September 8th - You have a choice! Part 1
Posted in the Chelsea Forum
#1 Sep 3, 2009
It's that time of year again, the kids are heading back to school. I think most, if not all parents would agree - our children's education is one of the most important things we can give them. Our kids, especially those who are just beginning school and those still in elementary and middle school, are experiencing so much personal growth, they are learning about the world around them and they are learning about society and the importance of community. They are also learning responsibility and independence.
That said, I was very surprised to learn that our school system - as well as EVERY school system across our nation, every classroom and every student will be addressed by President Obama on September 8th, 2009. When I first learned about this White House to Classroom connection I thought it was a pretty interesting concept. This has never been done before, its an historical event. The President addressing the children of our country and telling them how very important their education is. Go Kids! Study! School is Important! Rah! But then I did a little research and I must say - I did not like what I found out about this program. The government has outlined a 'Menu of Classroom Activities' for the schools to use along with the President's address. They have a 'menu for pre-K to 6th grade and a 'menu' for grades 7 through 12. These 'menus' include curriculum for the teachers to use before the speech - to prepare the children. This includes the children discussing topics such as "How will the President inspire us today?" There is a section for teaching opportunities during the speech which include having the students write down 'key phrases'. Then there's a section for teaching after the speech, then several more sections of projects and extensions of the previous discussions. In all, these 'menus' are fairly detailed as far as the philosophies that they would like our children to be taught.
This address is not what I thought it would be, it's not a "Rah Rah! Go Kids!' speech. It's an indoctrination of political ideology in the classroom! I do not want my children being taught to follow the agenda or the rhetoric of ANY political party. I want them to go to school, to learn, to be given the opportunity to learn about issues from all sides and to be allowed to make reasonable and educated choices based upon the ideals and beliefs that they think are important. NOT what a politician or party wants them to think or wants them to be taught.
I am upset that our schools here did not bother to inform us about this 'government inspired day of education'- that they would not give us parents the opportunity to decide if we want our children to participate in this program(ing). This undermines the very core values of my responsibilities and rights as a parent to choose what I want my children to learn and how I want them to learn it. I would be just as upset if this was being done by ANY administration - liberal or conservative. I would feel no different if the schools decided to have a religious leader come in and speak to the kids and have an entire program planned for the kids to participate in discussing how that particular religion is 'right'. I am a Christian, but MY values should not be imposed upon those who have different values. And NEVER upon children that are at an impressionable age. That is something that is personal and should be taught in the home, it is the responsibility of their family. The same goes for political values. These are values that we learn and grow into as we mature and experience different circumstances in our lives. Why must our children be 'taught' what ideology to follow in a classroom?
#2 Sep 3, 2009
I plan to keep my kids home on the first day of school. I don't have a choice - the schools have not given me any indication about how much of this 'program' they intend to follow or how they intend to use it in the classroom. They were responsible about informing parents about the sex-ed curriculum - which was great, they made sure the students were given information about ALL of the choices and they sent home worksheets for the students to do with their parent/s/responsible adults. My kids' political, moral and religious education is just as important and just as personal to me. I think it's important to the majority of us.
I have nothing but respect for our schools here. The schools, the teachers, the support staff have been just wonderful - I know how lucky we are to have the school system we do and we need to support it so it can continue to play such an important role in the lives of our kids - to give them the education they will need for their future. But we don't need the President or the government deciding what our children should be learning as far as their core values and political beliefs. It is an unwanted and unprecedented intrusion into the education of our children. As parents we should be looking at how this type of instruction can and will effect our children's future and the future of their education. If THIS administration is allowed to take such a bold step into your child's classroom - then EVERY administration that follows will have the go ahead to do so also - whether you agree with their ideology or not. Just something to think about.
For more information about this Presidential Address to our children and the Menu of Classroom Activities go to: www.ed.gov (In checking this site - I have found that they have changed some of the wording in the documents so the kids won't actually be 'pledging' to serve the president.)
I have also been made aware that this video is being used as 'educational' material in classrooms.
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