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Top 14 reasons Obama might prefer private school

He said it himself-- President Obama thinks DC's public schools are not the best choice for his daughters right now. Is he right? Here are a few reasons he might be:

  1. You never get beaten up at private school, unless it's because your J. Crew shorts have too few whales on them.
  2. Fun extracurriculars such as "preparing to attend elite university" and "making contacts" are preferable to public school extracurriculars such as "betting on which underperforming teacher will be fired next" and "not having enough funding for an arts program."
  3. Once I went to summer camp at Sidwell. Okay, less "summer camp" than "summer geometry class, because chess camp involved too much strenuous physical activity." I never did this at public school. If the Obama daughters are trying to emulate me, they are doing a great job!
  4. Instead of joining the "I went to a Public School...B****" Facebook group, daughters can join the "I went to Private School, Harlot!" Facebook group
  5. You never know when your public school teacher might turn out to be a Craigslist prostitute.
  6. Who doesn't love attending a school where they spread pictures of the same four people over every brochure in a vain attempt to imply that the student body is diverse?
  7. They put the "prep" in SAT prep.
  8. Rooting for private school football teams is good preparation for being a Redskins fan.
  9. Makes it more difficult to relate to High School Musical and Grease but somehow easier to relate to Glee.
  10. Everyone is eager to get along, resulting in dances with themes like "Hawaiian Space Cowboys Go South, Then Underwater." These are fun, and trying to figure out your costume teaches you important lessons about compromise.
  11. If you ever find yourself in a seersucker forest, you will be invisible!
  12. Only nutritional problems are concerns such as, "Salad bar is dauntingly large."
  13. Names of private schools (Sidwell, Holton Arms) sound like entries in the classic, "So You Want Your Son To Be an English Lord."
  14. Michael Jackson's children are at a private school. The Twilight Saga was set at a public school.

By Alexandra Petri  | September 27, 2010; 4:45 PM ET
Tags:  Alexandra Petri  
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"Who doesn't love attending a school where they spread pictures of the same four people over every brochure in a vain attempt to imply that the student body is diverse?"

Nice dig but Sidwell's student body is 40% minority kids. STA might fare less well - is that why you put a picture of their campus?

Posted by: RL67 | September 27, 2010 7:10 PM | Report abuse

What is the value of this blog entry for readers or the DC community?

Reading about the poor state of the DC public schools is something I've gotten used to after living in the area for 25 years. One of my best friends in high school had a sister that went to high school with Chelsea Clinton; so I'm also used to hearing the debate over the education of children in the White House. But this is the first time I've ever seen an article in the Post that took pot-shots at the DC public schools.

All this could possibly achieve is bringing shame to children, parents and teachers associated with DC public schools. But where is the constructive criticism? Where is the encouragement to make things better? Why insinuate that the students are "betting on which underperforming teacher will be fired next"?

Here's some free advice: save your blog entries for when you have something intelligent to say or when you have news to report. I know the Washington Post is having revenue trouble as well, so here's another tip: I'd pay extra to never have to read junk like this again.

Posted by: jasong2 | September 27, 2010 8:06 PM | Report abuse

Gee, wouldn't it be nice if all of our nation's public schools could look like Hogwarts School from Harry Potter fame with student to teacher ratios of ten to one, and they were all being groomed for
elite and magical careers assuring their success in the adult world. Just think
how we might compete with the brillant students from the rest of the world!

Posted by: shangps | September 27, 2010 8:33 PM | Report abuse

"Sidwell's student body is 40% minority kids."

Indeed. So often, others neglect the Asian and Pacific Islander minority.

Posted by: pundito | September 27, 2010 9:04 PM | Report abuse

It would be helpful if the author gave as much thought to suggestions for improving our schools as was given to this column of cheap shots.

The Obamas made a decision about the quality of education they wanted for their daughters long before moving to D.C. - and have been willing to pay the tuition. It must be that the President and First Lady appreciate the role education has played in their lives and don't want to short change their daughters; it's unfortunate that only now are the schools getting some attention and the Obamas criticized.

From the discussions thus far there has been no mention of what is wrong except "poor teachers." My question is: why haven't Ms Rhee, Mr. Duncan or Mr. Booker in Newark told us some specifics they feel are directions to consider for reform; it seems to be all about the teachers, judging them and their students' progress, and how these hard working public servants should be compensated. [Remember, bank tellers take care of one transaction at a time while teachers juggle the lives of 20-plus students from opening to closing bell - and then check student work and prep for the next day, a full day's performance without a staff like Oprah.]

My suggestion would be that Americans might learn something from "old Europe" where students are offered 2 options, either an academic, college prep program or a vocational prep plan. That's why Finland and other countries, including Korea, do well when comparisons are made; let's compare apples with apples.

However, Americans should wake up and recognize that with the current one program for all we ignore students who would benefit from an emphasis on vocational training; now those students are called drop-outs. That's where, and why, too many schools are failing.

Posted by: nlersch | September 27, 2010 10:21 PM | Report abuse

Having attended a prestigious private school in DC I can say with certainty that the salad bar really was incredibly daunting.

And that the Hawaiian Underwater Space Cowboy dance was the best we ever had.

Very funny article, Alexandra. And wholly appreciated by those who actually know what you're talking about.

Posted by: ttwiggle | September 28, 2010 9:45 AM | Report abuse

Petri, what are you thinking? You had a chance to fix the public schools with this article and you blew it. Nice job stranding our future, hero.

Posted by: purpledrank | September 28, 2010 1:48 PM | Report abuse

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