| February 1, 2009

Young Obama Used Scholarship to Attend Private School

The Children's Scholarship Fund (CSF) is a philanthropic organization providing partial tuition assistance for low-income families to send their children to private schools.

According to the folks at CSF, "One of the most exciting outcomes of the Obama presidency for us is his unique position as a role model for so many children helped by our scholarships (and many more like them across the nation).

"Now we have an African-American man in the highest seat in the land-a man who came from humble beginnings and had a lot of potential excuses if he failed to succeed. Instead he went on to graduate from college and an Ivy League law school, and first and foremost values his role as husband and father. Our families can now point to him as an example of the opportunities that hard work and no excuses present to everyone.

"Our parents can tell their children that, like them, President Obama had caring adults in his life who saw to it that he went to good schools-and the hard work and sacrifice paid off. Like CSF recipients, President Obama used a scholarship to attend private school-in his case Punahou School, the private school in Hawaii where he studied from 5th grade through high school."

Unfortunately, even though President Obama attended a private school, and even though he sends his own children to a private school, he opposes public policies which would give that option to less-fortunate Americans. Heritage Foundation analyst Dan Lips reminds us of "the sentiment [Obama] expressed to the American Federation of Teachers this summer: ‘But what I do oppose is spending 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.'

"But Obama did walk away from public schools when the time came to enroll his own daughters. After serving on the board of a charity that gave tens of millions to public education, Obama decided that Chicago public schools weren't good enough for his daughters. He enrolled them in the private University of Chicago lab school, where elementary school tuition costs more than $18,000 per year. ... Obama should recognize the urgent need to give poor children-not just his own children-the opportunity to attend a private school."

One wishes that President Obama would heed the words of one of his supporters, University of Central Oklahoma economist Mickey Hepner. We already have school choice for upper- and middle-income families in Oklahoma, Dr. Hepner has pointed out. "Wouldn't it just be fair to have school choice for everyone?"

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