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Out of my economic stratosphere

November 25, 2008 - Diane Speer
Okay, I don’t usually tackle politics in this blog or in any of the stories that I write for The Alpena News, but I read a short item in today’s Detroit Free Press that aggravated me. At this point, I figured my best recourse is to write about it even if it crosses into normally untread upon territory for me.

According to this story, President-elect Barack Obama and his wife have settled on a new school in Washington, D.C., where they will be sending their children, ages 10 and 7. The school features small classrooms, strong academics and community involvement - all good things. But the school also carries a $30,000 a year annual price tag per child.

Now I know many, many people embraced Obama for president, including some of the more down-trodden segments of society. But I really don’t feel like I can personally relate to a family that is able to spend $60,000 a year on tuition for their pre-teens. Nor do I feel like Obama can really understand what it is like for “normal” families who are trying - not to send their kids to pricey private elementary schools - but merely to public schools in hopes of maybe one day getting them into college. All the while, most of these parents know that should college be in their child’s future, then they probably will be saddled with a huge student loan debt upon graduation and furthermore, the likelihood of them securing a good paying job grows slimmer and slimmer with each passing day.

I do realize that as president of the United States it is not a safe or likely senario to send your children to a public school. Still, I am taking a wait and see attitude with this new presidency. If Obama really can make a difference and get our nation out of the economic quagmire we find ourselves in, then I say more power to him. National media - followed by the general public - made a big deal out of how much money the McCains pull in per year, how U.S. Sen. John McCain didn’t know how many houses he owned and how large his wife, Cindy’s, credit card bills amounted to, making him out of touch with Americans. There was a barely a blip on the radar screen about the Obama family earning several million a year themselves. The fact that Obama and his wife can enroll their daughters in a school that charges $30,000-a year per child certainly puts them way out of my economic stratosphere. Heck, $60,000 is quite a bit more than a majority of people in our country earn in any given year - if they even have a job. So for now, I will remain on the sidelines and watch to see whether this new president of ours can really make a difference in the everyday lives of those of us who are not nearly as fortunate as he is.


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