Obama's address to school children

Wednesday, September 2, 2009 Comments

H/T: The Dana Show

A letter from the Dept of Education to school principals reads:

President Obama announced that on September 8 — the first day of school for many children across America — he will deliver a national address directly to students on the importance of education. The President will challenge students to work hard, set educational goals, and take responsibility for their learning. He will also call for a shared responsibility and commitment on the part of students, parents and educators to ensure that every child in every school receives the best education possible so they can compete in the global economy for good jobs and live rewarding and productive lives as American citizens.

...

This is the first time an American president has spoken directly to the nation's school children about persisting and succeeding in school. We encourage you to use this historic moment to help your students get focused and begin the school year strong.

Read the whole thing here. Frankly, I don't need the president or anyone from government to tell my children to work hard and study in school. They are already getting that message from me, my husband, and their teachers.



But this is apparently more than just a speech, there are activities outlined for before and after the speech. Exactly how much of our children's educational time do they intend to spend on this little pep rally?

Here are a few of the suggestions for teachers:
Before the Speech:
Teachers can build background knowledge about the President of the United States and his speech by reading books about presidents and Barack Obama and motivate students by asking the following questions: Who is the President of the United States? What do you think it takes to be President? To whom do you think the President is going to be speaking? Why do you think he wants to speak to you? What do you think he will say to you?
...

Why is it important that we listen to the President and other elected officials, like the mayor, senators, members of congress, or the governor? Why is what they say important?

During the Speech
:
As students listen to the speech, they could think about the following: What is the President trying to tell me? What is the President asking me to do? What new ideas and actions is the President challenging me to think about?

Students can record important parts of the speech where the President is asking them to do something. Students might think about: What specific job is he asking me to do? Is he asking anything of anyone else? Teachers? Principals? Parents? The American people?

After the Speech
:
Teachers could ask students to share the ideas they recorded, exchange sticky notes or stick notes on a butcher paper poster in the classroom to discuss main ideas from the speech, i.e. citizenship, personal responsibility, civic duty.

Students could discuss their responses to the following questions: 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? What would you like to tell the President?

Extension of the Speech
: Teachers can extend learning by having students

Write letters to themselves about what they can do to help the president. These would be collected and redistributed at an appropriate later date by the teacher to make students accountable to their goals.

Create artistic projects based on the themes of their goals.

I highlighted a few that I take issue with. Why are they teaching our children that we should listen to elected officials and view them as authority figures? In America, our elected officials work for US, they are supposed to represent us and it is they who should be listening to us, not the other way around.

Perhaps the "ram it down their throats" Congress got tired of hearing "you work for us" at the town halls and the administration thought it would be a great idea to scrub that notion from the minds of today's children?

And perhaps this is all innocent enough... but as American Elephant put it:
...viewing this administration’s track record doesn’t afford such benefit of the doubt. When the President browbeats property owners who want to protect their legal rights… when the President admits he doesn’t know the facts but impugns the integrity of a police force… when the President calls me a liar for reporting what is actually in the health care bills and encourages my neighbors to report me to some enemies list… when the President apologizes to nations around the world and bows to a Saudi king… he loses the benefit of the doubt. As a socialist who has surrounded himself with Marxist and racist radicals all of his life, he loses the benefit of the doubt.

Without benefit of the doubt, the President doesn’t get to speak to my children unchallenged.

Call your child's school, and if they're planning to participate in this, you may want to consider keeping your children home that day.

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