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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.Published in