This is an update to my post about the President’s school address from earlier this week. Next week’s planned speech has really created a controversy about the speech contents and curriculum, you may have heard about it in the news.
Some of the uproar is whether the speech brings politics into the classroom, lack of trust for the President, the cult of personality that surrounds the president, federal circumventing local control, and questionable curriculum such as how does President Obama inspire you. Of course, the White House finds this silly:
“I think we’ve reached a little bit of the silly season when the president of the United States can’t tell kids in school to study hard and stay in school,” presidential spokesman Robert Gibbs told reporters. “I think both political parties agree that the dropout rate is something that threatens our long-term economic success.”
The timing of the “I Pledge” video uproar in Utah didn’t help either, that I wrote about here. Please be aware it was a local decision to show the video at the school assembly. That is a separate issue from the speech next Tuesday. I bring it up because it demonstrates the cult of personality. I do not think it will be shown on Tuesday. The video was produced by supporters of President Obama, and the troubling content has the celebs pledging to be servants of the President. Not pledging to our flag, not to the country, not to the constitution, but to the President, I find that shocking. That is part of the cult of personality that concerns so many, myself included.
Although President Obama plans to speak to the nation’s school children, it really is up to the local schools whether the speech will be broadcast and what activities will occur. According to the Arizona Republic this morning, there is a mixture of what will happen in the Phoenix area–Tempe Elementary where everyone will watch, Mesa Public Schools where you have to contact the school to opt-out, some other districts are sending home an opt-out form. If you are a parent and are concerned be sure to contact your local school or superintendent to find out what is happening at your school.
As reported in the East Valley Tribune:
State schools chief Tom Horne said materials distributed to schools in preparation for Obama’s speech next week “is not good educational policy.”
Horne, a Republican, said he has not offered any directive to Arizona’s schools regarding the speech or watching it. “I don’t have the power to direct them,” he said.
To reduce parental anxiety, the White House will be publishing the speech contents on Monday and the teaching materials that were sent out have been changed to remove the “write a letter on how a student can help the President” from the suggested activities.
Tuesday’s speech will be 9 a.m. Arizona time, noon Eastern. You can watch on CSPAN or at the whitehouse.gov/live.