Thursday, September 03, 2009

Yet another reason

Next Tuesday, President BO will bypass the parents and speak directly to kids in government-run indoctrination centers across the nation. This speech will be followed by discussion about how the kids can "help the President." Students will be encouraged to express their devotion to the President in songs, poetry, and essay form. Then, much as in George Orwell's 1984, where kids were taught to listen at their parents' door for any sign of thought crime, kids will be sent home to make sure that their parents conform to statist orthodoxy. If they hear anything "fishy" they can report it to

Plans to include "Goose-Stepping With Nancy Pelosi" were dropped at the last minute.

Reason #374 that I am glad our kids do not go to public school.

No President in American history has ever targeted a speech to public school students, directing for it to be shown in every classroom, to every student from Kindergarten to High School. George Bush never did it. Neither did Bill Clinton, Ronald Reagan, Jimmy Carter, or any other American President. If BO were honest, he would encourage students to beg their parents to send them to private college-prep schools like the ones he attended and currently sends his own kids to. Although BO will attempt to portray this speech as a non-political unobjectionable effort to convey the importance of education encouraging kids to do well in school, the fact remains that anything done by any President is political. You can't stand there with a straight face and tell me that this is not all about BO's floundering approval rating and the public rejection of his health care takeover plot. But even if this was a President I liked, it would be a bad idea. No President should be doing this, regardless of his party or ideology.

This is not a First Amendment, freedom of speech issue. The President certainly has the right to give a speech any time he wants to, and to say whatever he wants to say. Mandating that the speech be shown to captive audiences in public schools, funded by taxpayers, bypassing parents to indoctrinate impressionable kids is not anywhere close to the Constitutional role of the President or the Federal Government. But remember that BO spent several years working with Weather Underground terrorist Bill Ayres distributing millions of dollars for the Chicago Annenberg Challenge to fund political indoctrination and radicalization programs in public schools. BO is an experienced veteran in the art of using public schools to train up the next generation of statist drones.

One school district in our area has announced that they will refuse to interrupt their instruction time to show the President's speech, but will instead make it available on their web site to be viewed outside of school hours at the parent's discretion. This is an ideal solution, because it allows parents to view the speech with their children, if they wish, and to discuss the content with their kids. We must never forget that parents are still the primary authority in the lives of their children, and it is the parent's responsibility to mold and shape the character and values of their children.

The Fort Worth school district has a much less satisfactory approach. They plan to interrupt the school day to show BO's speech. The FWISD web site says that the speech is "available but not mandatory." In other words, students will have to opt out if they wish to not see the speech. The time which should be spent teaching math, English, history, or science will be lost even for those who opt out. The announcement from the ISD indicates that "Those who elect not to participate will be provided alternative activities." You know what "alternative" means, don't you? When I was a kid, they sent the teenage delinquents and the troublemakers to "Reform School." That term is not politically correct anymore. Today they call those same schools "Alternative School." "Alternative" is the euphemism for where they send bad kids who need to be re-educated and reformed.

There will be a lot of people who don't see the problem with what BO is doing. They will assume that the President has nothing but good and pure intentions and is motivated by nothing but a genuine desire for kids to excel in school for the good of America. As if the reason that American public education is a colossal failure is that kids have not been told by the President to study. Have you noticed the bizarre advertisements popping up on the internet which say "Obama tells moms to go back to school" or "Obama says to refinance your mortgage" because we don't know what is good for us unless the nanny-state President takes our hand and guides us? The President is not behind those ads, but the ads reflect a growing way of thinking which depends on government to run our lives. Government can't even run a "Cash for Clunkers" program. It is not the job of the Federal Government to motivate your kids to learn and excel in school. It is YOUR job. Don't delegate your responsibility to a government school, and certainly don't delegate it to a statist President.

And say, isn't your kid feeling a bit under the weather?


Tonya said...

I'm less than pleased about the President's plan to insert himself into the classroom.
I called my kids schools today and was told that they would be setting the day aside as requested by Obama (and I'm sure doing the class activities and discussion as directed by the White House), BUT that my kids can be segregated from the rest of the students. I'm sure that won't be awkward. Looks like I'll take them to school at lunch time instead.

I call "bullshit". TJ

Colin said... --

"President Reagan delivered a back-to-school speech to students in 1988. The first President Bush did one in 1991. But the next two presidents – Bill Clinton and George W. Bush – did not. Now President Obama has one scheduled to be televised at noon eastern time on Tuesday, and the uproar from conservatives has left the White House shaking its collective head.

“I think we’ve reached a little bit of the silly season when the president of the United States can’t tell kids in school to study hard and stay in school,” White House spokesman Robert Gibbs told reporters Friday morning."


Don Dodson said...

Colin, you know the difference is that neither Reagan nor Bush instructed public schools to show the speech in class, nor did they instruct teachers to discuss things like "How can I help this President?" or "Can I do what the President is asking me to do?" Bush and Reagan gave the speech and allowed any parents who chose to watch it with their kids and discuss it with their kids. That is how it should be done.

Colin said...

So Don, are you admitting that when you said "No President in American history has ever targeted a speech to public school students" you were incorrect?

The text of the speech will be posted online Monday. It will say, in essence, work hard and stay in school... "in the same way President George H.W. Bush’s comments were in 1991 when he gave a back-to-school address." It's also completely optional for schools to participate.

All of this is in reaction to one sentence in an accompanying teaching guide that has now been changed. Do you think that justifies putting up a picture of Hitler addressing Nazi youth?


Colin said...

Here's the speech:

What part do you object to?


Don Dodson said...

Colin, we don't know what the President would have said if we were not there to "keep him honest" to use his own phrase. You can bet that the worksheet would not have been changed and the text of the speech would not have been released in advance. Those were both in response to the public uproar. It is also quite likely that his comments would have been more ideologically polarized. Even though this speech was very innocuous, you can't get away from the fact that the goal was political: to give him a boost in his fight for his medical takeover.

Don Dodson said...

When Bush spoke to students, Democrats investigated and held hearings but now they seem to think that it is unreasonable to object to Obama's speech, which was done in a much more intrusive manner.

Colin said...

So you think without your blog post comparing Obama to Hitler and accusing him of 1984 brain washing he would have given a totally different speech? Please.

This was the President of our country, telling kids to work hard and stay in school. I just want some acknowledgement from you that that's a good, and appropriate, thing.

I'm not defending politically motivated acts by Democratic politicians in years past. Those actions may have been foolish and cynical as well. But this "they did it to us, so we can do it to them twice as rough" justification is incredibly damaging to this nation.

I find this whole sorry event truly frightening for our country. Makes me think of when we read the Oresteia back at Greenhill.


Don Dodson said...

Colin, it was a great speech. His words about personal responsibility, opportunity, and not being a victim were inspirational. I wish he would say the same to adults. But that doesn't change the fact that it was inappropriate for him to be giving the speech in the first place. It belonged on TV in the evening so that families could watch it together. The cram-it-down-your-throat approach with a captive audience using teachers to ask questions like "Why should I listen to the President?" is wrong, and regardless of the content, it suggests political opportunism. I mention the Democrat's reaction to Bush's speech not to justify a tit-for-tat reaction, but to point out that Democrats have no leg to stand on when they claim that it is unreasonable to object to Obama's actions.

Colin said...

Well, I'll grant you this -- I think it's totally appropriate to object to Obama's actions. That's what democracy is all about. And I don't doubt that there was a political component to the decision to give this speech. But I just hope we can engage in our criticisms constructively and civilly -- and make a distinction between good faith and bad faith. If we can't manage that, then this country is in serious trouble.