As the Obama girls start school this week, I think it is worth taking a closer look at Sidwell Friends School, the school they will be attending. I am not taking issue with the fact that the Obama family chose a private rather than a public school; every parent should give their child the best opportunities they can afford, and Sidwell Friends School will give the Obama girls every advantage that a parent can dream of as far as post-secondary educational opportunities. I think it will be more instructive, as far as fully understanding the educational and governmental philosophies that Barack Obama will push, to look at the philosophy of those he has entrusted with the minds of his children.
According to the school’s website, Sidwell Friends School seeks “academically talented students of diverse cultural, racial, religious and economic backgrounds.” The educational philosophy seems to be centered around diversity and diversity sensitivity training. Each level of the school has a “Diversity Coordinator” responsible for creating age-appropriate diversity sensitivity programs. Each of these Diversity Coordinators reports to the “All-School Diversity Coordinator” who reports directly to the headmaster and implements school-wide diversity sensitivity training and programs.
The first question I have is: how economically diverse can a school be where tuition ranges from $28,442 to $29,442, and ONE in FIVE students receives financial aid? That means that around 20% of the families of students at SFS receives SOME assistance with the tuition. It seems difficult to believe that economic diversity is a true focus of Sidwell Friends, since only 20% of students receive any financial aid for a tuition that is higher than the average tuition at a private college ($25,143, according to collegeboard.com ).
As per the Sidwell Friends School website, “The School’s multicultural curriculum invites students to explore different cultures and realities.” (I assume one of these realities is the one where 4 out of 5 families can afford to spend over $28,000 a year on their child’s education; another one may be the “reality” where government intervention leads to economic stimulization.)
This shows, with unusual clarity, is that the typical elitist liberal mindset is alive and well in Washington DC, particularly in the Obama administration. (Joe Biden has a grandchild enrolled in SFS, and it has been speculated that Rahm Emanuel may enroll his children there when he moves his family to Washington DC.)
What I have gathered from my admittedly brief look at the philosophy of Sidwell Friends School is this: diversity is great, as long as it doesn’t hamper my children’s opportunities. Diversity is the key to a good education, at least all types of diversity but economic diversity. My children should explore their own “realities,” whatever they may be, because although, there is only one reality for most people, my children are not like everyone else.
It will be fascinating to see how these principles play out during Obama’s time in Washington DC.