I knew that Obama was giving a speech to school-aged children next Tuesday. I thought it was kind of appropriate considering that for most of the country, it’s the first day of school. How thoughtful of him to take time out of his schedule to address future voters – future taxpayers! “How nice”, I thought, “for schools to open when they want instead of being limited to a certain date as they are here in Texas. Oh well.”, I sighed, and moved on.

And that’s it. I don’t watch television, and I teach all day, so I don’t have the luxury of trolling news sites, so the first I heard about the “controversy” was an e-mail from our superintendent informing us that he was going to placate community members and allow students to be pulled out of class if the parents were opposed to them watching the presidential address. They would be given an alternative assignment.

I’m still in shock. I’ve always rolled my eyes when people talk about “right wing agendas”, but I can’t see this as anything else. He’s our President. He’s giving a speech to students about staying in school, behaving, and making good grades. There’s no agenda there.

I did see one news agency (take a wild stab at which one) which tried to say that the indoctrination was from a suggested lesson plans that the DOE published on their web page. I’m looking at them right now. Ok. I see academic goals. Listening strategies. Brainstorming. Hmm. Nothing even remotely offensive there. Maybe it’s in the elementary section. Hmm. What is the president? Writing down questions. Vocabulary. And, once again, goals.

Was FoxNews wrong? I read that the lesson plans directed students to write letters to Obama. There is nothing in there that prompts students  to write letters about “what they can do to help Obama”. Really, is there an issue with educational goals? Is that indoctrinating students? Leading them to vote Democrat in future elections? I really don’t think anyone can argue that.  Or are we having an issue with students “helping” Obama reach the goal of educating all students and decreasing the drop out rate? Is that it? Certainly no one would that stupid, right? EDIT – I just heard that the original lesson plan called for students to write to Obama to suggest educational goals. I guess no one has heard of relevancy in curriculum, huh?

So another complaint I heard was that Obama didn’t get approval by the school boards – he went directly to the principals! Do these people know what a school board is? I don’t think so. They govern a school district, they don’t approve presidential messages. I find this comical coming from people who have never been to school board meetings. And yes, I attend school board meetings pretty frequently. I think it’s important to know what is going on as a taxpayer, teacher, and future parent.

So the complaints can’t be about the CONTENT of his speech – he hasn’t even given it at this point! Is it because he’s a Democrat or just because he’s a black man? I’ve heard even more ridiculous comments, but I don’t even think I can justify those with a response in print.

I don’t like being censored. I get enough of it as an English teacher. But this is too much. There is a serious slippery by allowing parents to pull their kid out of instruction just because they “don’t like” Obama.  What’s next? Telling me not to teach “Night” because they don’t believe the Holocaust happened? Not allowing teachers to do a 911 memorial lesson because they think it was a conspiracy? If that’s the case, then home school your kids. That’s your “right”.

I’m disappointed that my district wussed out and sent home parent permission slips to opt out of the speech. I’m disappointed that people can’t think critically.

It makes me sad.


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