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No Ordinary School for Politicians’ Kids

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No Ordinary School for Politicians’ Kids

Two-FacedMan school

Watch how quickly community learning centers, of necessity, will fill the void.

On camera, a reporter asked recently elected Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel where his children will go to school. Joining a multitude of politicians before him, Mr. Mayor quickly became impolite, even though he knew the question would be forthcoming and had the requisite “sound byte” ready in response. “You’re asking for a value statement, not a policy statement. I’m making this decision as a father.”

While Chicago’s public school school students continue to suffer under Emanuel’s predecessors’ policy statements, Emanuel’s “value statement” runs far in another direction. According to a HuffPost article, his children will suffer no ordinary school.

Zach, Ilana and Leah will be commuting down to Hyde Park to attend the very prestigious, private University of Chicago Laboratory Schools.

He’s in good recent company: Barack and Michelle Obama sent their daughters to the Lab Schools before moving to Washington, D.C. U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan is also an alumnus, as is former Supreme Court justice John Paul Stevens and a panoply of artists, musicians, scientists, academics and public servants.

Founded in 1896 by pre-eminent American educator John Dewey, the Lab Schools are known as one of the most diverse of the nation’s elite private institutions; about 35 percent of its students are people of color. It’s also known as one of the best: its high school is one of the top feeders in the country to America’s elite colleges and universities, and its extracurriculars, from newspaper and yearbook to Model U.N., are regular winners of regional and national awards.

Hypocrisy about School

Now mind you, I’m not against monied people spending in a way they see fit (in this case a cool $60k+ per year). And frankly, I wouldn’t send a kid to a John Dewey founded school – for free! What gets me is the hypocrisy. People don’t have to take jobs that put them in charge of the fate of other people’s children. They choose to take the jobs, the jobs that provide enough pay to choose alternative school for their children. I’m sure Mayor Emanuel thought his sound byte was cute and to the point. What it says to me, though, is that, as a father, he has certain values that he leaves at his home’s doorstep before he arrives at work. It says there is a total disconnect between parental values for the children of the powers-that-be and policy actions that affect “ordinary” children.

Here’s the other thing. Some states right now spend $12 – 15k per student, and these are only the “admitted” expenditures. Most often school bookkeeping doesn’t include capital improvements and other expenditures. First, that amount goes a long way in covering the cost of an “extraordinary” school. Second, the remaining balance could be found in many ways if policy statements changed.

School Could Be Fixed for All Children

For starters, getting rid of the U.S. Department of Education, which does nothing directly for children and their learning. (See “Day in the Life of Secretary Arne Duncan,” which states, “Amazingly, it’s now been ten years,  a full decade of [No Child Left Behind] NCLB Reforms, they’ve spent nearly a trillion dollars, and our United State Department of Education are still searching for that perfect assessment.”) The Department’s budget is over $500 billion each year. Divvy that up and every child gets closer to an “extraordinary” school.

Cut out a good chunk of the far-too-overreaching administrative creep that plagues the school system in the exact same way it plagues state and federal government. Stop paying billions of dollars for worthless standardized tests that everyone’s cheating on, anyway. Realize the idiocy of programs like No Child Left Behind wasting a trillion dollars to reach benchmarks some politician pulled out of his arse one day, only to provide waivers to schools that are never going to reach said benchmarks. Have schools join the 21st century and utilize low- and no-cost online learning tools. Better yet, take a leap of faith, and get rid of brick-and-mortar schools altogether, and watch how quickly community learning centers, of necessity, will fill the void, save taxpayers money, and provide, not an extraordinary school, but an extraordinary education available to all children. This would get the government’s firm grip off of education. Then you’d see how inexpensive an extraordinary education can be.

You can watch Emanuel’s hissy fit – with a hissy fit from New Jersey Governor Christie as a bonus – at this article on Huffington Post.

See also “Schooling Causes Psychic Damage Lasting Into Adulthood

In the meantime, as you realize that your values as a parent include the best education possible for your own children, too, consider homeschooling for your family. If Mayor Emanuel leaves his values at home, you can be sure the admirable values of others never make it to the school door, either.


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One Response to “No Ordinary School for Politicians’ Kids”

  1. Ben Bennett says:

    And “as a father” I choose to educate my children outside of the state schools. The elite politicians can waste their money, prepping their spoiled brats through elite schools while condemning the proletariat to twelve years indentured servitude. Meanwhile, independent learners will learn and live in freedom.

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