Obama girls' school promotes peace, diversity, environmentalism

The choice of Sidwell Friends School for their girls, Malia and Sasha, gives President-elect Barack Obama and his wife Michelle the benefit of a vaguely religious tradition and institution with values that sit well with the contemporary world: peace, diversity and environmentalism, to name the most prominent. The school’s website says, among other things:“Sidwell Friends School is an educational community inspired by the values of the Religious Society of Friends and guided by the Quaker belief in "That of God" in each person.

“Sidwell Friends School is committed as an institution to the ideal of diversity with regard to age, economic background, ethnicity, gender, physical disability, political affiliation, race and sexual orientation in its student body, faculty and staff.

“We cultivate in all members of our community high personal expectations and integrity, respect for consensus, and an understanding of how diversity enriches us, why stewardship of the natural world matters and why service to others enhances life. Above all, we seek to be a school that nurtures a genuine love of learning and teaches students "to let their lives speak." Clubs such as the Upper School diversity club Team 14, Black Student Union, GLSBT (Gay, Lesbian, Straight, Bisexual, transgender Alliance), the Asian Student Alliance, and many others foster dialogue and promote equity.

The Obamas are thought to have chosen the school (actually, two schools, because of the girls’ ages) partly because of Sidwell’s experience in with handling the security and privacy of the children of government leaders. Past pupils include Chelsea Clinton, Amy Carter, Tricia Nixon and Albert Gore III -- all children of presidents of the US. Three granddaughters of Vice President-elect Joe Biden currently attend the school and Malia Obama is said to be a friend of one of them.~ Washington Post, Nov 22



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