President Obama's "Liberal" Agenda for Education
Well, now that the speech has been made, we see that President Obama's evil, socialist, partisan agenda to indoctrinate our nation's schoolchildren is this, summarized from the text of the president's speech:
1) It's not just the job of teachers and parents to make sure students learn. You, the students, have responsibility in this process, too.
2) Education provides the opportunity to discover your talents, but you have to develop those talents.
3) You not only have a responsibility to yourself to make the most of your education, you have a responsibility to your community and your country to become educated.
4) No matter what difficulties you have to overcome, there are no excuses for not making sure you make the most of your education.
5) Being successful is hard work no matter what impression you may get from tv or music, and you will have to overcome setbacks and failures in order to become successful. The key is to persevere.
6) Ask questions.
7) Ask for help.
8) Never give up on yourself.
9) Do your part to improve this country.
Wow. How dare he???????? What exactly in this message is not prudent and conservative, in the best sense of the word?
And please note that, unlike so many who get their news from the Colbert Report without getting the irony, I refrained from announcing my opinion until AFTER I heard the speech and read the text. Would that all supposedly responsible citizens would do the same.
I will confess that I am ashamed of the initial response my school district chose when this speech was announced. Letters were sent home to parents, which announced a set of limitations which made it nigh impossible for a teacher to have his or her students watch the speech. Parents were basically assured that their children would be protected from being forced to listen to a speech about the importance of education by the president of the United States. The fact that bitter, immature, uncivil, partisan sniping was in any way given credence at the central office was one thing. But then days later, we got a grudging admission pointing out that, well, we need to respect the office of the president, and Barack Obama IS our president. Oh, thanks.
Here's what I resent: when President Bush was still in office, any letter similar to the ones sent home last week would have been decried as unpatriotic and the worst sort of injection of political-- and in particular liberal-- bias into the classroom. But the second that a Democrat is in the White House, it is suddenly fine and dandy to use fear-mongering and smear tactics against the office of the president. We did not see such a response when Presidents Reagan and George HW Bush gave similar speeches to students, either.
It is my policy to never criticize the current president-- no matter who he is-- to my students. (Yes, that's one reason why I have a blog.) I can and do control myself and act like an adult. Furthermore, just because you vote for or against someone doesn't mean you should not continually re-evaluate and judge how well they have represented your beliefs and values. There have certainly been things I have disagreed with done by every president in my lifetime, including this one.
I would hope that our district administration would also follow this policy, and show the same restraint and respect we expect our students to demonstrate to us, whether they like us or not. I was hoping that this letter was just a reaction to a bitter but vocal handful of district residents who were stirred up by their blind obedience to the Limbaugh Lobby to hate any and all things Obama, and by their vociferousness often scared the bejebus out of petty bureaucrats. But by catering to this element, administrators, you appear to agree with them, and that is the injection of political bias into the classroom that should not be tolerated no matter who is president.
However implicit and subtle our district administrators think their very political response was to a non-political speech, our students are no dummies. Many of them realized that a reactionary fringe opposed to civil discourse was allowed to control the day on Tuesday. And that IS un-American.