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Duncan Sending His Daughter Public Schools

By Ed O'Keefe
Arne Duncan
Education Secretary Arne Duncan will send his children to Virginia public schools.

By The Post's Maria Glod:

Education Secretary Arne Duncan said his young daughter will attend public school in Northern Virginia.

In an interview, Duncan, 44, said he was attracted by both the quality of Arlington County schools and the diversity of the student body. He said his 7-year-old daughter, Claire, will enroll in first grade at a county elementary school.

Duncan and his wife, Karen, also have a son, 4-year-old Ryan. Both children sat quietly during his Senate confirmation hearing earlier this month, reading books and drawing. Their behavior earned them praise from several senators.

“You’ve got a beautiful family behind you. I am quite pleased that your young son is sitting there reading books instead of amusing himself with the latest electronic gadget,” Sen. Lisa Murkowski (R-Alaska) said during the Jan. 13 hearing. “As the mom of two boys, I know that it’s tough to kind of keep them in their seats. But you’re doing right.”

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By Ed O'Keefe  | January 30, 2009; 7:05 AM ET
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A no-brainer. Arne's got a tough job ahead of him, but for once we'll have someone leading Dept of Ed who knows up close that the problems of students' families are the problems of the school systems, and vice versa.

Posted by: Ex-DC | January 30, 2009 10:21 AM | Report abuse

Maybe Obama should follow suit.

Posted by: eedchic | January 30, 2009 10:52 AM | Report abuse

Only if he can move to Virginia or Maryland.

Posted by: RedBird27 | January 30, 2009 11:04 AM | Report abuse

Yes, having a SecEd who actually has education experience instead of being a major fundraiser for the president(yes, I mean you Margaret Spellings) has got to be a plus.

Posted by: silverspring25 | January 30, 2009 11:12 AM | Report abuse

Of course he will...he lives in No. Va. Good safe schools. You really think he would do it if he lived in DC though?

Posted by: happydad3 | January 30, 2009 11:19 AM | Report abuse

Good for him. RedBird27, you're wrong. My kid went to John Eaton Elementary School in Cleveland Park (in D.C., for those who don't know) and it is a very good school. It could be argued that it is more diverse and a nicer place because so few people that live in the neighborhood send their kids their. Not to be a snob, but folks we knew who lived on the same block as the school didn't take the time to go inside and have a look before enrolling their kids in private school.

Posted by: mrclumpy | January 30, 2009 11:59 AM | Report abuse

Of course, my kid's father (me) could learn to proofread and not use "their" when I mean "there."

Posted by: mrclumpy | January 30, 2009 12:01 PM | Report abuse

My kids also went to John Eaton, and I agree, it was an excellent school. Arne Duncan could have moved to DC and had many fine public school choices (Eaton, Janney, Murch, Lafayette, for starters). Obama could have done the same! But even if Obama wasn't ready to take the plunge with DCPS, he could have paid tuition to send his kids to public school in either Maryland or Virginia.

Posted by: linda20009 | January 30, 2009 12:09 PM | Report abuse

If the Obama girls had gone to a public school, then the press could have been all over the school, watching them. Sidwell Friends was selected because, besides being a great school, is private and can tell the press not to trespass. Any public school can't do that.

So while the child of the Sec of Ed might warrant a single day of the press following, it won't be an on-going thing.

So don't think that the Obama decision was a commentary on public schools. It was a decision by parents based on what was best for their children.

This came up 16 yrs ago with the school selection for Chelsey.

Posted by: cyberfool | January 30, 2009 12:47 PM | Report abuse

Easy to say: "Gee, we'd like to send our children to public schools, but (wink, wink) we have to send our kids to one of the best private schools in the nation because the press is going to be too much of a problem." I would think our President ought to be able to work out a solution to the press harassing his children at school. If he can't solve that one than how is he going to solve real problems like the economy, threats to our national security, and the continuing deterioration of our infrastructure?

Posted by: eedchic | January 30, 2009 1:40 PM | Report abuse

i think arne duncan is doing a great thing. im not a parent, but i do know that arlington has a great education system. i always told my self that when i do have kids, public school will be an option, i don't see the point in paying tuition for a child to go to school, that is what college is for. but i do know that my child will not be going to no dc or pg public school that is out of the option. i think obama did what he was suppose to do. and so is duncan

Posted by: sunshine24 | January 30, 2009 1:43 PM | Report abuse

It's all about choice. It's good to see that some have a choice.

Posted by: eedchic | January 30, 2009 2:18 PM | Report abuse

The truth is that private school is, on the whole, better than public school. Our federal education policy should be to increase the number of kids going OUT of public schools and INTO private and home schools. So, except for the hypocrisy, Obama is leading on this one better than his Ed. Sec.

Posted by: gatorator1 | January 30, 2009 2:23 PM | Report abuse

"If the Obama girls had gone to a public school, then the press could have been all over the school, watching them. Sidwell Friends was selected because, besides being a great school, is private and can tell the press not to trespass. Any public school can't do that."

Oh, please. ANY school, public or private, can deny entrance to the press, and DCPS schools routinely refuse admission to ANY outsiders, including reporters. The press does not have any rights to enter a school just to take photos of a student. Get your facts right. Don't lie just because you think Obama can do no wrong.

Posted by: WashingtonDame | February 1, 2009 9:12 PM | Report abuse

Has anyone who put the D.C. Public Schools on the low grade ever worked for the D. C. schools or any schools for that matter? If you do work in the D.C. Public Schools then you will know that the superintendent is breaking federal laws to get rid of any teacher. The principals hired for the low performing schools are hired to harass teachers and sit in their office or harass teachers and walk the buildings with more harassment for teachers. The scores with these incompetent principals get worst. Has anyone in these schools ever heard of the words "monitoring to see the learning process and correct where needed"? Rhee is not following policies for evaluations. She does not care about the students with a huge number being poor, minority, and underperformers with no resources from this superintendent. Just because a school system is predominantly black does not mean that they cannot make the score. The schools reflect the incompetent management from the complete administration. Anyone can blame teachers according to numbers for minority schools. It takes a smart administrator to stay focused upon learning within the schools. This present superintendent for the D. C. schools does not have the focus for learning - just to fire people is all she knows. Please work for these schools to see what is really going on.

Posted by: realitygirl2 | February 2, 2009 11:18 AM | Report abuse

Okay - here are some facts to think about. The Pres is not the Sec Ed when the security issues are involved. The Pres attended a very prestigous private school in Hawaii because and due to his "Granny's" efforts, not the Pres'. It is an understandable given that the Pres would want to keep his family together and chose accordingly.

The choice should not be interpreted as a slight of the DCPS. That having been said, I would like to think that there are some very good schools in the DCPS system for his daughters to attend were it not for the security issues. Let's be so quick to make snap judgements or draw unfair comparisons between the two offices.

Being a proud product and supporter of a public school education, I strongly feel that one's parental involvement has a very direct bearing on how well the student performs. I'm sure the Pres' children will do well no matter where they attend school.

Posted by: last2makesense | February 2, 2009 6:14 PM | Report abuse

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