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Obama: D.C. Public Schools Are "Struggling"

Monday, Sep 27, 2010  |  Updated 8:23 PM EDT
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The president said his daughters could not get a better education in a public school than the private schools they currently attend.

The president said his daughters could not get a better education in a public school than the private schools they currently attend.

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President Barack Obama said Monday morning during a live interview on NBC that his daughters couldn't get the same quality education at a District public school that they currently get at their private school.

Obama says the schools in the District of Columbia are "struggling," though he said there have been some important steps made in the direction of reform.

The president's daughters, Malia and Sasha, attend the Sidwell Friends School, an elite private school. Public schools in Washington have faced criticism for their low test scores and high graduation rates.

The president took a question from Florida resident Kelly Burnett:

"I wanted to know if Malia and Sasha would get the same high-quality, rigorous education in a D.C. public school as compared to the very elite private academy they're attending now?"

"I'll be blunt with you. The answer is 'no' right now," Obama said. "The D.C. Public School systems are struggling. They have made some important strides over the past several years to move in the direction of reform. There are some terrific individual schools in the D.C. system. ...

"I'll be very honest with you. Given my position, if I wanted to find a great public school for them to be in, we could probably maneuver to do it. The broader problem is that for a mom or dad who are working hard and who don't have a bunch of connections, don't have a lot of choice in where they live, they should be getting the same quality education for their kids as anybody else."


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