Can we talk?
I need to mull something over with you.
Did you see this headline today?
"PRESIDENT OBAMA DELIVERS NATIONAL ADDRESS TO AMERICA’S SCHOOLCHILDREN "
Seems harmless enough, right?
On September 8, President Obama is planning something unprecedented for a sitting President. He will directly address the nation's school children.
In a letter from Secretary of Education Arne Duncan, he states "The U.S. Department of Education encourages students of all ages, teachers, and administrators to participate in this historic moment by watching the president deliver the address, which will be broadcast live on the White House Web site (http://www.whitehouse.gov/live/) and on C-SPAN at 12:00 p.m., ET. We also encourage educators to use this moment to help students get focused and inspired to begin the new academic year. The Department of Education offers educators a menu of classroom activities—created by its teachers-in-residence, the Teaching Ambassador Fellows—to help engage students in the address and stimulate classroom discussions about the importance of education." [emphasis added]
Tommy Vietor, a White House spokesman, told FOXNews.com, "This isn't a policy speech. This is a speech designed to encourage kids to stay in school." I actually believe him. I don't think Obama has to actually state any policies or his agenda. In fact, he's very gifted in speaking in generalities while still inspiring unthinking people to blindly follow his lead.
While the stated purpose of the speech seems innocuous enough, the Orwellian"menu of classroom activities" that have been provided for teachers' use before and after the speech contains some rather leading questions. Well, I have some questions for the Department of Education: Will children feel forced to say that they support the President? Will they feel peer pressure to conform to their thoughts to the opinions of those around them? Will some teachers use this as an opportunity to proselytize for the Left? Just who are these "Teachering Ambassador Fellows" who wrote the lesson plans?
Some education experts are troubled by "a suggested lesson plan that calls on school kids to write letters to themselves about what they can do to help President Obama" because it establishes the president as a "superintendent in chief" and "may indoctrinate children to support him politically. " I'm troubled by the fact that my tax dollars may be funding the indoctrination of America's children in a political ideology that I vehemently disagree with.
I don't have a problem with the President using his bully pulpit to encourage kids to study hard and stay in school. Unfortunately, in today's polarized political climate, and knowing what I know of Barak Obama, I suspect he has ulterior motives.
I'm not worried about my own children. We talk frequently about these things and they know what our families' values and beliefs are. I worry about them being ridiculed for their beliefs. (It's happened before--a story for another day.) I worry about the other children whose parents haven't taken the time to discuss these things with them perhaps because they haven't taken the time to educate themselves on the issues. Children are so impressionable and I am extremely uncomfortable with one-sided political discussions in the classroom.
I'm not planning to pull my kids out of school that day as some parents plan to do. I plan to sit down with them before they go and prepare them for what they might hear and the pressures they might face. I will encourage them to stand strong for what they know and believe to be true. I will instruct them to be respectful of others' opinions but I will make sure they understand that it's ok for them to expect to receive that same respect from others.
I also plan to contact my children's schools to find out if they plan to participate. If they do plan to show the speech, I will write letters to the school board members and school administrators to let them know how uncomfortable I am with this situation.
These are just my initial thoughts. I'll keep you posted on my progress. Thanks for listening!