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Friday, September 4, 2009

Weighing In on The Obama School Speech Thing

So, there's been a lot of buzz about the speech that Obama wants to give to school kids on September 8th. The request of the USDE is that it is shown in public schools and there are activities to go along with it. I have mixed feelings about this as a teacher, but also as an American. People are so up in arms about this and here are my opinions...take them or leave them:

  • As a person, I don't like being told what to do. As a public school teacher, I understand that I need to do what I am told to do. That's my job! If I wanted to do my own thing as a teacher, I am more than welcome to teach at a private school or a charter school.
  • On one hand, I don't really see what people are getting all upset about. People are using words like "brainwashing" and "indoctrination" about what our president is going to talk about. He's going to talk about staying in school and how important a kid's education is. Call me crazy, but there are a lot of us who were "brainwashed" by our parents on the same exact things. Therein lies the problem for some people. They believe that it's their job to convey that message to their children, not the government's. I get that.
  • So, on the other hand, it is a parent's job to teach their child that staying in school is important and education will get you everywhere in this world. That is a value that many people instill in their kids and should continue to be a conversation at dinner tables. Maybe the government should stay out of it and allow parents to instill values in their own children without making it a government issue.
  • Some people have mentioned that it's an insult to their parenting skills that the president thinks he needs to step in and have this conversation with their children. Truth is that these conversations don't happen in every household and some populations would benefit from hearing it from our president. Not all...some. That's just the honest truth!
  • People have said that having President Obama speak to their children is just another way of pushing his liberal agenda, but now on a younger generations. Call me crazy, but I don't think he's going to launch into his healthcare policies, his beliefs on the war, or his wife's new haircut. I believe he's going to stick to the topic at hand. After all, he's not a complete idiot.
  • Schools are not required to show this speech...it's a request.
  • They also do not have to do the activities that were sent to the schools. It's up to the school.
  • George Bush and Ronald Reagan gave similar speeches in their time...one was on saying no to drugs (brainwashing? Possibly...I still remember Nancy Reagan saying it over and over again) and I can't remember what Bush's speech was about...probably something pretty worthwhile though.
  • I do not think this speech should be given on the first day of school. It ruins the first day of school for the teachers and the kids. Spend that day on what is important in your classroom/school rather than a government speech...there's time for that later and should probably be focused on during social studies/history classes.
  • I don't think that Obama's focus was to glorify himself as the president. I think that's a little over the top. Even if it was though, he's the leader of our country. Agree with him or disagree with him, he deserves our respect as the leader of our country. Get over yourselves and give him a chance to speak to our kids as the leader of our country. Maybe one of the reasons that young voters hesitate to come out and vote or get involved in politics is that they don't feel like anyone talks to them about their issues. Here is an opportunity to open the lines of communication between the office of the president and our youth.
  • Give kids some credit. They have minds of their own and are not going to be brainwashed. That's kind of a ridiculous thought. They are not idiots and can form their own opinions...it doesn't hurt to give them something to think about at the same time.
  • People need to relax!!!
That's all...nobody asked my opinion, but this my blog and I can give my opinion on anything in the world. This hit a little close to home because I'm a teacher, I didn't vote for Obama, but I respect him as my president, and I'm a Mom. Would I want my kids to watch this? Probably not in school...I'd rather watch it with them. That's the kind of parent I would like to be. However, not everyone parents like that or has the opportunity to sit with their kids and watch a presidential speech...it's a good message...let it get out there, but handle it appropriately.