And that’s causing all sorts of furor? I think I can explain this.
Let us suppose that the initial lesson plan for following Barack’s speech tomorrow, the lesson plan that Arne Duncan said was “poorly worded” and that many Americans have reacted to so negatively, were still there. In that case, after hearing what is allegedly going to be an 18 minute encouragement to do well in school, set goals, and work hard, the students write a letter to themselves on the subject of “What I can do to help the president?”
And let us suppose further that the “help” our president will solicit from them is of this noble sort, un-alloyed by partisanship, a “help” that translates to each child in America taking personal responsibility to do his/her best in school and out, and thus help the country whose elected spokesperson and executive officer has just encouraged this sort of stock-taking, goal-setting, and dream-achieving.
Well, then will someone please explain just how in heck this is a scary, Nazi-esque initiative designed to indoctrinate our youth against parents? And how it might “politicize” the public schools? Could it not just work to energize an entire school year of effort by America’s children in a way that great leaders are able to energize their subordinates to superior effort in other fields of endeavor? Is there anything un-American about a “pep talk”?
Put aside the fact that Presidents Reagan and Bush senior delivered addresses just to school kids, and put aside the fact that when teachers make it a part of the curriculum, half of the students in a classroom will not take an artifact seriously: what makes the critics of the speech think that teachers and students would not be able to recognize propaganda and biased political speech should it be there? Let me just tell BO here: bring it on.
I know that were Barack to engage in inappropriate partisan speech, I and most of my English and Social Studies teaching colleagues would be all over it, and encouraging our charges to be forever skeptical of a man who would so abuse his position as our elected leader. And that would be an excellent educational experience too.
Just released are the president’s remarks. In them you’ll find the following scandalous political panderings:
“…at the end of the day, we can have the most dedicated teachers, the most supportive parents, and the best schools in the world – and none of it will matter unless all of you fulfill your responsibilities. Unless you show up to those schools; pay attention to those teachers; listen to your parents, grandparents and other adults; and put in the hard work it takes to succeed. “
“…at the end of the day, the circumstances of your life – what you look like, where you come from, how much money you have, what you’ve got going on at home – that’s no excuse for neglecting your homework or having a bad attitude. That’s no excuse for talking back to your teacher, or cutting class, or dropping out of school. That’s no excuse for not trying. ““…And even when you’re struggling, even when you’re discouraged, and you feel like other people have given up on you – don’t ever give up on yourself. Because when you give up on yourself, you give up on your country.The story of America isn’t about people who quit when things got tough. It’s about people who kept going, who tried harder, who loved their country too much to do anything less than their best.It’s the story of students who sat where you sit 250 years ago, and went on to wage a revolution and found this nation. Students who sat where you sit 75 years ago who overcame a Depression and won a world war; who fought for civil rights and put a man on the moon. Students who sat where you sit 20 years ago who founded Google, Twitter and Facebook and changed the way we communicate with each other.So today, I want to ask you, what’s your contribution going to be? What problems are you going to solve? What discoveries will you make? What will a president who comes here in twenty or fifty or one hundred years say about what all of you did for this country?Your families, your teachers, and I are doing everything we can to make sure you have the education you need to answer these questions. I’m working hard to fix up your classrooms and get you the books, equipment and computers you need to learn. But you’ve got to do your part too. So I expect you to get serious this year. I expect you to put your best effort into everything you do. I expect great things from each of you. So don’t let us down – don’t let your family or your country or yourself down. Make us all proud. I know you can do it.Thank you, God bless you, and God bless America.“
See what I mean? What can a critic fault him for here?