Wednesday, September 2, 2009

Obama To Address School Children - Noon - Sept. 8

Don't know what he'll say exactly - but the lesson plans call for the following (and full classroom lesson plans can be found here):
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 be 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?
• Teachers can ask students to imagine being the President delivering a speech to all of the students in the United States. What would you tell students? What can students do to help in our schools? Teachers can chart ideas about what they would say.
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?

During the Speech:
• As the President speaks, teachers can ask students to write down key ideas or phrases that are important or personally meaningful. Students could use a note-taking graphic organizer such as a Cluster Web, or students could record their thoughts on sticky notes. Younger children can draw pictures and write as appropriate. As students listen to the speech, they could think about the following:
What is the President trying to tell me?
What is the President asking me to do?

What new ideas and actions is the President challenging me to think about?
• Students can record important parts of the speech where the President is asking them to do something. Students might think about: What specific job is he asking me to do? Is he asking anything of anyone else? Teachers? Principals? Parents? The American people?

So apparently, Obama is going to ask America's school children to do something... I can only imagine the outcry if this type of thing has been done by George W. Bush, or any other Conservative leader for that matter. (As if any educators would have participated in this type of speech if a Republican, or Third Party type tried this same thing). Some folks view this as government indoctrination of policies and ideas aimed at the kids, buy hey... it IS government funded and run education.

But back to the lesson plan: The lesson plan emphasizes that teachers prompt students to think about: "What is the President trying to tell me? What is the President asking me to do?" "What new ideas and actions is the President challenging me to think about?" Sounds like a bunch of loaded questions, in a way. The President is going to be "challenging" our children with "new ideas". Don't you think parents ought to know specifically what will be asked of their children before their children are made to listen to this speech? and what these "new ideas" will be? Is the White House going to enlighten parents as to what the exact contents of this speech will be beforehand? Probably not. I'll bet most parents won't even know that this is planned. In the end, their kids will be a captive audience anyway. They always are.

For the record though, this is what Arne Duncan's Department of Education's website says about what the President will be saying:
"The President will challenge students to work hard, set educational goals, and take responsibility for their learning. He will also call for a shared responsibility and commitment on the part of students, parents and educators to ensure that every child in every school receives the best education possible so they can compete in the global economy for good jobs and live rewarding and productive lives as American citizens. "
So, what exactly is Obama's version of "shared responsiblity" anyway? Are we merely educating children in our nation's schools to be a good citizens and compete in a global economy for a good job? Are we focusing on them just being good servants of the State and their community? What about family? What about their home and siblings? What about the Parent's role in bringing up and nurturing their children? What about parental responsibility and authority? It's a good bet Obama will not be talking about any of that.

In the end, it might be quite possible that kids won't pay much attention anyway, then again perhaps impressionable minds will be soaking up every word and also be told how important every word, that the President says, is. Along with a message to study hard and do well in school, what else exactly will they be asked to engage in? More importantly, is this the first of many messages that will be delivered to them in this way by the president himself?

You might know that many parents are already deciding that their child(ren) will be sick and unable to attend school on September 8.

Consider these quotes:

"Every child in America entering school at the age of five is mentally ill because he comes to school with certain allegiances to our founding fathers, toward our elected officials, toward his parents, toward a belief in a supernatural being, and toward the sovereignty of this nation as a separate entity. It's up to you as teachers to make all these sick children well by creating the international child of the future." - Harvard psychiatrist Chester M. Pierce, speaking as an expert in public education at the 1973 International Education Seminar

"When an opponent declares, 'I will not come over to your side,' I say calmly, 'Your child belongs to us already...Let me control the textbooks and I will control the state. The state will take youth and give to youth its own education and its own upbringing. Your child belongs to us already….What are you? You will pass on. Your descendants, however, now stand in the new camp. In a short time they will know nothing but this new community'." Adolf Hitler

and on another note:

"Parental consent? Of what use is that to a government that believes that the only role for parents is to give birth and then get out of the way so the state can train the child to be a good worker in the global economy." - Spunky Homeschool

"It is the duty of parents to maintain their children decently, and according to their circumstances; to protect them according to the dictates of prudence; and to educate them according to the suggestions of a judicious and zealous regard for their usefulness, their respectability and happiness." - James Wilson, Lectures on Law, 1791