Friday, November 21, 2008

Perils of the Presidency

I guess that one of the perils of the presidency is that everything you do matters. So on that front, Obama is now facing two major decisions that will play out in the realm of educational policy. First, he has to pick a secretary of education. Second, he needs to pick a school for his daughters to attend. Frankly, in comparison, the first choice is looking like the easy one right now.

Who would have thought that the usually private decision of family schooling would take on such monumental consequences? Advocates rallied in Times Square on Wednesday to urge the Obama's to pick a charter school. USA Today published an op-ed piece saying that they should pick home schooling for the girls. Both public and private schools are all but begging to have the chance to educate the president's children.

The kicker of all this is that whichever he chooses is going to be seen as some sort of indication of where his educational priorities lie. If he picks public school it will send one message. If he picks a private or charter school or opts for home schooling it will send a very different message. No matter his pick, it will please some, anger others, and probably draw cries of hypocrisy.

But here's the deal. What the president picks for his children is not necessarily what he thinks is the best policy for the whole of the nation. Being president (or the children of the president) has a set of issues and considerations that no other person in the country has to deal with. So here's my take on it all: back off and let the family decide. It's not your decision and you're not in their shoes.

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