Monday, September 07, 2009

Obama's Speech Tomorrow

I've got a bit of a bee in my bonnet tonight. So I'm letting it out. I'm so sick to death of the right wing propaganda permeating the airwaves lately. I'm sick of the outright lies, sick of the overwhelming claims being made.

I'm totally in agreement that there are some programs from the Obama administration that need work, or could use improvement. I appreciate both sides for standing up for their perceived rights. But I am 100% over the over-the-top claims about health care being taken over by the government, the new socialist regime and the latest one - that Obama is going to brainwash our children tomorrow and tell them sex is OK during his address to public schools. Such. Utter. BS.

Here's the speech in its entirety. Go ahead, read it. Obama is going to - watch out - tell your kid to stay in school and work hard. He's going to tell them that to achieve anything, they must work hard. Heaven forbid the head of our country reach out to the children and encourage them to succeed. My God, this calls for a revolution.

Don't get me wrong. I know politics plays a part in all of this. Just as they played a part in our race to the moon. But please, tell me what is wrong with the most visibly powerful man in our country encouraging students to succeed?

So, tonight I went to our Hanover (our county's) website to find out when it will be presented. And it turns out it won't be shown to our students tomorrow. Here's what they say...

" Our complete energies must be directed to promoting a productive beginning to the school year for our teachers and children. It is important to support the establishment of new routines and a smooth opening at this pivotal moment.

The Office of the President is to be respected. This is what America’s public schools promote as a basic part of our curriculum. Therefore, rather than showing the speech on the first day of school, the speech will be recorded, instructional materials will be available, and the speech and lessons may be appropriately featured by classrooms electing to use them at a later time. This will allow time for schools to inform parents of existing opt-out procedures."

So let me get this right... kids all need to learn about math, language and science. They must learn about the history of our country, about civic responsibility. Our school board claims to "respect" the office of the President and promote it in curriculum - so shouldn't it, therefore, be included?

Tomorrow about 90% of their days will be spent being introduced to new routines, new faces and with addresses from teachers and principals. They'll probably spend a good chunk just absorbing the new environment and are virtually guaranteed to learn little to nothing beyond a few new names and the location of the nearest restroom. What better time IS there to give a boost talk for the upcoming year? And who better to give such a talk than a black man who rose against the odds to become the leader of our great country - BY democratic election? Did we have an opportunity to opt out our kids when the moon landing took place? How about when the Challenger blew up? When the Twin Towers fell? No, it was important information for them to hear. And this message is, too, because, dammit, most kids aren't getting this message at home. And those do receive this type of encouragement can never be hurt by having it reinforced.

You can bet your butt Katie will be watching this address tomorrow when she comes home from school. And then we will sit down and talk about it. We'll talk about the President's story, about our story, about people we know who work hard and succeed in life - whether they're stay at home moms or professionals, poor or rich. And I'll echo Obama's words to the children he addresses tomorrow, "Make us all proud. I know you can do it."


  1. Amen! Glad to hear someone finally exercise some actual thinking with regard to this speech.

  2. Anonymous10:51 PM

    Hi Kim,
    Read your blog this evening... every word was perfect... Thank you for calling it like it is!

  3. I agree with you, but just to pick nits, when the Challenger blew up, only I and one other student in the entire school watched it happen. Everybody else was in the cafeteria. We had to request special exemptions to be allowed to watch it, and the teachers yelled at us for "lying" about it blowing up.

  4. Thank you for posting this. I agree.

    The only, only thing I can give the schools credit for is that the first day of school is important for kids to get information. You're right: it's not an education day, but it's important day for kids to learn the ropes of their new classrooms, teachers, schools, etc.

    If people are going to be crazy, and exercise their right crazy as it may be, to choose what their kids are exposed to (mind you, I'm a dirty dirty liberal who *wants* my kids to be exposed to things I don't agree with for their own learning and thinking and well-roundedness) it's going to be disruptive to the school when the kids who got pulled out missed all the first day information come back clueless.

    It would be great if the school was willing to show the thing to everyone at a more convenient day this week. It's sad that it's being turned into this optional thing if teachers choose to include it. It lends some legitimacy to the idea that the speech is somehow questionable, or dangerous.