Barack Obama faces school choice issue - this time, at home

Filed under: Celeb Parents, In The News

Barack ObamaBarack Obama has been busy this week making decisions about his White House staff in advance of January's inauguration. But the President- elect has also been consulting with the Mom-in-Chief about a hot-button issue: school.

When the Obamas take up residence in the White House, Sasha and Malia will of course be heading to school -- but where? DC boasts a wealth of school choices -- public and private, traditional and charter; language immersion and arts curriculum -- but which one will the Obamas select? And how will that choice influence America's perception of the First Family?

No matter what choice the Obamas make, they will be criticized for it. A public school may pose a safety risk for their children, while a private school makes them elitists. But what seems to be getting lost in all of the name-calling and accusations is the simple fact that the Obamas are parents who are trying to make the best possible choice for their children.

Theirs is a decision that many parents can identify with; Wall Street Journal columnist Sue Shellenbarger writes that "School choice has been the primary factor in every move I've made as a parent. I've picked houses more expensive than I otherwise would have chosen, because they conferred a ticket to high-quality public schools." But, Shellenbarger confesses, one of her children still ended up going to private school, because that was the best fit.

I'm feeling for the Obamas right now -- my husband and I have been down this same road with our kids. When we finally chose to enroll them in a small Catholic school, we were criticized by family and friends who thought that this was the wrong decision -- we lived in a good school district, after all, and should have sent the kids to public school. But we weren't trying to make a statement with our choice; we were trying to meet our sons' educational needs, and this particular school did that best. I"m sure Barack and Michelle Obama will make a similar decison for their girls.

What is the most important issue for you in choosing a school? And if you could give the Obamas some advice, what would it be?

The new First Family(click thumbnails to view gallery)

TogetherLooking aheadMaliaSashaTogetherness


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