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Should The Obama Kids Go To Public School?

Today's NYT has a thorough story about Michelle Rhee and her efforts to reform D.C.'s supremely screwed up public school system--efforts that, since they involve abolishing tenure, are being fought tooth and nail by the teacher's union. Basically, Rhee is the best thing to happen to the public school system in the District since, well, maybe ever. And if she pulls it off, D.C.'s public school system might actually serve as a model for other public school systems across the country--which, if you know much about D.C. public schools, is more implausible than the notion that the United States would ever elect an African-American as its president.

I think it's inappropriate to tell someone where to send his or her children to school, but I'll confess that I'm rooting for the Obamas to send their children to a D.C. public school--which, according to Politico, is something they're seriously considering. A president picking a D.C. public school for his children is significant whenever it happens (and it hasn't happened since Amy Carter lived in the White House); but, given Rhee's efforts and what she's up against, it would be especially significant right now. Again, that's not a reason for the Obamas to choose a public school for their daughters, nor is it a reason to criticize them if they don't. But it's the truth.

P.S. On a pettier note, if the Obamas do send their kids to public schools, the schadenfreude to be had from watching current Sidwell and GDS parents gnash their teeth will be ample. And so will the relief among those in D.C. who are hoping to one day send their own kids to those schools since, if the Obamas' do choose one, getting in will become that much harder.

P.P.S. TalkBackers johnlcm and rozenson are right: this Atlantic story on Rhee by Clay Risen is great--even better than the NYT one I linked to above. And jhildner is right: I'm terrible with apostrophes; typos now fixed!

--Jason Zengerle