Friday, September 4, 2009

The Impending Speech

I've made a decision.
My kids are going to see the President when he speaks on Tuesday.
And I'm trying to understand what the furor is about.
Is it about the question (that has since been eliminated from the agenda): What can you do to support President Obama? Or was the word help? I can't remember.
Is it because so many people are afraid right now--economy, H1N1, healthcare--of issues brewing in our country?
For all the negative things about Obama, one thing you have to give him--he's smart. And I can't imagine that he would risk political suicide to address political issues in a school setting. (That's what Brad said when we discussed it, and I agree.) He's the president, and it's not the first time a sitting president has addressed school kids. The first on such a scale, for sure, but not a first.
From everything I've read on the government website ( and in our local paper, I surmise that he's addressing the importance of education and the role the individual plays in their own education. While I may not agree with him politically, I do agree with this.
And you can bet your depreciating house that I will be watching C-SPAN Tuesday morning, 9 am AZ time, to know what is being broadcast to my kids. That's my job as the parent. Micah's too young to understand more than they're watching TV for the morning, Lily knows the President's name, and Ben and Tucker are old enough to recognize and interpret information. If there are questions or issues, we can talk. I see it as a great teaching opportunity.
I wish parents cared about the daily curriculum and agenda in their kids' schools as much as they cared about this speech. Then maybe we could effect some lasting and effective change.

Two political posts in a week. And both moderate. What's happening to me?


  1. Jen thank you so much. It has been interesting to see the emotional chain of emails just within my family. I chose to not comment there, but I have to keep wondering what everyone thinks is going to happen. Kids might ask more about our leaders and we might have to answer more questions about our country. And that is bad how? I too will be watching. Maybe even at the school. I haven't decided, yet. I wonder if my siblings would be in such an uproar if the party they were affiliated with had the opportunity to be doing this. Anyway, I guess we have to wait til Tues to see what all the fuss is about.

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  3. Since I'm out of the loop with no school-aged kids, I probably don't have the whole story here, but it occurs to me that people just got up in arms about this speech because of that service video where, at the end, a pledge is made to "serve the President." Frankly, I didn't like that either. The President is elected to serve the citizens, not the reverse.

    I do agree with you and Brad that Obama isn't dumb, and he's taken enough heat over the video that I think the speech will probably not be sprinkled with many (if any) partisan philosophies. So I'd let my kids watch it too, and like you, I'd just check it out myself so we could discuss it later in the event he said anything that bothered me.

    I've also heard that some people felt the study materials included had some leading questions that supported, at least tacitly, some liberal agendas. I don't even know if that's true...I've just heard the rumbles.

    Anyway, good post. And, I think, a good decision on your part.


    PS. Your kids have a good mom.

  4. Well usual.

  5. I am shocked at the controversey. Our President is speaking to children about education, just becuase I did not vote for him doesn't mean he doesn't deserve my respect of his office. Reguardless of what he says, and I will be watching too, our kids will be listening with the ears we taught them and the younger ones will just have the memory of listening to a President.

    People are acting like he is going to poison their minds in one speech, come on lets get real here.

    PS. will they ever get a spell check for comments?

  6. Well put! It is nice to see some rational thought on the issue. I do believe that our children (that are old enough to understand the speech) are also old enough to listen and discuss issues with us as parents. I agree completely, excellent teaching opportunity...

  7. The parents I have heard from are concerned on 2 fronts-1 the White House was refusing to release the speech in advance (they have since decided to publish it on Monday) and 2-the questions that were to be posed by teachers (How can you support Pres. Obama? How does Pres. Obama inspire you?--these have since been changed). Superintendent Horne stated he felt the questions and discussion outline provided by the White House was "worshipful" and did not involve critical thinking. I know parents who have contacted me have been concerned mainly about the "support" question, and how the teacher's political views may color the discussion.Like I said, they've been revised, and I think they are fine.

    Frankly I can use all the support I can get in teaching my children how important an education is! I'll take the President's backing here.

    I think you are right on target with why this is causing such an uproar. I can only imagine if life was bumping along smoothly, and we weren't in the midst of this debate, as well as a crazy economy this would like slide by. Glad you posted your thoughts, I was wondering where you stood.

    PS..I second Karen-spell check please!

  8. "I wish parents cared about the daily curriculum and agenda in their kids' schools as much as they cared about this speech. Then maybe we could effect some lasting and effective change." a former 5th and 3rd grade teacher, I say AMEN to that Jen!!

    I agree with Sue, I think people were mostly upset about the idiot celebrities pledging to serve Obama. Maybe angst over that ridiculous video spilled over? It's unfortunate because they are two entirely different things and once again this leaves more independent/conservative thinkers looking over-reactionary because some are not looking at these two things separately.

    It never crossed my mind or my husband's to keep our kids home on Tuesday. They will be where they are supposed to be. We discussed that if they have to complete any assignment about how to help the President (this was before that part was taken out), they were going to mention things like: I can help the President by praying for him to make good choices, praying that he and his family are kept safe, etc. Our kids have to learn to live in this world...and that includes fulfilling responsibilities (in this case, going to school) while remaining true to who you are and what you believe is right.

    The one thing that did not sit well with me was the fact (I know this to be true in our school district as well as several others I called just to verify...I am not saying this is the case everywhere.) that the materials were sent directly to schools, overstepping the boards of education/superintendents for them to review first. I wasn't completely comfortable with the Department of Education deciding they can have access to my kids whenever they choose. It hit to the core of my uneasiness with bureaucrats and government...more and more they are believing they can do whatever the heck they choose without caring what citizens think about it. Nevermind that there are certain processes for school boards to follow and procedures that hopefully give some order to our schools...the Dept of Education just decided to forgo those things because it seemingly matters less each day what "We the People" think. So, that was the only thing that bugged me...nothing to do with the President's message. I am all for promoting education and repsonsibility, and if he's the man that can inspire some kids, I say go for it.

    I am so sorry for the outrageously long comment! :{

    p.s. I sincerely pray you are right about him being too smart to risk political suicide. I pray he can keep his ego in check, because if he doesn't and he begins to believe he's politically untouchable, we could be in a whole heap of trouble. (But, that has nothing to do with Tuesday, and my kids will be sitting respectfully in their classrooms.)

  9. For teh record, i'm taking government, and probably understand more about political underties than ben. not probably actually.

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