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Friday, September 4, 2009

The One Where I Refer To Politics

I can't believe I'm writing this. Here's goes. My mother was a school teacher, highly skilled educator and still does contracting work. In spite of all that, I've come to hate the NEA and the liberal agenda that they hold onto. (Fire away...) I think the NEA and politicians are the main reason people are walking away from the public school system in droves. At least they are in our part of the woods. Homeschool abounds here although we still love our public school.

I was surprised last night when my political savvy husband hadn't heard about Obama's address to the school children planned for Tuesday. I am the one who gets the phone calls from the school letting us know what's going on. I thought he might have an opinion. I'll let him reveal his opinions. We had a nice discussion about what we think is appropriate for our kids to hear at school. This is all mine. I don't want to get him in trouble. He is in the military.

Here's my take. Obama is not the first person to address children in schools. He is the leader of the country. He is a role model to a demographic of children with a high drop out rate. If he wants to tell them to stay in school and stay off drugs, great! If one kid doesn't drop out because he heard Obama tell him not to... that is fabulous.

Here's what I have a problem with. Obama is the leader of our country. I want my children to respect his title. I want them to honor the presidency. Still, there is no reason to turn him into a demigod. Don't ask my children what they can do for Obama. Ask them what they can do for the school, community and country. Don't ask my children to define themselves through Obama and his standards. Ask them to set guidelines and goals for their personal educational growth.

Yes, I looked at the supplemental materials. No, it isn't horrible. There were things that I would want to change. I don't know which way my daughters' teachers lean. I don't want them spouting a socialist rhetoric in their ears. That's not what school was for.

So the media said George H.W. Bush was horrible for using children as props when he asked them to stay off drugs and stay in school. If they weren't talking about how horrible he was, they weren't covering it at all. Now, we are hearing how horrible it is that people are questioning what Obama will say to the kids. He could only have love and peace to spread. As a side note... I loved George H. W. Bush's quote from addressing kids in the early '90s "I can't understand for the life of me what's so great about being stupid."

Where do I stand? Somewhere in the middle. I'm grateful that our school is leaving it up to us as to whether or not our kids will watch. My children probably will, after I've previewed it and have my own topics on the importance of education to discuss with them.

Am I being silly? Please chime in. I would love to hear what you think. (Karen... here's your podium)


The Driskells said...

I'm probably somewhere in the middle too. My concern is why isn't Obama telling us more info about his speech sooner than just the day before? I don't like the fact that his speech is somewhat secretive. It makes me wonder about his true motives and ultimate agenda. I will be reading his speech on Monday, and hopefully others will too. The optimist in me wants to believe that his speech will have a positive impact on many and bring about some good. More than anything I will also be praying for his leadership and administration. That's about the best I can do!

heidi said...

We just got the notification, too, and I plan on talking it over with Rob . I'm sure we'll let them watch but there will probably be follow up discussions.

Karen Luttrell said...

Like I need ANOTHER place to sound off! I think it's appropriate for a sitting president to address school children. However, given the current political landscape, it smacks of another attempt by the "thought police" to control the message. First, the National Endowment of the Arts asks artists to support Obama's agenda, and now the Department of Ed. puts out guidelines for children to "help the president," the latter being amended after complaints. I don't think this administration is above using anything at its disposable to advance its agenda.

If we weren't dealing with a huge health reform bill in Congress, AND Obama wasn't going to speak at a joint session the next day, I'd say his address is pretty benign. But politicians don't open their mouths for the heck of it. Why now, when many schools won't even be in class yet?

I think parents should view this as an opportunity to challenge their kids to think critically about how people use language to persuade. They are marketed to every day. This administration has mastered the art of persuasion. They subtly try to undermine the opposition. I think with Obama's support of the teachers' union, the majority of teachers will speak favorably of his speech, regardless. Our kids should be respectful, but cautious and informed about what our elected leaders try to sell us. That's being a responsible citizen.

I'm very encouraged how engaged parents have become during this debate. I'd have killed to have parents darken the door of my classroom when I was teaching public school.

The Stiffs said...

Well said Karen. That's everything I was thinking. I knew I should ask you to sound off.

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