Sorry, We’re Booked, White House Tells Obamas
December 12, 2008 7:35 PM   Subscribe

NYT: "The White House has turned down a request from the family of President-elect Barack Obama to move into Blair House in early January so that his daughters can start school on Jan. 5."

The Obamas were told that Blair House, where incoming presidents usually stay in the five days before Inauguration Day, is booked in early January, a spokesperson to the Obama transition said. “We explored the idea so that the girls could start school on schedule,’ the spokesperson said. “But, there were previously scheduled events and guests that couldn’t be displaced.”

The Blair House, situated across the street from the White House, is the official state guest house for the President of the United States. Take a tour of the Blair House. Wikipedia.

And where are the Obama girls going to school, anyway? To the Sidwell Friends School, apparently, which has also educated the children of Theodore Roosevelt and Bill Clinton, as well as the grandchildren of Joe Biden, albeit for as much as $29,442 a year.
posted by Quidam (83 comments total) 2 users marked this as a favorite

 
30k /year for primary school. That's roughly what I paid for my university education, all four years, including housing/tuition/etc.

The Blair House stuff is a non-event, though.
posted by Lemurrhea at 7:43 PM on December 12, 2008


It's good to be the king.
posted by dead cousin ted at 7:44 PM on December 12, 2008


I'm not feeling all that outraged about this.
posted by longsleeves at 7:44 PM on December 12, 2008 [3 favorites]


“The White House has been extremely accommodating to the Obama family needs — and the entire process has been smooth and friendly,” the transition official said.

This seems like a non-story, even on a slow news day. I'm sure there will be plenty of other things to get upset about.
posted by Slack-a-gogo at 7:46 PM on December 12, 2008


I figure it must be a security thing.
posted by ThePinkSuperhero at 7:47 PM on December 12, 2008 [1 favorite]


This is deep man, very deep.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 7:50 PM on December 12, 2008


In an absolute sense $30,000 is too much. That's 3 times the average per student expenditure in public schools, assuming that the school is supported solely by tuition (which I find unlikely). I don't doubt the quality of education at this school is better than the average public school, but fully three times better?

Relatively speaking, though, the cost is not surprising. Top end private schools here in St. Louis are near $20,000, so I would have guessed about 50% more for security and such.

The Blair House thing is, as others have said, a non-story. The Obamas are very wealthy and have many friends in the DC area. They'll find a place to stay for a couple of weeks, I'm sure.
posted by jedicus at 7:53 PM on December 12, 2008


I kinda feel that any story that leads both the Drudge Report and the Huffington Post is very very out of place here.
posted by Jeff_Larson at 7:54 PM on December 12, 2008 [3 favorites]


I hear Campbell "I never saw an angle I didn't like" Brown is demanding that Obama apologize for imposing on the Bush family.
posted by KevinSkomsvold at 7:55 PM on December 12, 2008


I tempted to call this a storm in a tea cup, expect that would be overstating things.
posted by ob at 7:56 PM on December 12, 2008


I'm sure there are plenty of people in DC who would let the Obama's stay at their place. I wonder if there are ethical regulations in play -- of course he won't actually be president yet

But anyway, I fail to care.
posted by delmoi at 7:59 PM on December 12, 2008


“We explored the idea so that the girls could start school on schedule,’ the spokesperson said. “But, there were previously scheduled events and guests that couldn’t be displaced.”

Perhaps they were all booked by spiteful Maretites.
posted by Rhaomi at 8:03 PM on December 12, 2008


seriously, even if Bush is just having family friends stay there that weekend it's still his call to let them stay there. Obama is asking for something extra but the Bushes already have plans.

Non-story
posted by slapshot57 at 8:05 PM on December 12, 2008 [1 favorite]


I hear Campbell "I never saw an angle I didn't like" Brown is demanding that Obama apologize for imposing on the Bush family.
posted by KevinSkomsvold at 9:55 PM on December 12 [+] [!]


What is with that lady? I've only recently discovered her and she seems to be just all over the place, almost seeming random.
posted by Ynoxas at 8:06 PM on December 12, 2008


Shouldn't he have had an apartment or something in Washington? It's been his place of employment for three years. Doesn't he have a pullout couch or something that the kids could sleep on?

Or would a two-week stay at a hotel be so horrible for them?

I've been plenty outraged by a whole hell of a lot of things that the current administration has done. I gather, from the way this is being presented, that I am supposed to be outraged by it, too. I am not, however, understanding why.
posted by Flunkie at 8:07 PM on December 12, 2008 [1 favorite]


In an absolute sense $30,000 is too much. That's 3 times the average per student expenditure in public schools, assuming that the school is supported solely by tuition (which I find unlikely).

By that reasoning, $10,000 is too much "in an absolute sense", since you could just give kids a library card and tell them to educate themselves. Would they, on average, receive a worse education? Quite probably, but their education would surely be more than zero ten thousandths as good.
posted by Mr. President Dr. Steve Elvis America at 8:09 PM on December 12, 2008 [2 favorites]


Best of nothing.
posted by odinsdream at 8:10 PM on December 12, 2008




I hear Campbell "I never saw an angle I didn't like" Brown is demanding that Obama apologize for imposing on the Bush family.
posted by KevinSkomsvold at 9:55 PM on December 12 [+] [!]

What is with that lady? I've only recently discovered her and she seems to be just all over the place, almost seeming random.
posted by Ynoxas at 9:06 PM on December 12 [+] [!]


Seriously, I was wondering the same thing. I read an article just a few weeks ago about how she's trying to be an intermediary between O'Reily and whoever the MSNBC opposite guy is and now she's everywhere.
posted by Octoparrot at 8:12 PM on December 12, 2008


I don't doubt the quality of education at this school is better than the average public school, but fully three times better?

Lifetime earnings for a public school grad: $2M

Lifetime earnings of an elite private school grad: $10M

Difference: $8M

Cost ($40K x 25 years): $1M

ROI: 800%
posted by troy at 8:14 PM on December 12, 2008 [10 favorites]


oh, and Thanks, Ralph.
posted by troy at 8:17 PM on December 12, 2008


Yeah, non-story. The White House is quite right to refuse to un-invite whomever will be staying in the Blair House at that time.
posted by orange swan at 8:21 PM on December 12, 2008


Mansion on O street would be nice.
posted by stbalbach at 8:21 PM on December 12, 2008


regarding his apartment in DC... I saw it featured a month or so back on some TV program (60 mins perhaps).. it is a pretty dumpy, efficient, small place believe it or not. Michelle wouldn't stay there when she visited, and it is wholly inappropriate for a family of four, especially with the security concerns or a soon to be president.

But he Blair house thing is a big Meh story, the Obamas asked, it was booked, so they will look elsewhere. I am sure they can find something suitable

The ONLY thing that interested me about the story from earlier today was the seemingly dogged refusal to say who WAS staying at the house at the time. I mean, in reality it should be a non-issue, so just say who is thee. Presumably it is a residence paid for with tax payers money, do we really have to file a FOIA request to get that small bit of information?
posted by edgeways at 8:25 PM on December 12, 2008 [2 favorites]


Yes, Obama has a 1 bedroom in DC, but supposedly it is such a shit-hole that Michelle refuses to spend the night there.
posted by Mick at 8:26 PM on December 12, 2008


ROI: 800%

I don't disagree with your basic point, but since the costs are incurred before the benefits are realized, and many of the benefits are realized in later life, it seems like you need to PV everything.

To see why this is necessary, note that what you're really asking is whether the $40k/year can be put to a more productive use.
posted by Mr. President Dr. Steve Elvis America at 8:26 PM on December 12, 2008 [1 favorite]


Who cares. It's very apparent that Bush is leaning more and more on Obama for policy decisions, the most recent and blatant of which was the auto industry bail-out. Not only did Bush break ranks with the GOP, he seemed to have a coherent plan to put the bridge loans in place with what's left over in the TARP, and has a secondary plan in place to use the Fed to make the needed loans, both making an end-run around new congressional legislature without overextending his authority. I mean, really, does that sound right to you? A realistic, well-constructed plan with an alternate in case things go wrong? No, that's not Bush-like at all.

Word is, Obama spends half his time with his transition team, having them tell him the best options, and half his time with Bush's cabinet, telling them the best options.
posted by Slap*Happy at 8:28 PM on December 12, 2008 [2 favorites]


for the record I have had too much alcohol so my typing is worse than ususal, hopefully the general thrust of the above comment is legible, srry.
posted by edgeways at 8:28 PM on December 12, 2008


There's a Residence Inn by Marriott about a half-mile away, and kids under 12 stay free.
posted by An Infinity Of Monkeys at 8:29 PM on December 12, 2008 [4 favorites]


If the president elect usually stays at the house 5 days before moving in, why would they book the house?
posted by xammerboy at 8:36 PM on December 12, 2008 [1 favorite]


it's amusing to me that this page links to the NYT, which in turn links to metafilter. Pagerank all around!
posted by mezamashii at 8:36 PM on December 12, 2008 [1 favorite]


30k /year for primary school. That's roughly what I paid for my university education, all four years, including housing/tuition/etc.

It's way more than what I paid for my university education.

But it's just a bit more than what we pay for daycare for our three month old. *cringe*
posted by gaspode at 8:37 PM on December 12, 2008


If the president elect usually stays at the house 5 days before moving in, why would they book the house?
The house is not booked for those five days. It will be available to the Obamas for those five days, as is customary.

The Obamas asked if it could additionally be available earlier. The White House said no.
posted by Flunkie at 8:41 PM on December 12, 2008


There's a Residence Inn by Marriott about a half-mile away, and kids under 12 stay free.

I think I could use the extra bit of confidence if I knew that he stayed at a Holiday Inn Express instead.
posted by maudlin at 8:41 PM on December 12, 2008 [1 favorite]


troy writes "Lifetime earnings for a public school grad: $2M

"Lifetime earnings of an elite private school grad: $10M"


Private schools teach. They teach their students that they have a place in the world, a place at the top. They teach confidence, and, to be frank, the arrogance necessary to success.

I went to some very good public schools. City-wide magnets, with some courses that you'd get freshman year at a good university. It taught me a lot, but it didn't teach me that I was elite.

That's why, when it came time for a much-younger relative to go to school, I strongly counseled her parents send her to private school for her, even though the public schools she'd otherwise have gone to are very good -- for public schools --, and more than sufficient for her. Not because she'd learn more, academically, but because it would give her the the illusion that she was, and deserved to be, and deserved, better than others.

So much of success (and happiness) is about having a inaccurate, inflated self-opinion. Clowns and fools and mountebanks, educated in the public schools, learn to be cogs in the machine, and become salesmen and middle-managers and grifters; the same clown, fool, or charlatan educated at an exclusive private school learns to "truly" believe in himself and in his his bestowed-by-God superiority, and becomes a politician, a theologian, or a CEO.

Treated as better than others, as more deserving, pushed harder to succeed, most importantly constantly told, in ways small and large that they deserve to succeed and by the natural order of the world will succeed, they do. Even when they're mediocrities of the first water: one need only look at the career of the current occupant of the White House.
posted by orthogonality at 8:45 PM on December 12, 2008 [33 favorites]


The two schools where I teach have tuitions in the same ballpark (30K/yr). If I had children, I'd gladly pay that much to send them to either school and I can certainly understand why they'd send the girls to Sidwell.
posted by blaneyphoto at 8:50 PM on December 12, 2008


When I'm president I'm going to keep herds of goats inside the White House.
posted by Burhanistan at 8:53 PM on December 12, 2008 [1 favorite]


That's it. Contest is over.

Claim your Ipod.
posted by jason's_planet at 9:12 PM on December 12, 2008


Surely this. Or, wevs.

If you're looking for outrage, get the new Harper's and read the with the special 3 page Bush era retrospective Index. Goddamn.
posted by mullingitover at 9:14 PM on December 12, 2008


They're in-boundary for Stevens Elementary at 21st & K, which was one of the first public segregated schools (for black folk), and definitely the first in DC, built in 1868. It's a pretty good school at all, though there are a handful of better ones.

The junior high they're in-boundary for is Francis, which was my neighborhood school as a child as well (though I went to Jefferson in SW). While Francis is slightly better than average, that's DC average, which means that it's a hell of a shithole. It's pretty hilarious to watch the bedlam parade of proto-ruffians make their way down P street when school gets out at 3:15.
posted by blasdelf at 9:28 PM on December 12, 2008


I expect Blair House to be hosting a fucking orgy between the Israelis and Palestinians for this shit to be justified.
posted by Dasein at 10:02 PM on December 12, 2008


30k a year on primary school? You are NOT getting value for money.
posted by mattoxic at 10:20 PM on December 12, 2008


why is this on metafilter
posted by boo_radley at 10:23 PM on December 12, 2008


Where are the sirens?
posted by Marisa Stole the Precious Thing at 10:24 PM on December 12, 2008 [3 favorites]


Some thoughts from a Sidwell graduate: When Chelsea went there around 91-92, there were some people who were pretty upset by the fact that armed Secret Service agents would be on campus (non-violence is one of the primary tenets of Quaker belief). I graduated a few years before her, and to my 17 year-old mind seeing all the new "Buildings and Maintenance" dudes with ear-pieces and extra-baggy work smocks kind of made my day.

As for Obama sending his kids to private school, this has been an issue ever since Carter sent his daughter Amy to Wilson (public high school, also the alma mater of Ian Mackaye). I don't think you can fault a president for sending his kids to private school within DC. As blasdelf points out, with some exceptions the public schools in DC are a nightmare. Things are changing, hopefully, but if you live in the DC area and are in a certain economic range you don't think twice about spending 30K per year for private schooling your kids. Yes, it's kind of outrageous, but that's the way things go inside the beltway (Maryland and Virginia have some of the best public schools in the country in the DC burbs, but it can also be a bit of a mixed bag).

It's a fantastic school, no doubt about it. And it's kind of the antithesis of a "prep" school. The kids pretty much dress like slobs (I know I did) and are given a lot of freedom to pursue their own interests. It's tough as hell to get in, so Sidwell pretty much self-selects students who are going to achieve (the percentage of graduates who go to Ivy League schools is fairly ridiculous, probably about 50%). So for all the ostensible slacker-dom, at the end of the day Sidwell produces some pretty smart over-achievers.

Oh, and the football team is terrible. At least it used to be, when we'd routinely get pounded by the preppier Episcopal all-boys schools like St. Albans and Episcopal and Landon and Georgetown Prep (I think the last one is Catholic, actually). Solution? Move to another conference!

GO FRIENDS!
posted by bardic at 10:28 PM on December 12, 2008 [2 favorites]


I don't think you can fault a president for sending his kids to private school within DC.

I think you can definitely fault a president for choosing to send his kids to private school, especially in a region of the United States where private schools not only reflect massive economic and social inequities, but also help their customers maintain them. It would be a very significant display of national leadership, for him to be willing to not only send his kids to public school, but help fund all public schools properly.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 11:12 PM on December 12, 2008 [2 favorites]


It would be a very significant display of national leadership, for him to be willing to not only send his kids to public school, but help fund all public schools properly.

Um. It isn't just about the money. It's about their personal safety.

They've already been going to a private school -- the University of Chicago Laboratory Schools (a mere $20K) -- and I don't begrudge Obama doing what he can to make sure they have all the necessary advantages of a private school education. We'll never make the public schools as good as Sidwell, or Lab, no matter how equitably we fund them, because there is always a bell curve and there will always be better schools. And there's almost no way they'd get a normal education there anyway.

Regardless, I understand Blair House isn't given over to private guests, but to parties for outgoing administration panjandrums and the like. I suspect that they will end up someplace just fine, like Hillary's house near the Naval Observatory, which is going to be made pretty secure itself. Washington no doubt has dozens of suitably protected residences.
posted by dhartung at 11:29 PM on December 12, 2008


There's no glory in private schools. At my boarding school It was just like any other high school, just adapting to the conditions. There was still Crystal Meth, drunks wandering the hallways at night looking for people smaller than themselves to beat up (but it was all in good fun, right?), stealing of anything not locked up, Cocaine, Alcohol, Pot and cliques (although less defined).

The system was interesting, though. The higher grade you were, the more spending money you recieved weekly (Grade 8-9 $10 Grade 10-11 $12 Grade 12 $15) and the later you got to stay up (Grades 8-10 10PM lights out, Grade 11 10:15 lights out, Grade 12 no real bedtime but inside the dorm at 10:15). The Grade 12s also had official power to boss around the younger grades and abused it regularly (I tried to go to bat for them and lost this official capacity pretty quickly). When I finally got to grade 12, everyone in my grade who thought this was a bad idea suddenly didn't. Funny how that happens.

The real difference was made clear in my grade 12 year. To my knowledge, most people in High School don't believe the crap the teachers sold them about school spirit. At mine they did. One day our principal gave a speech and afterwords I almost got lynched by people who used to be my friends when I found a way to successfully and publicly explain, in an attempt to rebut his speech, that grabbing a word "pessemist" and using it to describe a henceforth unheard of section of the population "pessemists" and blame everything bad that ever happened on them and claim that these "pessemists" won't be succussful in anything because all they do is cheat and smoke cigarettes was the same kind of bullshit the Nazis said about the Jews before they ganked them.
posted by Pseudology at 11:46 PM on December 12, 2008 [1 favorite]


I hear Bush is having an end-of-term kegger there.
posted by blue_beetle at 12:19 AM on December 13, 2008 [2 favorites]


It's a non-story, but I wonder, after reading troy's comment, if post hoc ergo propter hoc is something one might learn at an "elite private school".
posted by GeckoDundee at 12:28 AM on December 13, 2008


drunks wandering the hallways at night looking for people smaller than themselves to beat up bugger.

FTFY.

The Grade 12s also had official power to boss around the younger grades and abused it regularly

Get me a couple of Murphy's from Sally's and be quick about it, Fag, or you'll be roasted over an open fire.
posted by PeterMcDermott at 3:02 AM on December 13, 2008


When I'm president I'm making everyone work out on the front lawn. The inside? I'm turning into a roller rink.
posted by From Bklyn at 3:17 AM on December 13, 2008 [1 favorite]


FWIW, Sidwell is definitely not a boarding school.

Drugs and alchohol? Yes, plenty, but comparable to any American high school. There was a 7-11 down the street where Freddy the homeless dude used to over-charge kids from the local private schools (Sidwell, National Cathedral, St. Alban's, Georgetown Day) for six packs. In my experience, drugs were a lot easier to score than alcohol, and I doubt things have changed.

As for Obama sending his kids to public school, IMO that's a ridiculous fantasy. Setting up a Secret Service apparatus at a public school would place an undue burden on the school system (not to mention one as dysfunctional as D.C.'s), and probably end up costing a lot more than the 60K/year the Obama will be spending on tuition. The problem with DC public schools is not a lack of funding. DC receives far more per student than any other school system in the country (over 30K/student/year, last I checked). The problem is wastefulness, cynicism, and pure greed.

And at the risk of sounding like too much of a Sidwell booster (I loved the place, but it certainly had many issues as well) the school has put its money where its mouth is when it comes to recruiting minority students. Sure, it's still a pretty lilly-white student body, but last I checked the enrollment of African Americans was at about 15 percent, and many of these kids are receiving substantial help with tuition.

Suck it, Stalbans.
posted by bardic at 3:19 AM on December 13, 2008


I for one am outraged that the President gets to live in a house! Not just any house, mind you, but a glamorous white mansion in one of the most famous cities in America! And he has servants! Many! And a nice limousine. And all of this is payed for through taxes on hardworking citizens.
I say, Mr. President, get your own damn house! Just try to get a mortgage on a halfway decent home in that neighborhood on your paltry salary. Then spend your time worrying that they might foreclose on your home.

signed,
Angry Homeowners
posted by twoleftfeet at 4:03 AM on December 13, 2008 [1 favorite]


This is what we're outraged about? Really?
posted by EarBucket at 5:20 AM on December 13, 2008


Tony Blair's kids went to a state school(public school), albeit a very very good one. Is there a security reason why the President's kids need to go to a very expensive school? Just wondering as past presidential children went there.
posted by mippy at 5:27 AM on December 13, 2008


All the London kids I know went to private schools, mind - I believe it's pretty hard to find a good state school in London. DC might be less catchment-area minded.
posted by mippy at 5:28 AM on December 13, 2008


But back to the Blair house, EarBucket, maybe Rumsfeld is the mystery guest that trumped the prez-elect.
posted by originalboo at 5:34 AM on December 13, 2008


Hotels are great when you don't have a large security detail that insists on securing everything and (bardic's excellent point notwithstanding) the same goes for schools. As much as the Quakers (and I) wish they didn't have experience accommodating Secret Service, they do. It's really unfortunately, but BO probably has serious concerns about the safety of his kids.

The Sidwell choice disappointed me mostly because it didn't show much creativity on the education front. We're still waiting to see who Obama picks to head DEd and, until then, everybody's grabbing at straws trying to figure out where this guy stands.
posted by l33tpolicywonk at 6:20 AM on December 13, 2008


I don't think you can fault a president for sending his kids to private school within DC.

If they can't run a school system, how can they possibly dictate how local school systems shall be run?

If they can't run a school system, why would we believe they could run ANYTHING?

Oh dear, I'm depressing myself.
posted by mikelieman at 7:47 AM on December 13, 2008


Tony Blair's kids went to a state school(public school), albeit a very very good one. Is there a security reason why the President's kids need to go to a very expensive school? Just wondering as past presidential children went there.
posted by mippy at 8:27 AM on December 13 [+] [!]


I have wondered why the security for PMs around the world, like Canada and the UK, is much less serious than that for American presdidents. Jean Chretien had an intruder in his house and the guy wasn't shot on sight; he's been close enough to protestors to choke one who got too in his face. They also have a lot less public attention: I didn't even know that Tony Blair had kids, let alone what school they went to. Jean Chretien had some kids - and never heard anything about them, or his wife, except when that intruder was in his house.

Maybe it is because they are not head of state. Security around the Queen is just as serious as it is around the president - she often travels by helicopter even over short distances because it is more secure, and will land in specially secured fields.
posted by jb at 8:27 AM on December 13, 2008


I really am having trouble fathoming how this became a story. Did the Obama people spread this around to embarrass Bush? Or vice versa? Or was it something that some reporter asked about somehow and then became a big deal?
posted by grouse at 8:40 AM on December 13, 2008


This is only a story (and on Metafilter) because it's about our new King.

-0-

30k a year on primary school? You are NOT getting value for money.

Spend a day (or a parents' night) at Princeton Day School (also $30k/year). You will see things much differently.
posted by Zambrano at 9:02 AM on December 13, 2008


ortho: the same clown, fool, or charlatan educated at an exclusive private school learns to "truly" believe in himself and in his his bestowed-by-God superiority, and becomes a politician, a theologian, or a CEO.

Baby_Balrog = public school educated theologian, crusty congregationalist even.
posted by Baby_Balrog at 9:08 AM on December 13, 2008


30k /year for primary school. That's roughly what I paid for my university education, all four years, including housing/tuition/etc.

Well, today private universities cost about 160k+ for four years. Even at a public school you'd generally be paying a lot more than that. So education costs suck all around today, it's not just that k-12 private schools are independently expensive.
posted by Solon and Thanks at 9:57 AM on December 13, 2008


Security around the Queen is just as serious as it is around the president

That's definitely not the case. Can you imagine someone being able to break into the President's bedroom? Granted, that was a while ago, but this and this were more recent. The bodyguards immediately surrounding Royals in public might have excellent training, but the envelope of security is simply not as serious as that around the president.
posted by Dasein at 10:09 AM on December 13, 2008


Even at a public school you'd generally be paying a lot more than that.

Annual tuition for a Liberal Arts student at the following flagship state universities:

UC Berkeley: $8,932/$29,540
Texas: $8,090/$26,672
Washington: $6,802/$23,219

Even the out-of-state tuition is comparable or less than a year at Sidwell Friends, and the in-state tuition is a lot less.
posted by grouse at 10:22 AM on December 13, 2008



There's no glory in private schools. At my boarding school It was just like any other high school, just adapting to the conditions. There was still Crystal Meth, drunks wandering the hallways at night looking for people smaller than themselves to beat up (but it was all in good fun, right?), stealing of anything not locked up, Cocaine, Alcohol, Pot and cliques (although less defined).



You're not in the U.K are you? The phrase "Pessimist" strikes me as being pretty Albion-y.

I think it was C. S Lewis who said that he preferred being in the trenches rather than being at boarding school because while at war, no one was claiming all the torture and fear was good for you.
posted by The Whelk at 10:30 AM on December 13, 2008 [1 favorite]


Annual tuition for a Liberal Arts student at the following flagship state universities:

There are numerous mandatory fees, not to mention room and board, that push that sort of thing up above 30k for four years.

My point wasn't that Sidwell friends isn't incredibly expensive, just that all education is much more expensive today than I suspect many people realize.
posted by Solon and Thanks at 10:44 AM on December 13, 2008


my first post was unclear, actually. In "a lot more than that" I was speaking about the idea that one could attend a four-year university for 30k total.
posted by Solon and Thanks at 10:48 AM on December 13, 2008


I don't doubt the quality of education at this school is better than the average public school, but fully three times better?

I sort of hope that with the President's children in play here, the security is three times better than the average public school. And then some.
posted by rokusan at 11:08 AM on December 13, 2008


Blair's children are pretty well known in the UK, although the media has a moratorium on most of what they do. Leo, the youngest, is chiefly famous for having been conceived during a Prime Ministerial stay at Balmoral with the Queen - in her autobiography, Cherie Blair said that she didn't pack their normal contraceptives for the trip because of the way the flunkies unpacked everything and arranged it around the bedroom, and she was too embarrassed. The older sons - well, they got up to what teenagers get up to in London, and there was a flurry of press over Euan being found drunk in a gutter and then giving false details to the police.

The daughter, Kathryn, is never mentioned in the press. You'd have to ask a newspaperman why.
posted by Devonian at 11:18 AM on December 13, 2008 [1 favorite]


I was at Georgetown for grad school in the 90s and had a good friend who taught at Sidwell at the time, so I spent a fair amount of time there, picking her up from work, having coffee at the Starbuck's down the street, etc. I saw Chelsea a few times. Each time, it was pretty much no big deal. She would be hustling off to class or standing around talking to her friends, I even saw her doing homework with friends at that Starbuck's once. The Secret Service I'm sure were there, but I would have had a hard time picking them out. It was pretty striking to me that, at least on the surface while at school, she looked like she was having a pretty normal teenage life. For the offspring of the most powerful person in the world, that's pretty remarkable and seems well worth $30,000.

Having volunteered in the DC public schools, I doubt very much they could have this experience there and the cost to the taxpayers would be far greater in security alone. I imagine stepped up security at every door, pat downs of teachers and students, being whisked away in a limo as soon as the bell rings. I just doubt that they would even have a chance to interact with other students and they'd grow up in even more of a vacuum.
posted by Slarty Bartfast at 11:39 AM on December 13, 2008


30k /year for primary school. That's roughly what I paid for my university education, all four years, including housing/tuition/etc.

I wonder how much of that is spent on security and whatnot.

If Presidents' children are educated at this school, I imagine that many other important personages enroll their offspring there as well.
posted by Afroblanco at 12:00 PM on December 13, 2008


There are numerous mandatory fees, not to mention room and board, that push that sort of thing up above 30k for four years.

Those totals include the "numerous mandatory fees," which is pretty clear from the links I provided. I think you are just misinformed about the cost of state university tuition.

As for room and board, that is really apples to oranges. The $28,000 to attend Sidwell does not include room and board either. But even then, at in-state rates, tuition+room+board is cheaper at those universities than the tuition alone at Sidwell.
posted by grouse at 12:18 PM on December 13, 2008


Those totals include the "numerous mandatory fees," which is pretty clear from the links I provided. I think you are just misinformed about the cost of state university tuition.

Well, I attend a state university, and I'll stand by my point that is costs much more than 30k over fours years for the average student to do so.
posted by Solon and Thanks at 12:38 PM on December 13, 2008


As for room and board, that is really apples to oranges.

Also, maybe I wasn't clear about my opinion. I was responding to Lemurrhea's statement about how much he paid for his university education compared to how much Sidwell costs. My point isn't a huge one, just that it'd be better to compare Sidwell to current day education costs. Which are more expensive than many people realize. I know because I, my friends, and my peers are paying those costs.

While Sidwell still seems very expensive, it is in line with rising educational costs.

I'm not trying to argue that one could attend Sidwell for less than it costs to go to a public university.
posted by Solon and Thanks at 12:55 PM on December 13, 2008



The daughter, Kathryn, is never mentioned in the press.


I'm really pleased that the press managed to keep that particular story out of the papers - given the field day (week, month, year) they have over Amy Winehouse and similar troubled young people.
posted by mippy at 3:34 PM on December 13, 2008


So much of success (and happiness) is about having a inaccurate, inflated self-opinion.

Maybe, buy perhaps more importantly, at least as far as financial success, are connections. Private school gives you connections to the world of money and opportunities and the people who run it that public school does not. Sometimes it also gives you a better education as a bonus.
posted by krinklyfig at 5:10 PM on December 13, 2008 [1 favorite]


jb writes "Jean Chretien had an intruder in his house and the guy wasn't shot on sight;"

Even better is the guy was wondering around the house for half an hour before he managed to interact with anyone, Jean weilded a loon in case he should come through his bedroom door, and it took the mounties seven minutes to respond after Aline called 911.

posted by Mitheral at 5:27 PM on December 13, 2008


Why aren't the kids going to a DC public school? I hear the new Superintendent of the DC schools is taking names and kicking ass. The real way to CHANGE things would be for Obama to support someone like her. Perhaps it is because she is "somewhat terrified of what the Democrats are going to do on education." Or is it because "Teachers' unions spent millions of dollars supporting Obama's campaign, and Rhee is battling the Washington Teachers' Union for more power to fire teachers she deems ineffective.

Rhee says it would send a message if Obama takes a side on union negotiations for D.C. schools."
posted by Gungho at 5:46 AM on December 14, 2008


Maybe it's because they're not political footballs and he wants what's best for them.
posted by dirigibleman at 9:41 AM on December 14, 2008 [2 favorites]


So no change there. Well, There's still Hope.
posted by Gungho at 4:59 PM on December 14, 2008


So, John Howard, huh.
posted by goodnewsfortheinsane at 3:46 PM on January 7, 2009


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