Mark (R-Meth Lab of Demo… Thatcher

    Rachel Lu:The point that leaps out at me: for progressives, investing in “the commons” means more government, full stop. You can’t serve the common good through churches or civic groups or private charities or just having people over for cook-out. Only government can actually work for the common good. The crippling liberal politician’s conceit.

    I think what’s emerged in the past few years goes even further. Between the atomized individual and the government only those voluntary private organizations and associations that are aligned completely with the government’s dictates are going to be allowed to exist.

    • #13
    • May 14, 2015, at 7:20 PM PDT
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  14. Gumby Mark (R-Meth Lab of Demo… Thatcher

    This kind of stuff drives me crazy:

    It’s not that far from the White House that we do have some of the best public schools in the country over in Fairfax County, Virginia. That is an example. That is also a more wealthy than average county in the country. That is an example of a society of a community that has invested in a common good for the benefit of their community and that’s the kind of thing that we need to see all across the country.

    Implied here is that Fairfax Country can afford to have good public schools because it is wealthier but if you go to the link in my comment above you’ll see that, as an example, Baltimore schools spend 27% more per pupil than Fairfax County and 81% of Baltimore’s funds come from state and federal government compared to 25% in Fairfax. The issue is not divestment or lack of investment.

    • #14
    • May 14, 2015, at 7:27 PM PDT
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  15. Raw Prawn Inactive

    Jon Gabriel, Ed.:Obama-high-school-graduation

    This analysis of private education is particularly galling coming from this President. Growing up, Obama attended the exclusive Punahou School in Hawaii, a private preparatory academy that currently charges students more than $20,000 a year. After graduation, he attended Occidental (private), Harvard (private), and Columbia (private), all of which he failed to mention in his speech at Georgetown (private).

    Perhaps Obama used all that expensive education to determine he should eschew private schools for the good of society at large? Not so much. When living in Illinois, Barack and Michelle sent their daughters to the private University of Chicago Laboratory School (tuition: $29,000) and upon entering the White House, Sidwell Friends School (tuition: $34,000).

    I have an argument with your choice of words. Obama received a lot of expensive schooling but he achieved very little education in the course of it.

    Early on his head got stuffed full of ideas that had already failed before he was born and thereafter was impermeable to facts not compatible with those ideas.

    It’s an indictment of his schools that they graduated a closed minded idiot. They probably passed him on his liberal values, and liberal values are a facility to believe something when it’s convenient and the opposite when that’s convenient. Thus his inconsistency is entirely consistent.

    • #15
    • May 14, 2015, at 8:03 PM PDT
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  16. PsychLynne Inactive

    Mark:This kind of stuff drives me crazy:

    It’s not that far from the White House that we do have some of the best public schools in the country over in Fairfax County, Virginia. That is an example. That is also a more wealthy than average county in the country.

    Implied here is that Fairfax Country can afford to have good public schools because it is wealthier

    Fairfax County has over a million residents and the median household income is 111,079 for 2013. 60% of adults over 25 have a undergraduate degree or more. Fairfax County has good schools because it has well-educated families. A more important factor than any the president mentioned.

    • #16
    • May 14, 2015, at 8:17 PM PDT
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  17. John Paul Inactive

    I will never understand the criticism of school choice. We should as a nation be wild for it. Where’s the downside to children?
    I’m blessed to belong to a large Catholic parish and one of our goals is to provide low or no tuition primary education through giving. I’ll give more for that, that some kid can get a fresh start in a different environment freely chosen by the parents.

    • #17
    • May 14, 2015, at 8:37 PM PDT
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  18. Yeah...ok. Inactive

    Iran is supporting the nuclear commons. The United States wants to keep those nuclear weapons isolated.

    • #18
    • May 14, 2015, at 9:50 PM PDT
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  19. The Question Inactive

    Milton Friedman pointed out that when services are provided by the government, it results in the greatest segregation and inequality of services. School are public, while grocery stores are all privately owned. The poor are not locked out of good grocery stores in anywhere near the same degree that they are locked out of good schools.

    • #19
    • May 14, 2015, at 10:01 PM PDT
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  20. Cato Rand Coolidge

    Has anybody noticed that the guy who’s hand he’s shaking looks like William F. Buckley?

    • #20
    • May 15, 2015, at 4:07 AM PDT
    • 1 like
  21. David Foster Member
    David Foster Joined in the first year of Ricochet Ricochet Charter Member

    It is not that they want to reserve private schools (and private jets and international air travel and, eventually, automobiles) for the *rich*, rather, they want to reserve them for the politically-connected. All these things are fine if you make your fortune peddling subsidized solar systems; if you make your fortune bending metal without benefit of government or coolness, why then you’re just a greedy .1% capitalist.

    • #21
    • May 15, 2015, at 5:43 AM PDT
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  22. The Forgotten Man Inactive

    Rachel Lu:The point that leaps out at me: for progressives, investing in “the commons” means more government, full stop. You can’t serve the common good through churches or civic groups or private charities or just having people over for cook-out. Only government can actually work for the common good. The crippling liberal politician’s conceit.

    Exactly. Thank you Rachel (may I call you Rachel?). This is the assumption that peeks its head out of liberal and pro- aggressive speeches and snarls at us. I prefer the common good manifesting through free association and what George Bush the first called the thousand points of light.

    • #22
    • May 15, 2015, at 10:36 AM PDT
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