Mommie Dearest: Shouldn’t they be in school?

So here we have an adorable picture or little Piper Palin. I have to admit, the kid is really cute. But shouldn’t someone be asking why these kids aren’t in school? (Except for the pregnant one, who presumably is “taking some time off” and will return for her GED). But here’s the AP caption for this photo:

Piper Palin leans into her mother Republican vice presidential running mate, Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin, as Republican presidential candidate Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz., speaks at a rally at Green Memorial Stadium in Green, Ohio, Wednesday, Oct. 22, 2008.

It’s been a while since I was in elementary school, but uh, isn’t Wednesday a school day? And it’s not just Piper, either. The middle girl, Willow, has also been babysitting for stumping with mom rather than attending school. And the AP caption for this one reads:

Republican vice presidential candidate, Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin, left with daughters Piper, right, and Willow, holding son Trig, arrive at a rally in Henderson, Nev., Tuesday, Oct. 21, 2008.

Again, school day, no?

I suppose an argument could be made that this is a once-in-a-lifetime experience, and worthy of missed time in school. But we’re not talking about an extra few days of vacation here. These kids don’t seem to have been in school at all since the beginning of the school year.

What does that say about how much Palin values education?

I’m losing track now whether I’m elitist, socialist, liberal, feminist, or what. But I think it’s wrong to be dragging those kids around the country to hold the baby and wave to the cameras.

It’s just wrong.

(And by the way I did the same search for news photos of Malia and Sasha Obama and have come up with nothing. )

I was a middle school special education teacher, and I worked with some pretty dysfunctional families. When a parent kept their child out of school for their own personal reasons, say, so that they would have company when they went to play Bingo,  (oh yes they did), or — as Governor Palin seems to be doing — to babysit, we called social services.


  1. You’re so right. And I’m not surprised Obama’s daughters are not appearing in your searches – I’m sure their parents are trying to keep their lives as normal as possible during this tumultuous time.

    I wonder if Sarah will say she is “home schooling” them on the road?

  2. I’ve been wondering this, too. I guess they might be homeschooled or tutored, but dang, that’s grueling. Don’t they miss their friends?

  3. Why is it that I know that the Palin daughters are attending school and taking work with them on the road, and the author of this post doesn’t?

    Could it be that I bothered to do a few minutes of research before spouting off on the subject?

  4. Gina,
    Where were you lucky enough to find this information? I looked also and I did not find out that the Palin children were attending school and taking work on the road.

    DCup – about the children missing their friends… If, as I read, their parents buy them things like Vitton handbags, I assume the children are Crackberry addicts just like their mom (she runs 2 at a time, but I guess hockey-moms do that sort of thing) and can keep in touch with friends on their Crackberries.

  5. Home schooling? Private tutor traveling with them? Who knows.

    All I know is when we wanted to take the kids out of school for a family vacation the teacher’s head almost split open! Then she just killed them with homework assignments that made us ALL stay inside on vacation until it was finished!

  6. Just to be clear: I have NOTHING against home schooling. In fact, some of my best friends home school their children. And if these kids have a private tutor, great. (Of course, it makes one wonder who’s footing the bill, given the recent expense reports on clothing and traveling that various Alaska taxpayers and average Republican donors are stuck with.)

    Bottom line: The McCain-Palin ticket seems to be spiraling out of control, and it looks like they’re taking these kids down with them. That’s the only reason I wrote about it.

  7. doesn’t she ever get tired of pimping her kids?

    as for the pregnant one, I read that her future husband (the self-described redneck who loves shootin’ stuff) has now dropped out of high school to work the oil fields.

    I guess that shows the high expectations the mother has for her own daughter.

  8. I heard Palin say in an interview the other day that the kids attend school while staying with their grandparents in Alaska, and when they go back out on the road with their parents, they’re given work to take with them.

    I’ll grant you that audio interviews are hard to Google. But if the issue matters so much to you, why wouldn’t you take the time and trouble to get to the bottom of the matter? And if you couldn’t find the information, you could have phrased what you wrote more carefully, to make it clear that you didn’t have the facts.

    I’m a journalist, so I know this: Facts matter. Accuracy matters. If you hate a candidate and the way she raises her family, fine, that’s your right. But with all due respect, no writer does herself any favors by writing without researching. The “teaching creationism” myth at least should have been easy to debunk.

    One more thing: Candidates — and traveling adults in general — have to make tough choices. My family had to move frequently for my dad’s job, and I hated it. I hated it worse than anything in the world, in fact. But there was no way I would have wanted to be left in one place without my parents, even for a short time. Just the two weeks my dad was gone on TDY when I was six or seven seemed like an eternity.

    If the Palins want to be together and can work that out so that they can do that often, as well as having the kids keep up with their studies, then more power to them. I remember Obama saying not long ago how hard it was to be separated from his daughters for so long, and I’m sure it’s hard on the whole family. They prioritized stability for their kids; the Palins prioritized family time for theirs. Each family has to do what seems best to them. And families have successfully raised children both ways.

    But I can tell you this much. As much as I hated moving and traveling, if given the option between these two family situations, I’d still rather be a Palin kid. Time with my parents was more precious to me than stability.

  9. Oh, and by the way, “self-described redneck” has been debunked as well. Levi Johnston’s friends put that MySpace up without his cooperation, as was reported by more than one source, including Johnston himself. It’s really not that hard to find this information, if you just try.

  10. I heard Palin say in an interview the other day …

    Um, with all due respect, Gina, you want to lecture me on doing research … and that’s your source?

    It’s true, I’m no journalist. But as a blogger, I do always try to research topics that I write critically about, and this was no different. After posting this item earlier today I’ve continued to try to find evidence that these children are being home-schooled, tutored, or even — as you claim — that they are doing homework while “on the road.” I’ve found nothing.

    It’s true, I have no love for Sarah Palin. However, I wrote about this topic because I think it shows poor judgment in putting her own desires above the needs of her children. Being out of school is not good for children, and if what you say is true:

    the kids attend school while staying with their grandparents in Alaska, and when they go back out on the road with their parents, they’re given work to take with them.

    that is the worst of all possible scenarios. I speak as a former teacher, and on this point I know whereof I speak. Students cannot just drop in and out of classrooms. It’s incredibly disruptive to everyone — the Palins AND their classmates.

    You write that if I disagree withthe way she raises her family, fine, that’s your right. That’s the bottom line. I’m not going to get into a debate about exactly how much research I did on this issue. I did research it. Found nothing. I disagree with what she’s doing to these girls. That’s it.

  11. well it is pretty hard to be touting the family values thing without parading a family around, i guess!

  12. When the Edwards were on the road with their kids they made a point of letting people know they had a tutor traveling with them. If Palin valued education at all, it wouldn’t be real hard for her to do the same. After all, if the RNC can afford $22K/month for a stylist it seems like somewhere in the budget they’d have money for a tutor, too. Designer clothes? Yes. Perfect hair and make-up? Yes. Education for the kids? Nope, not important.

  13. I know why the kids travel WITH her….

    “In fairness to Governor Palin,
    when she leaves them home alone, they get pregnant.”
    — Seth Meyers, SNL

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