November 22, 2008 in Nation/World

Obama girls will attend private school in D.C. area

Sidwell Friends has taught many politicians’ children
By Richard Leiby Washington Post
File Associated Press photo

President-elect Barack Obama lifts his daughter Sasha out of his vehicle as daughter Malia looks on as he drops them off at school in Chicago earlier this month.
(Full-size photo)

WASHINGTON – Continuing a tradition among Washington’s power elite, President-elect Barack Obama and his wife have decided to send their kids to Sidwell Friends School. Michelle Obama confirmed Friday that Malia and Sasha, the incoming first daughters, will enroll at the pricey private school when the family moves into the White House in January.

Although Michelle Obama has said that public schools were under consideration and consulted with District of Columbia school officials, the decision narrowed this week after she and the girls visited Sidwell and the private Georgetown Day School. Malia, 10, and Sasha, 7, visited classes and met with students while their mother talked with administration officials and parents.

At Sidwell, the Obama girls will be following in the footsteps of Chelsea Clinton, who attended and graduated from the Quaker school during the eight years her father, Bill Clinton, was president. The last presidential child to attend Washington public schools in modern times was Amy Carter.

“A number of great schools were considered,” Katie McCormick Lelyveld, Michelle Obama’s spokeswoman, said in a statement Friday. “In the end, the Obamas selected the school that was the best fit for what their daughters need right now.”

Lelyveld declined to elaborate on the reasons, but it is believed that Sidwell’s experience with handling the security and privacy of the children of government leaders played a role. President Richard Nixon’s daughter Tricia went to Sidwell. Vice President Al Gore’s son, Albert Gore III, graduated from Sidwell. Three granddaughters of Vice President-elect Joe Biden currently attend the school.

Malia had told her parents she wanted to attend Sidwell because of her friendship with one of the Biden grandchildren, according to sources familiar with the decision.

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