Fair game for Christie, but not for Obama?

During a call-in TV show Gov. Chris Christie was criticized by a constituent for sending his kids to parochial school while cutting the budget for New Jersey public schools.  His response:  “With all due respect, Gayle, it’s none of your business.  I don’t ask you where you send your kids to school, don’t bother me about where I send mine.”

The media immediately jumped on the straight-talking governor, echoing the charge of hypocrisy (how dare he not send his kids to public school) and denouncing his straight talk as “insensitive.”

On MSNBC, Joe Scarborough asked the Governor, “You‘re in charge of the public schools of New Jersey. Are they not good enough for your kids?” And in an interview with The Today Show, Matt Lauer, asking Christie about his response to Gayle queried, “Why isn’t that a fair question?”

Funny how President Obama got no such “fair” questions by the media when he and Michelle chose the swanky, private Sidwell Friends School (also attended by first daughter Chelsea Clinton) over the public schools (in Texas) attended by the Bush daughters.*

On Jan. 5, 2008, as Sasha and Malia began their first day of school at the $32,000 a year Sidwell Friends School, Matt Lauer and fellow guest psychiatrist Gail Saltz and Vanity Fair’s Maureen Orth pondered the following deep question:  “Do we have a sense of the mothering style of Michelle?”

The truth is, the media fell all over itself reminding the public that it was “none of our business” to question a family decision as personal as school choice.  Apparently choice in school is something the left believes only the wealthy and Democratic politicians are entitled to. Unbelievably, even after President Obama made one of his first acts as president to pass legislation to cut funding for vouchers from low-income minority students attending DC private schools, including vouchers for kids attending their daughters’ new school, only conservative media outlets cried foul. The mainstream media refused to ‘go there.’

Describing the DC public schools these low-income families were hoping to escape, Washington Post education reporter Jay Matthews says, “In terms of achievement rates, drop-out rates, scores, they are really scraping the bottom of the barrel.”  A barrel President Obama has no problem throwing poor minorities back into as  payback for teacher union support during his campaign.  Now tell me, who’s insensitive and who’s the hypocrite.

* CORRECTION: I initially wrote that the Bush daughters attended public schools in Washington, DC. They in fact attended (and graduated from) public schools in Texas before George W. Bush was elected president. On a further note, President Carter’s daughter attended a DC public school. I suspect the DC public schools were not as bad back then. Frankly, I don’t blame the Obama’s or the Clinton’s for not sending their kids to DC public schools. I just wish they would support other parents who want the best for their kids too. Choice and competition make for better schools for EVERYONE.



  • Davide

    Is Governor Chistie Catholic? Anyone’s guess? Thx

  • ulfscha

    Spot on!

  • charles

    I only wish that someone would point out the redundant nature of the caller’s question and Christie would have replied, “actually the schools aren’t good enough for my kids that’s why I pay out of pocket for the investment of my kids private schooling.” There’s nothing wrong with admitting that choices abound for this very reason and competition should bring out the best in choices.

  • Davide

    I can’t stand Matt Lauer he has an extreme leftist bent. He asks some of the most imaginable stupidest questions I have ever witnessed. Couple years ago he asked a grieving mother how she felt after her son was killed in Iraq. He is insensitive.

  • George

    Dear God, I am so glad SOMEONE else besides me has figured this out! Good on you! And good on the governor of New Jersey!

  • Bruce

    It is a violation of distributive justice that Catholic schools are not funded by tax dollars. Here is why: The State considers education important, but will not allow parents to choose which schools are best for their own children. This is unjust, because ultimately it is the parent who should be making that choice, and the State should be at the service of parents. If parents want public education for their child, the State should help them obtain it. If parents want Catholic education for their child, the State should help them obtain it. If not, then the State does not value education, per se, but rather the State values CONTROL over education. There is a fundamental, hypocritical disconnect on the part of the State. Is it here to serve society or to serve itself? In America, the State is only interested in serving itself.

    • Pamela

      Just curious, would you also support your tax dollars going to a school run by the KKK? I don’t. And I believe there are numerous school voucher laws in a number of states that do allow the vouchers to be used for catholic schools. In fact, the Supreme Court just upheld one such law last week. Maybe you are just not very well informed.

      • Bruce

        Pamela asked, “Would I also support my tax dollars going to a school run by the KKK?” My answer: Well, would the KKK be interested in the total formation of students in accordance with the truth so as to make good citizens of this world and the next? If not, then the State would not have any interest in funding such institutions. Catholic schools, in contrast, fulfill that mission, which is of tremendous benefit to the State. In fact, the schools more often than not produce far better citizens than the nation’s public schools. I’m not sure the KKK schools you speak of do the same.

    • Gordon

      So you want the private schools to be funded with public dollars via individual children, yet not be beholden to any restrictions, control, or oversight? Basically just free money? It’s amazing how everyone on this site is anti-government and pro-free market in all things, right up to the point where the government won’t subsidize faith-based items. All of a sudden, it’s the government’s responsibility to pay up! “The State should help them obtain [Catholic education].” This, after the state should NOT be involved in funding just about anything else, apparently including PUBLIC education? Good grief.

      • Bruce

        Gordon, explain how it is fair to require all citizens to pay for education, but not choose which schools best serve their needs?

      • Joe M

        Gordon. How is it not consistent with free market principles to want parents to decide what education is best for their children instead of the government?

      • Quanah

        Gordon, Catholic schools greatly contribute to our nation in all its facets. They also typically rank higher than public schools. If they already give so much to our nation then shouldn’t the government give them some financial support?

      • Rod

        Gordon, if this was truly a free market, we wouldn’t have public schools funded by our tax dollars. But since the government had to stick their noses into it, all I’m saying is that I should be able to determine what school gets my money. You want a free market? Go for it. Let’s do that. Let me stop paying for these failing schools so I can give it to where it’s doing the most good. You up for that?

    • Lucy

      Bruce, using public funds to support religious based schools is against the principles of separation of church and state that our country was based upon. Our founding fathers were aware of what happens when any church has power to control a government. It’s one of the main reasons the United States exists as it does.

      • Curious

        Lucy, please educate yourself instead of spewing what is fed to you. Actually read the papers written by our founding fathers, not what progressives teach in schools across the country today and have taught for a while now. The separation of church and state was set up to keep the government from dictating or forcing citizens of the USA to be a particular religion, a national religion. They had just broken from that and wanted to assure that the USA did NOT fall into having to practice a “state” religion. Separation of church and state is to protect religion from the government, not to keep religion out of our government. Our country was set up as a Judea/Christian nation. Our founding fathers all included God in setting up our country. Walk through the Capital, or ANY of the government buildings. God is written all throughout the buildings. Read writings of George Washington, our first President, and see how important God in our government was to him, and he is just one of the MANY that wanted God to be a part of our government. And…. by the way, our founding fathers all thanked God often for the blessings He bestowed on the USA. They began meetings and government sessions with prayer!!!!!! Including God, not separating God from our government was important to our founding fathers. Thomas Jefferson speaks of a wall. Actually read what he wrote. You can find the actual writing and not the progressive translations. In fact, in the very first university (public university) he set up, a student had to take religion courses. The university could not mandate which religion, but religion courses were a must. This is how important our founding fathers believed God was suppose to be a part of education. Please, don’t believe me. Look it up and READ it for yourself. PLEASE educate yourself instead of falsely following propaganda. God Bless

        • Lucy

          Curious, a couple of points: Believing in God is personal and has nothing to do with religion no matter what your personal beliefs.
          You state: “The separation of church and state was set up to keep the government from dictating or forcing citizens of the USA to be a particular religion, a national religion.” If and when this occurs, the government is no longer separated from the “church.” Rather, it becomes the “church.” This, as you correctly point out, is what caused our founding fathers to set up our government as they did. We are in agreement.
          Why Thomas Jefferson created a University: “Virginia was already home to one university, the College of William & Mary, but Jefferson lost confidence in his alma mater, partly because of its religious biases and lack of education in the sciences.” It was public funded from day one.

          • Curious

            Lucy, Here is a little instruction from the actual writings of Jefferson and those that surrounded the beginnings of University of Virginia. This lesson is quite different than the one you found on the “progressive” site of Wikipedia. What you read is from current academics that peer-review among professors that heavily read, quote, and cite each other rather than actual historical documents. Beginning with one quote from the official Centennial of the University of Virginia in 1921, “Thomas Jefferson…aimed no blow at any religious influence that might be fostered by it. The blow was at sectarianism only.” Jefferson’s plan for the university did not exclude religion, but his plan did want to stay clear of the three distinctive features characterized most universities founded in America prior to the University of Virginia. Those universities commonly: (1) were founded and controlled by one particular denomination, (2) housed a theological seminary for that denomination, and (3) had a minister from that denomination serving as president of the university. Jefferson and his Board of Visitors (i.e., Regents) founded the University of Virginia as a school not affiliated with only one denomination; it was specifically founded as a trans-denominational school. Jefferson followed a nationally set forth plan of a trans-denominational approach made by evangelical Presbyterian clergyman, Samuel Knox of Baltimore. Knox was also Jefferson’s first faculty member at the University of Virginia. Knox’s plan proposed a state university that would not have just one specific theological school but rather would invite many denominations to establish schools at the university; the various denominations would therefore all work together in mutual cooperation rather than in competition. Jefferson and his board decided against a single denominational seminary but rather the seminaries of many denominations. With that, they decided against having a clergyman as university president and no specified Professor of Divinity because they didn’t want the public to think the university was one denomination. As Jefferson explained: “In conformity with the principles of our constitution which places all sects [denominations] of religion on an equal footing – with the jealousies of the different sects in guarding that equality from encroachment and surprise, and with the sentiments of the legislature in favor of freedom of religion manifested on former occasions [as in the Virginia Statute for Religious Freedom] – we have proposed no Professor of Divinity.” But, just because the school did not have a Professor of Divinity did not mean that religious instruction would not take place. Jefferson made sure that religious instruction would happen and he directed that teaching in other areas. As Jefferson wrote while setting up the university, “the proofs of the being of a God – the Creator, Preserver, and Supreme Ruler of the Universe – the Author of all the relations of morality and of the laws and obligations these infer – will be within the province of the Professor of Ethics.” He made sure that teaching religion to students would definitely happen on this university. He did not place it within the traditional setting, but he did place it under professors. He wanted it clearly understood that not having a Professor of Divinity definitely did not mean that the University would be secular when he stated, “It was not, however, to be understood that instruction in religious opinions and duties was meant to be precluded by the public authorities as indifferent to the interests of society. On the contrary, the relations which exist between man and his Maker – and the duties resulting from those relations – are the most interesting and important to every human being and the most incumbent on his study and investigation.” Jefferson made it clear that religious instruction at the university would include many Christian denominations when he wrote, “provision…was made for giving instruction in…the earliest and most respected authorities of the faith of every sect [denomination] and for courses of ethical lectures developing those moral obligations in which all sects agree.” Adding to this he wrote, “such establishments would offer the further and great advantage of enabling the students of the University to attend religious exercises with the Professor of their particular sect.” Jefferson made clear that students would be expected to participate in the various Christian denominational schools. Jefferson’s first ten teaching positions were all held by prominent Christian leaders, not one of the professors was Unitarian. It was in 1818 Jefferson announced to the public his plan for the trans-denominational and that religious instruction would be provided to students by the Professor of Ethics. Jefferson also ensured religious instruction by directing the Professor of Ancient Languages to teach Biblical Greek, Hebrew, and Latin to students so that they would be equipped to read and study the “earliest and most respected authorities of the Christian Faith.” Jefferson also wanted Christian writings in the library. He asked James Madison to prepare a list, and in 1824, Madison gave his list including works by the Alexandrian Fathers, St. Augustine, St. Aquinas, and many other Christian writers. Jefferson also stated that he had personally arranged the curriculum so that religious study would also be an inseparable part of the study of law and political science. In the early planning stages of the University, Jefferson stipulated “that a building…in the middle of the grounds may be called for in time in which may be rooms for religious worship”. Later he specifically had orders for University Rotunda, “one of its large elliptical rooms on its middle floor shall be used for…religious worship” and that “the students of the University will be free and expected to attend.” The university did not have chaplains for the first three years because it was establishing its reputation as a non-denominational university, but clergymen representing each seminary were on campus and available to minister to students. In 1829, the non-denominational direction of the University had been established, so President Madison (who became Rector of the University after Jefferson’s death in 1826) announced “that [permanent] provision for religious instruction and observance among the students would be made by…services of clergymen.” In 1829, Presbyterian clergyman Rev. Edward Smith became the first chaplain – an official university position, but unpaid. In 1833 after three-fourths of the students pledged their own money for the chaplain’s support, Methodist William Hammett became the first paid chaplain, leading Sunday worship and daily morning prayer meetings in the Rotunda. In 1896 after the trans-denominational reputation of the school was fully established, a Bible lectureship was established by the University; by 1909, it had become a full Professorship of Divinity. So Lucy, there are many more writings of our founding fathers that DO NOT separate religion from education. Jefferson is just one example, and his example was to combine Christian denominations. I could provide you with much more, but I plead with you to do it for yourself and read it for yourself. Go to the actual writings of our founding fathers, not to the “progressive” instructors that put out misguiding quotes of each other to serve their own purposes. Good luck and God Bless

            P.S. I have never found any of Jefferson’s writings that say he lost confidence in his own alma mater. Just because he desired a different plan for the university he was setting up, did not mean he lost confidence in the place he was educated. In fact, the only original writings that I read, he praised his alma mater and said he enjoyed the school.

      • Bruce

        Founding fathers like Jefferson, who gave public funds to found Catholic churches? Hmm…I’m not so sure you want to go that road. Also, our founding fathers wanted the public schools to be Protestant in nature, with required Bible classes for Catholics and non-believers alike. But I digress. The fact is that if you, and other liberals, are really about “equality” and “justice” then how do you explain the fact that parents pay for education but are not allowed to choose which schools work best for their children? Where is the justice and freedom there? Why does the government support one faith with our tax dollars – which is secular humanism – over other faiths, and how is that not a violation of “Church and state” separation that you declare infallible? The fact is that the government violates the rights of parents to decide what education is best for their children, and then takes their money to support only education which it feels is best. That is not freedom, nor is it justice. How do you explain that, Lucy?

        • Gordon

          Alright, so as much as it breaches the church/state barrier and actually moves from away from capitalism, let’s go ahead and give public government money to privately run religious schools. It’s what the founding fathers apparently wanted, after all. But let’s not go halfway here. The founding fathers wanted the public schools to be Protestant in nature, as you stated. Let’s make sure that every public school has a Protestant affiliation, be it Episcopalian, Lutheran, Methodist, or what have you. Instead of indoctrinating children with “atheist secular humanist” faith, we can indoctrinate them with a Christian one that has outright rejected the Catholic church’s claim to theistic truth. A fully-funded, public rejection of the Catholic Church’s authority by a subsidiary of the federal government – just as the founding fathers intended.

          • Bruce

            Like most progressives, Gordon, you are short on history and long on rhetoric. The push to “Americanize” all schools (including Catholic schools) during the late 19th century included forcing students to use and learn the King James Bible. The 1912 Blaine Amendment gave the government the power to control curricula in private schools, with the intention of making it Protestant. This, as stated before, when along with the Protestant/Enlightenment ideals of the founding fathers. It was also a gross violation of freedom and distributive justice. After the Church fought back, with the Lutherans joining them, the State backed down. But instead of continuing to provide funds for private schools, which it had done so in a just manner, it pulled all funding except for its own schools, but still made everyone pay for them. And that is where we are now. So Gordon, instead of avoiding the question this time, how about you answer it: How it is fair to require all citizens to pay for education, but not choose which schools best serve their needs?



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