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Monday, November 24, 2008

Tired Rhetoric

Back in July, then-senator Barack Obama spoke to the American Federation of Teachers. His goal was to assure this teacher’s union that he was all for public education, and to depict Sen. John McCain as an enemy of public schools. McCain, he told these teachers, was offering nothing but “tired rhetoric about vouchers and school choice.”

Not Obama. “Now, I’ve been a proponent of public school choice throughout my career,” he said. “But what I do oppose is using public money for private school vouchers. We need to focus on fixing and improving our public schools; not throwing our hands up and walking away from them.”

Of course, when it comes to his neighborhood public schools, his hands are up and he’s walking away. He’ll be sending his children to the $25,000-a-year private Sidwell Friends school in Washington, D.C. When he was an Illinois senator, his children attended a private school in Chicago, too.

This hypocrisy is fairly standard among Democrats. They love unionized, government school teachers—for other people’s children. They stand with parents in public school gyms and cheer the education system, while they quietly slip their own children out the back door and enroll them in something better.

When people have criticized Obama as an elitist for having attended Punahou, he has pointed out that he did so on a scholarship, as the only way his single mother could have afforded the tuition. Maybe, if she had had a voucher to help pay for school, her own choice for her child’s education wouldn’t have been such a financial struggle.

Posted on Monday, November 24, 2008 in Politics | Permalink

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About This Blog

A. Kam Napier has been editor of the magazine since 2005, and a writer with the magazine since 1994. He blogs on the magazine and its contents, as well as events and issues around Honolulu.

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