From The

The Obamas’ Class Struggle
By Meera Bowman-Johnson |

Public? Private? The always-tough school search is even harder if you’re black…not to mention the first family.

………..I guess that’s why, in addition to being generally thrilled for Michelle Obama, I’m so happy that the self-proclaimed “mom in chief” is getting closer to the peace of mind that comes with finding the right school for her children. I seriously doubt her daughters had to wait on any waiting lists whatsoever, as mine did. But I can still relate to what she’s going through. Because in the end, finding the right school is a cathartic moment for any concerned parent, whether they’re moving to 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue or not.

Most parents struggle with where to send their kids to school. But the decision can be especially agonizing for upwardly mobile black parents. There are worries about low expectations from teachers and peer pressure to value coolness over studiousness. Inevitable accusations of “acting white.” Then there’s an extra pressure to ensure that your children continue to carry your family forward, rather than erase the gains of the past. And of course, there is the ever-present, if often unreasonable, expectation to lift your whole community along with your nuclear family as you climb.

Earlier this week, Mrs. Obama visited several private schools in the D.C. metro area, including the Georgetown Day School, Sidwell Friends (the Quaker school that Chelsea Clinton attended) and a third, the Maret School. All three are comparable to the University of Chicago Lab Schools (otherwise known as “The Lab”) that Sasha, 7, and Malia, 10, currently attend.

The Obamas’ choice to send their children to private school speaks volumes about their value system. And that an investment in their children’s future is the most important one they will ever make. As if Bill Cosby isn’t proud enough of them already.

But months before the election, speculation swirled about what type of school the Ivy League-educated power couple would choose for their daughters. Some critics argued that by choosing a public school education, the civic-minded Obamas would make a powerful statement about their faith in the American public education system. Sending Sasha and Malia to public schools, some argued, could reignite a widespread interest in public schools among more educated, middle-class parents.

I don’t think this is very hard. Until I went to college and met folks from DC, I didn’t realize just how pathetic the public school system was. I mean, I just assumed that, as with other cities, there were a handful of select public schools, as good as the private, that middle-class parents who didn’t want to move to the suburbs, schemed and clawed their way into. Whether in college or graduate school, I didn’t meet one person, Black, White, Latino, Asian, who went to a DC Public School. Suburban VA & MD Public – yes. But, an actual, honest-to-God DC Public School – no.

The WeeMichelles aren’t some political statement, and neither is their education.

Off to private school they go.

Though I do wonder why no single-sex schools have been mentioned. I’m a big fan of single-sex education.

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