Curmudgeon's Corner

cur-mud-geon: anyone who hates hypocrisy and pretense and has the temerity to say so; anyone with the habit of pointing out unpleasant facts in an engaging and humorous manner

President Obama's Address to Students

Education, U.S., Quality of Life

President Obama will address the pre-K to 6th grade students all across America on Tuesday, September 8th.  On the one hand, that sounds like a neat idea.  On the other, it sounds somehow Orwellian.

I downloaded the "Menu of Classroom Activities" and found the following:

"Before the Speech:

  • Teachers can build background knowledge about the President of the United States and his speech by reading books about presidents and Barack Obama and motivate students by asking the following questions:
    • Who is the President of the United States?
    • What do you think it takes to become President?
    • To whom do you think the President is going to be speaking?
    • Why do you think he wants to speak to you?
    • What do you think he will say to you?
  • Why is it important that we listen to the President and other elected officials, like the mayor, senators, members of congress, or the governor?  Why is what they say important?"

The document goes on for a page and one-third, and I'd invite you to take the time to read it for yourself.

This gives me considerable pause for thought.  There has never, to my knowledge, been such an action by any other president before.  It could be that technology makes it possible, but that technology was in place for a couple of presidents to have made use of it had they chosen.

Children are very impressionable, especially so when "important" people are involved.  Most will know what the president looks like, if they've had any exposure to news or media in the past year.  We don't know the content of the president's speech; we do have the opportunity to see the textbooks that are being used in classrooms.

Is the president going to implore the children to use "green" products?  that has been done over and again by the teachers for years.  Is the president going to tell students how important it is for us to have health care for everyone?  Is the president going to talk about the need to educate everyone even if they're here illegally?

Just what is the purpose of this speech?  Is it to ask students to talk with their parents about policy?  Is it to recruit future supporters for liberal belief systems?  Is it to implant on the students that elected officials are very important people and that they ought be listened to all the time?

The suggested lesson plan carries with it exercises that teachers should take children through.  That seems to be overdoing things a bit if there is no underlying motive that needs amplification.

I am troubled by this; I hope that parents will be permitted to accompany their children on September 8th.  I hope that the president does not use this opportunity for political gain of any sort, although that is a foregone conclusion when we link this speech to the impressionable kids that'll hear the speech.

This seems but another step down the slippery slope that seems to be the Obama Administration.

I earnestly hope I'm wrong.

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