The Year of Moving Forward

The Year of Moving Forward
At our 4 person wedding reception in DC

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

I am embarrassed

I am embarrassed for our country.

The fact that school administrators are not allowing their pupils to hear an inspiring, non-partisan message about the importance of education is bewildering. Oh, I've heard the right wingers saying he's trying to deliver a subliminal message to indoctrinate our kids and all, sure - that's to be expected from those folks. But I would think administrators in schools would have better judgement than to be swayed by the birther/deather/pro-dropouters.

By "pro-dropouters" I mean...well, wouldn't it be ironic if the president's speech did influence kids to stay in school, so that as the years go by, the number of kids who heard the president and stayed in school and went on to have productive lives is higher, and of the kids who did not hear the president a greater number drop out and become a burden on society?

Is it so bad that the kids might hear this? (from the President's prepared remarks):

And this isn’t just important for your own life and your own future. What you make of your education will decide nothing less than the future of this country. What you’re learning in school today will determine whether we as a nation can meet our greatest challenges in the future.

That's what it's all about. Promoting education, promoting a learning attitude, to create a desire to better oneself through education.

Here is more from the prepared remarks the president will give.

Maybe you could be a good writer – maybe even good enough to write a book or articles in a newspaper – but you might not know it until you write a paper for your English class. Maybe you could be an innovator or an inventor – maybe even good enough to come up with the next iPhone or a new medicine or vaccine – but you might not know it until you do a project for your science class. Maybe you could be a mayor or a Senator or a Supreme Court Justice, but you might not know that until you join student government or the debate team.

I decided to see what the area schools were doing so I made some phone calls this morning. This is what I heard from the person in the office of each school who answered the phone. The answers may or may not be official policy.

In Bessemer I called the superintendent's office, but could get no further than answering machines. So I called each school.

At Jess Lanier, all students will watch the president.

Davis Middle School - They don't have access in all the rooms, but some will watch and some will not. The administrator I spoke with then said "I don't know anything about it." (3 hours before the speech)

Abrams Elementary School - They are recording the speech to show later. They are going on with their regular instructional program during the day.

Hard Elementary - The person who answered the phone hung up on me.

Greenwood Elementary - They have not decided (3 hours before the speech). Referred me to the central office (where I had already tried but got a recording, I will try again.)

Jonesboro Elementary - I was referred to the librarian who said a decision had not been made, and when I asked when it might be since the speech was in 2-1/2 hours, she said goodbye and hung up on me.

Westhills Elementary - Will be set up so that teachers can show it if they choose to.

McAdory Elementary - No, and when I asked why, I was told "Because the principal said so."

McAdory Middle School - It's up to the teachers. They can show it but they cannot make any assignments about it.

McAdory High School - It's the teacher's option, and also the student's option.

Bessemer Academy - Not showing. Then hesitatingly said that only the government class might show it, then said if other teachers want to show it they can.

Let me just add right here that the Bessemer school system needs to have some mandatory telephone skills and etiquette training for their employees, especially at Jonesboro elementary and Hard elementary.

On Fox News yesterday Newt Gingrich and others agreed that the speech is a good thing and that students should be allowed to watch it and then discuss it.

I have read the speech. There is nothing controversial, no policy promotion or anything like that. But even if there was, is it not good for students to hear different views on subjects and then discuss their viewpoints? Is that not what school and education is about?

Then there is this (don't take it seriously).


Angela said...

I am a teacher. I also consider myself a middle-of-the-road American.

While I agree that the content of the message the President wants to deliver is of a very positive nature, the issue I have is with the President himself.

We have already learned that he a 100% politician. He is leading us down a road of more and more and more government control. That is something that you cannot deny. His agenda has a socialist tone to it, and because of that, I won't take time for the speech in my classroom.

It is not that I am un-American. It is that, for the first time in my 48 years of living, I think we have a President who does NOT have the best interest of this country at heart, but is more interested in POWER. THAT scares me.

Joe said...

What it shows is that you do not believe in letting kids hear more than one side of an issue and discussing it. Not that what the president talked about has "sides," but it is evident that you only want your students to hear what you believe in, which is more dangerous than letting them hear all sides of an issue and making up their own minds. Control.