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Bully Pulpit

The term "bully pulpit" stems from President Theodore Roosevelt's reference to the White House as a "bully pulpit," meaning a terrific platform from which to persuasively advocate an agenda. Roosevelt often used the word "bully" as an adjective meaning superb/wonderful. The Bully Pulpit features news, reasoned discourse, opinion and some humor.

Thursday, July 31, 2008

What Influences Barack Obama’s View of the Cost of Private Schools?

(By Jim Geraghty/National Review Online) - The WSJ touched on this, but it's worth a closer look: Barack Obama on school choice:

[John McCain’s] only proposal seems to be recycling tired rhetoric about vouchers and school choice… 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.
At one point during the campaign, Obama made comments that seemed to suggest an openness to vouchers, but later his campaign insisted he has opposed them throughout his career because they “siphon off resources from our public schools.”

I guess vouchers might seem pointless if you saw private school tuition as jaw-droppingly expensive, and thought that the government would have to subsidize each student tens of thousands of dollars in tuition vouchers.

Where would one get that idea? Well, Obama’s daughters attend the University of Chicago Laboratory School, a private school. Malia is 10, and presumably just finished the fourth grade. Sasha is 7 and presumably just finished the first grade.

Standard full 2007-2008 tuition for grades one through four: $18,492.

For a fifth grader, it moves up to $20,286. If last year's rates apply to this fall, full tuition for both students for the coming year will be $38,778.

Because Barack Obama used to teach there, or because Michelle Obama is an employee of the University of Chicago’s hospital system, the Obamas most likely qualify for a staff discount.

Like I said, I guess vouchers might seem pointless if you saw private school tuition as jaw-droppingly expensive. These numbers from the Department of Education’s National Center for Education Statistics for the 2003-2004 school year put average tuition paid by private elementary school students at $5,049, about a quarter that of University of Chicago Laboratory School's tuition for this year.


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