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Choice for the elect few

Posted by Jim Stergios  June 3, 2010 09:40 AM

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Politico reports today that the "pool" followed POTUS and FLOTUS to the Sidwell Friends private school.

"We are told that POTUS and FLOTUS were both in the motorcade and are at the school. Your pooler assumes the visit is some sort of end-of-the-school-year event. But we have not been told what they are here for. Just that they are attending one of Sasha's school activities."

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Take a moment to look at Sidwell's site. I am glad the President can afford the $30,000 tuition.

Simple question - and it is the same one David Gergen asked Deval Patrick before he was elected Governor in 2006:

This question: when you were young, you won a scholarship to go off to the Milton Academy. You essentially won a ticket out of poorly-performing public schools to go to a private school where you blossomed and you have a stirring life story. Why sir, then are you so opposed to giving tickets to children who are now in public schools in Massachusetts who might want to go to a charter school or they might want a voucher. Do they deserve tickets out too?

Patrick: Well, I’ll tell you, first of all, I’m not opposed to charter schools. I think they have a critical role to play in education reform. We’ve been on this journey, I think we ought to continue on this journey.

Moderator: Right, but what about the question – there’s a lid, as you know, on charter schools. You’re opposed to lifting the lid.

After three years, and a great deal of pressure, the Governor changed his mind on charters. That's good. But not on choice. That's really odd if think you about it. In the Governor's administration, Education Secretary Reville attended Portsmouth Abbey (Portsmouth Priory at the time), and his LG, Tim Murray, went to an elite parochial school (St. John's Prep) in Shrewsbury. They all oppose school choice.

Then there is the POTUS whose children have an opportunity to attend a wonderful school, and again that is great. I am glad for him. But he also attended an elite private school in Hawaii, the Punahou school.

So why would he kill off the Washington DC school choice program serving 1200+ inner city kids? The schools of choice for the DC parents won't be Sidwell Friends, but don't they deserve the same right to choice that the POTUS and FLOTUS have made good use of?

This blog is not written or edited by Boston.com or the Boston Globe.
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About the author

Jim Stergios is executive director of the Pioneer Institute. Before joining Pioneer, he was Chief of Staff and Undersecretary for Policy in the Commonwealth's Executive Office of Environmental Affairs, where More »

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