I've stayed away from commenting on the Christie's choice to send their kids to a private school. Where his kids attend classes and why is no one's business but theirs.Teachers get blamed when D.C. school kids do poorly on their tests. When Obama’s daughter Malia came home from school with a 73 percent on a science test, Obama didn’t blame the teacher. He said in a speech last year that he simply told Malia to work harder.But his main education initiative for public schools to date, Race to the Top, is focused on common standards, the expansion of charter schools, teacher assessment through performance, data systems and standardized tests.It doesn’t have much to say about parental involvement, early childhood education, afterschool programs, kids’ health and psychological needs -- all of the things that a student at Sidwell could expect to get.Of course, comparing one of the world’s finest schools to other schools doesn’t make a whole lot of sense.But neither do policies that scapegoat teachers, make standardized test scores all-important, and embrace market-driven reforms as appropriate for a public school system, which is the country's most important civic institution. You'd think we'd treat it better.
I do, however, think it is very much within the bounds of public discourse to ask why children who attend private schools don't have to be subjected to the same mandates that their parents insist on imposing on the rest of our children.