Friday, November 14, 2008

Michelle the lady, Schools for the Girls and other stuff that isn't really my business.

Maybe it's a Washington thing, but I'm loving all the stories about the Obamas and their transition to Washington DC life. I don't blame George W. Bush for being happy to show them around the White House. If I were he, I would be counting the seconds until I could head back to Crawford.

The Washington Post ran a good article about the DC Public school closest to the White House. It is not, to put it mildly, a typical example of DC public schools.

I'm still pulling for Sidwell Friends, though. I was an extremely strong advocate of public education until I got to know some YRUUers who go to Sidwell Friends. I have a fascination with the place now. My YRUUers who go there, and the friends they have brought to YRUU activities, have been really impressive and all seem so articulate on a wide range of subjects. And they LOVE their school. I really want that for Sasha and Malia.

I find myself thinking about Michelle Obama a lot, too, hoping she's able to find things to do as First Lady that will take advantage of her serious intellectual horsepower. I kinda think I would hate being First Lady. To me, it just looks like eight (knock on wood) years of trying to avoid screwing up. The chances to distinguish yourself and do actual good seem slim, and even if you do distinguish yourself and do actual good, people hate you. (cf. Eleanor Roosevelt.)

That said, Michelle's a good deal more polished and less awkward than I am. Plus she did better than I'm doing at a law school that's harder than mine. I'd say such a person will probably be able to figure something out.



PG said...

I'm sort of the opposite trend with regard to public schools. Based on the mediocre one I attended in East Texas, when I compared it to friends' challenging and interesting experiences at private high schools, I felt cheated.

But then when I went to college, nearly all my friends were products of very good public schools in Northern Virginia. So then I figured it was just a matter of money.

But then I worked with kids from NYC public schools, particularly the Frederick Douglass Academies and the public charter schools, and I decided that even public schools in relatively poor areas can do fine as long as the kids have committed parents and the principals have some flexibility.

It looks like the DC public schools are going in that direction under Michell Rhee, and I hope that the Obama Administration and Democratic Congress are supportive of her efforts. I'm not anti-tenure by any means -- I definitely see the patronage and free speech concerns involved -- but I think we need to move more toward contracts that forbid firing without cause rather than the nearly iron-clad tenure system. My understanding is that federal employees, for example, have extremely strong worker protections to avoid getting taken out for political disagreements, but they don't have a tenure system like the teachers.

Comrade Kevin said...

Since I've been out here receiving treatment I am relatively close to Sidwell Friends and even have visited recently because of curiosity and because I am a Quaker myself.

Though I went to public school, the friends I've made who went to private school by in large seemed to have enjoyed themselves far more than I ever did.

As for Michelle, she has the grace and charm to be a very effective, behind-the-scenes First Lady. She would never be confused as Hillary Clinton in the same role and has a powerful example of how not to inflame the ire of the public in her capacity.

fausto said...

Fausto is rooting for GDS. Fausto's mom used to run the middle school there, and Malia would be in Fausto's niece's class.

But alas, the inside whispers are saying "Maret".