Ice cleared from outside Obama daughters’ school, but not from public school across the street

Sidwell Friends School, the education home to President Obama’s daughters Sasha and Malia, made an exceptional effort to salt the icy sidewalks on campus Tuesday morning.

Exceptional, because some D.C. public schools failed to receive the same treatment, leaving treacherous pathways glazed over with hazardous ice.

D.C.-area journalist Daniel Wattenberg, whose own daughter attends the public school just across the street from the First Daughters, writes about this experience on TBD.com:

“I don’t know who cleared the Sidwell side, but I know somebody over there understood whose responsibility it was. As far as I can tell, it’s that accountability that was missing on our side of the street, where lines of authority were as uncertain as the footing. I asked the school’s principal who to call about the ice. ‘Parks and Rec,’ he offered without hesitation.”

Wattenberg goes on to suggest that while D.C. public schools and Parks and Rec both neglected to clear the sidewalk skating lane, parents too might shoulder the blame for not stepping out of the car and doing their part to chip away at Broken-Bone Lane.

The lack of clarity over who should have done the deed is what leads Wattenberg to this philosophical conclusion:

“The Hearst ice illustrates anew an old problem with socializing responsibility: When everybody’s responsible, nobody’s responsible.”

  • diamndgirl

    $$$ talks…others slip and slide away ~

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  • oeno

    Not really that philosophical.

    The principal sounds like someone who’s given up entirely.

    Call Parks and Rec? Yeah. It’s their responsibility, but the kids are your responsibility.

    Get in your car and go buy some damned salt and do it as a public servant.

    • didacticrogue

      To be honest, this is exactly the kind of thing that I have done multiple times as a parent.

      My experience in dealing with bureaucracy has taught me that if something needs doing, your best response is to just go ahead and do it yourself.

  • didacticrogue

    A classic example of “public service” accountability. Wattenberg states it quite succinctly: “When everybody’s responsible, nobody’s responsible.”

  • kevbo4170

    Private vs. Public = Private will always win!!

    • oeno

      Not exactly. I’m ticked that my recycling didn’t get picked up this week because of a weird clause in the contract about temperature and inclement weather, but I’m glad to have it. It used to cost me more to drive to the stupid bins and separate all the crap according to brown, green, etc. glass (knowing full well that it was all going to the same place). The city contracted with the recyclers and just added it to trash pick-up. That’s a win-win.

      Smart government sounds like an oxymoron, until you work for a corporation. Then you realize that the larger the operation the more inefficient it will inevitably be in the long run.

      • didacticrogue

        … the larger the operation the more inefficient it will inevitably be in the long run.

        Except, of course, for government, the efficiency of which increases along with its size and scope – just ask any “progressive.”