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Politics and civics

Where do the children of U.S. presidents attend school?

Will Donald Trump bring his 10-year-old son Barron to Washington, D.C., as all presidents with school-aged children have done since Teddy Roosevelt?

The NY Post1 announced Sunday that President-elect Trump’s 10 year old son Barron “will not be moving to the White House” in January. Instead, he and Melania will remain in New York City so that Barron can continue attending Columbia Grammar and Preparatory School, a private school on the Upper West Side.

The decision to remain in their Midtown home will increase the security presence around Trump Tower — an effort that will involve both Secret Service and the NYPD, an expert familiar with high-level security told The Post.

Such a decision is a break with precedent, both current and historical. Trump confirmed that Barron and Melania would stay in New York until “he’s finished with school.”

Only Democrats (Kennedy, Carter, Clinton and Obama) have brought young children into the White House since Teddy Roosevelt left the White House in 1909. Electing 70-year-old man who has a 10-year-old son is also outside the norm.

In January 2009, Sasha, 7, and Malia, 10, Obama resumed post-holiday classes at Sidwell Friends—a private Quaker school with a long list of alumni from political families. Michelle Obama and the girls flew in from Chicago over the weekend before school started on January 5.

Sasha was the youngest child to reside in the White House since Caroline Kennedy and John F. Kennedy, Jr. Who are the children who have moved to 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue? Let’s start with Teddy Roosevelt, the first president of the last century.

Presidents with children in the White House

Teddy Roosevelt (1901–1909)

Quentin, born in 1897, was the youngest of five children in the union of Teddy Roosevelt (42 when he ascended to the presidency on William McKinley’s death) and his second wife, Kermit Carow. Their other children: Theodore “Ted” III born in 1887; Kermit born in 1889; Ethel born in 1891; and Archibald born in 1894. His first child, Alice, was born in 1884.

John F. Kennedy (1961–1963)

JFK was 43 when he was elected president. He and his wife Jacqueline Bouvier had two children: Caroline Bouvier born in 1957 and JFK, Jr. (“John-John”) born in 1960.

Caroline went to first grade in the White House. Her mother made a classroom on the third floor of the house. Ten of Caroline’s friends went to school with her. No school bus came to the White House. Parents drove their kids to the White House in their cars.

Lyndon B. Johnson (1963–1969)

Age 55 when he ascended to the presidency. He and his wife Lady Bird had two daughters. The youngest, Luci, was 16 in 1963 and attended National Cathedral School.

Jimmy Carter (1977–1981)

Carter was 52 when he was elected president. He and his wife Rosalyn had four children. The youngest, Amy, was in the third grade in 1977. The Carters enrolled her in the oldest public school in DC; it was predominantly black.

In his speech accepting the Democratic Presidential nomination, Mr. Carter was critical of “exclusive private schools” that allow the children of the “political and economic elite” to avoid public schools that are considered dangerous or inferior.

Amy would remain in public schools throughout Carter’s four year term. After Stevens Elementary, she attended Hardy Middle, also a predominantly black school.

Bill Clinton (1993–2001)

Clinton was 46 when he was elected president. He and his wife Hillary had one daughter, Chelsea, who was 12 in January 1993. The Clintons chose to enroll Chelsea in the same school that the Obamas would later choose: Sidwell Friends:

Ignoring the city’s public schools is a well-established tradition among political leaders in Washington, both Democrats and Republicans. Currently, Vice President Dan Quayle, Vice President-elect Al Gore and Education Secretary Lamar Alexander, among others, have children enrolled in local private schools.

A Quaker school founded in 1883, Sidwell has a tradition of concern for social issues, as well as racial, religious and social diversity.

Barack Obama (2009–2017)

Obama was 47 when he was elected president. He and his wife Michelle had two daughters, Malia born in 1998 and Sasha born in 2001. Both attended Sidwell Friends.

Presidents without children in the White House

William Howard Taft (1909–1913)

Age 51 when elected to the presidency. He and Helen had three children; the youngest was 18 in 1909.

Woodrow Wilson (1913–1921)

Age 56 when elected to the presidency. He and Ellen had three children; the youngest was 24 in 1913.

Warren G. Harding (1911–1923)

Age 55 when elected to the presidency. He had a stepson who was 21 in 1911 and an illegitimate daughter born while he was president.

Calvin Coolidge (1923–1929)

Age 51 when he ascended to the presidency. He and Grace Anna Goodhue had two sons: John was 17 in 1923. Calvin, Jr. died in 1924 at at 16.

Herbert Hoover (1929–1933)

Age 54 when elected to the presidency. He and Lou had two children; the youngest was 22 in 1929.

Franklin D. Roosevelt (1933–1945)

FDR was 51 when he was elected president. He and his wife Eleanor had six children: the youngest, John Aspinwall, turned 17 shortly after FDR was inaugurated.

Harry S. Truman (1945–1953)

Age 60 when he ascended to the presidency. He and his wife Bess had one daughter, Margaret, who was 21 in 1945.

Dwight David Eisenhower (1953–1961)

Age 62 when he was elected president. He and his wife Mamie had two sons. The youngest was 21 in 1953.

Richard M. Nixon (1969–1974)

Age 55 when he was elected president. He and his wife Pat had two daughters. The youngest was 21 in 1969.

Gerald Ford (1974–1977)

Age 61 when he ascended to the presidency. He and his wife Betty had four children. The youngest was 17 in 1974.

Ronald Reagan (1981–1989)

Age 69 when he was elected president. He had four children, one with his second wife Nancy. The youngest was 29 in 1981.

George H.W. Bush (1989–1993)

Age 64 when he was elected president.. He and Barbara had six children. The youngest was 30 in 1989.

 

 

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[1] The New York Post is owned by Rupert Murdoch and News Corp. The tabloid ranks seventh in circulation among U.S. newspapers.
Featured image: Flickr CC

 

 

By Kathy E. Gill

Digital evangelist, speaker, writer, educator. Transplanted Southerner; teach newbies to ride motorcycles! @kegill

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