Tuesday, September 1, 2009


I can't think of a simpler way to say it, so I'll just echo David Hedrick:


Yes, I am one of those parents who objects (strenuously) to President Obama speechifying during the school day. Yes, my school-age kids will be at home that day.

Now, before anyone gets started with the racist-reactionary-rightwingnut-conspiracytheory-antiAmerican accusations, let's think this one through, OK?

I have no problem at all with the idea of an American president addressing our children. To my knowledge, such a thing has never happened. I can imagine being a kid again, and being excited that the President would want to talk to us! When you're a kid, a lot of people talk over or around you. The idea that someone as important as The President might want to talk TO you might be pretty cool! Even as an adult, I think in theory it's a nice idea for him to reach out to kids and give them encouragement.

However, the minute you remove parents as the guiding adult and replace them with teachers, you've lost me.

If President Obama wanted to address my children, he'd have had more luck with something like this:

"Hey, kids! On Tuesday night, President Obama has things he'd like to say -- to YOU! He has an important message for you about your education and our future. At seven o'clock, there will be a special speech for America's kids! We want you to sit down with Mom & Dad and watch it together. And here are some ideas to help your family talk about it afterward!"

See the difference? Mom and Dad... family talk together... I think MOST Americans would have found this completely acceptable. I can almost guarantee that we would tune in, and we would discuss the message together.

Once again, the people making decisions for us don't remotely comprehend the problem with their latest idea. They want to do something that will directly impact our children, and yet they leave out the most important aspect of dealing with children - parental involvement. And they replace the parents with teachers.

I do NOT need a village to help me raise my kids. And I certainly don't want their values or political beliefs guided by teachers. I would prefer their teachers concentrate on TEACHING things like reading, math and history. (I would already consider it an improvement if they could manage JUST THAT. Our local school system spends half the year teaching toward the standardized testing, and precious little time actually educating students.) I'll take care of teaching them values and beliefs.

If President Obama wants to reach out to America's kids, I'm all for it. If he would like to address families and encourage discussion about goals, responsibilities and involvement in their future, I'm on board. If he wants to be the first President that reaches out to kids to help motivate them, then WE can do it as a team, and it could be a very positive thing!

But if he wants to collectively address children (as young as pre-K?!) WITHOUT keeping me as a parent on the team and right in the discussion? Well, you know my answer.

Stay away from my kids.

UPDATE: The media is reporting (good thing, for those with memories like mine) that GHWB addressed school students in 1991. One MORE case of the childish "Well, THEY DID IT FIRST!" Good grief. A few points here...

1. When GHWB did it, the democrats were not happy. I'm seeing video of Dick Gephardt losing his mind over the speech. If it was wrong then, it is wrong now!

2. (And I'll date myself with this one...) In 1991, I personally was not in school anymore so I dont remember this. Further, I had no children in school at this time. Let me state bluntly that if I HAD children in school at this time, I would NOT have wanted them wasting their school hours listening to Bush, either.

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