Wednesday, September 02, 2009

Pres. Obama to speak to the nation's schoolchildren

You probably have heard by now that Pres. Obama is going to be beamed into all schools K-12 on Sept. 8th for 20 minutes to give a speech on the importance of education.

Someone sent me this a while ago and I didn't think much of it. But it has turned into a controversy, with many parents vowing to keep their kids home from school that day.

I talked about this with Claver on the radio this morning on KCHN. First, this is just another thing to put in the file "what if Bush has done that," and how the left would have gone nuts, but that file is about 2 stories high and will continue to grow the next few years.

I don't think this would bother me at all if it were just Pres. Obama speaking. It's the "kits" that they are sending out to the teachers to go along with it that is bothering me (see "Menu of Classroom Activities" here). The White House has already changed one of the suggestions in the kit:

It said, "Write letters to themselves about what they can do to help the President."

Now it says "Write letters to themselves about how they can achieve their short term and long term education."

Even they realized how the first question was all about the President.

After the speech the teachers can ask:

*What do you think the President wants us to do?

*Does the speech make you want to do anything?

*Are we able to do what President Obama is asking of us?

The problem here, and it would have been a problem with Bush as well, is that students have parents of different political stripes. Students that don't like the President and his policies would probably reflect that in their answers and in their writing. I'm betting for some "creative" answers, especially in jr high and high school. I'm thinking there will be some doozies.

What if their teacher is pro-Obama? Will they feel some resentment toward the kids that obviously don't like our President or make jokes in their answers? Will that affect their grades maybe?

That's the problem with putting politics into our school system.

It's fine for the President to encourage a good education. I have no problem with that, and I'm sure that is all that he will do. I'll be shocked if he tried to slip in some political propaganda. He isn't stupid. But it's the questions afterward that will cause problems. I teach my kids to always show respect. I don't allow them to make jokes about Pres. Obama, even though I disagree with him. But to pose specific questions like the ones above, will surely bring out the smart alec in the kids of conservative parents and others.

I don't think one should keep their kids out of school though. President Obama will not say anything that would offend any of us. The questions are the problem. I can't very well tell my kids not to express their feelings or opinions.

I guess I will hope for the best, but I'm not going to keep my kids from getting their education because Obama has decided that he has to be everywhere all the time.

Update: The left is just appalled that we would be upset at a President speaking directly to our schoolchildren. They seem to remember that the first Pres. Bush spoke to schoolchildren. I guess they forgot to also look up the Democrat's reaction to that:

From Oct. 4th, 1991 Washington Post:

"..Representative William D. Ford, the Michigan Democrat who heads the House Education and Labor Committee, demanded that Education Secretary Lamar Alexander appear before the committee to defend his "spending scarce education dollars to produce a media event." And the House majority leader, Richard A. Gephardt of Missouri, said, "The Department of Education should not be producing paid political advertising for the President."