I've got to side with the libs on this one -- but only to a point.
When I heard that the President was going to address school children next Tuesday, my first thought was "Ok, he can impart some wisdom about the value of education." This is something I have talked about before -- how I think BO can have a real impact on a certain sector of students who might otherwise throw away the opportunities available to them.
After all, Presidents Reagan and Bush 41 also addressed school children, albeit without any "Menu of Classroom Activities" distributed by the Dept of Ed. And whereas I'm sure there would have been a lot of eye-rolling and snarky comments -- I highly doubt that any liberals would have pulled their kids out of class if W. had made an address. (Yeah, yeah -- the schools are already so liberal, what would they be worried about?)
After hearing more about this speech and the accompanying materials, and how schools are handling the event, I have to say I have my reservations -- especially how this was just presented without any type of input from or consultation with local school district officials. But I believe the knee-jerk reaction by some conservatives is short-sighted.
Some have talked about taking their children out of school that day or having their children "opt-out" of listening to the speech. Yeah, that's one way to go about it -- and there are times when I think that is totally appropriate --but in this case, what does it really accomplish? You teach your child that if they disagree with our President that they should just tune him out. Meanwhile, their classmates who stay have no one to balance the conversation afterward.
I think the better approach is to first look over the materials provided by the Dept of Ed and know what you find objectionable. (Apparently, the officials there have already removed one of the more questionable activities that conservatives raised objections to in the past few days.)
Second, contact your school and find out whether or not they will even be participating -- many are not as it is the first day of school, and they feel it will be hectic enough. Then find out exactly how they will handle the event. Will all students be watching? Will all teachers be following the "Menu" afterward? How much time is being devoted to these activities?
If you don't like the responses, ask if you can sit in the back of your child's class -- don't take no for an answer. You have every right to be there. If you can't be there yourself, find another parent who can. If you don't know another parent who would do this -- you should. Identifying like-minded parents can be crucial to ensuring that your children retain your family's values.
If you were not able to take the opportunity to meet your child's teacher -- do so as soon as you can. Feel them out as to where they stand -- look around the classroom. You can get a real sense of what your child will be exposed to under his or her tutelage.
But most importantly, you need to sit down with your children and talk through exactly what you object to regarding the President and what he espouses. It may be hard for little ones to absorb it enough to be able to speak up at school in the presence of such overwhelming adulation -- but you can teach them to keep their ears open and pay attention so they can tell you what was said in the classroom.
You can then go over it all again, and instill in them a sense of discernment, not just abject opposition. And if what they report to you about their class seems to go outside the realm of what is appropriate, then you can make a call to the school to voice your concerns.
I have a feeling the address will be available on-line afterward, and we can then go over it with our children. I'm willing to bet that there will be very little to worry about within the speech itself. It is the discussions afterward in the classrooms that may be problematic, so you have to hope that you prepared your child sufficiently.
Yeah, I know -- closing the barn door. Unringing the bell. Closing Pandora's box. Whichever. It screams out as another validation for school choice. But until that happens -- for those of us who have very limited options for private schooling -- vigilance is the way to go, not simply abstention.
We all need to be plugged into our child's education. Take the steps today.
At least we got some warning about this speech. Apparently some school children were shown the above video without parents' knowledge. While it has some good ideas in it, there are some that are way off base -- and the whole presentation seems a little... indoctrinating. On the off-chance that one of my kids' teachers will show this to them, I sat them down to watch it and discussed it.