Barack and Michelle Obama are to be complimented for being very involved with the rearing of their children. They have been busily checking out expensive, exclusive private schools in the Washington, DC area.
One cannot fault them for turning their backs on the local DC public schools. By most any gauge of school performance, DC public schools positively reek. As a quick example (there are many more I won’t bore you with), DC comes in dead last in SAT scores, behind all fifty states.
Washington’s wretched educational performance does not come as a result of lack of spending. The District of Columbia, for the school year 2005-2006, was third in per-pupil spending, behind only New York and New Jersey (two states with similarly wretched performance), with a mind-boggling $13,446 spent per pupil. In fact, the relationship between a state’s standardized test scores (and other means of measuring successful schools) and the amount spent per pupil, is often inversely proportional.
You can check out mean SAT scores by state at http://spreadsheets.google.com/pub?key=p5_qQ6maRJmvWRlRIFh6Kbg&output=html&gid=1&single=true . Then, check out per-pupil expenditures at http://ftp2.census.gov/govs/school/06f33pub.pdf .
Often, people have difficulty with the libertarian view that all schools should be private, that the government should have no involvement at all in the education of children. “What?!” people often respond, “Don’t you believe in education?”
One might as well argue that, if one doesn’t believe the government should be the provider of bread, then one must believe in mass starvation. In this area, most people understand that the opposite is true; if government really were in charge of food production, we would all starve. For evidence of this, see the history of Soviet Russia, with special emphasis on the Ukraine (one of the world’s most fertile regions for growing wheat).
If the same folks running Washington DC public schools were put in charge of bread production, a loaf would cost a hundred dollars, with the added benefit of being inedible.
The Obama family understands the importance of making good choices in education. They are to be complimented for putting forth prodigious efforts to find a good, private school for their two beautiful children. Thank goodness they are not putting them in those awful DC public schools!