Obama Teaching Students? PLEASE GOD NO!09.03.09
This Yahoo! news article comes out at a perfect time. A day when statuses all over Facebook have been posted announcing the desire for health care reform. A day when Rudy Ruiz writes a commentary arguing that the problem with America is the demonization of those who change their opinions or stances on issues after learning new information.
President Obama will be giving a speech about education directly aimed at students and that has caused a giant uproar from the political right. When the president speaks to a small group at a town hall meeting, it’s okay. Or when he announces his plans, goals, and hopes on national television, it’s okay. But the minute he speaks to our youth, to those who will be running the country in the very near future, then it’s indoctrination. Worse, it’s brainwashing.
Really? Oh right. Having an extremely well-educated man who finished at the top of his class all the way through Harvard Law and who also just so happens to be the overwhelmingly elected President of the United States clearly shouldn’t be speaking about the state of education to those who are actually participants in our education system.
So what’s the issue? That our children are so impressionable as to completely change their beliefs to blindly following whatever it is that Obama has to say? That’s laughable. It’s pathetic, really, and it shows just how clueless we are. Kids are smart. A lot of kids like to question authority. How many kids do you know just blindly follow whatever their teachers say? If they did, administration sure wouldn’t have much to do when it came to discipline.
This makes it obvious that it’s just more of the common and absurd partisan politics:
“The address scheduled for September 8, 2009, does not allow for healthy debate on the President’s agenda, but rather obligates the youngest children in our public school system to agree with our President’s initiatives or be ostracized by their teachers and classmates.” – Jim Greer, the chairman of the Republican Party of Florida.
Since when does listening to a speech obligate anyone to agree to everything that person has to say? On the contrary, this speech precisely allows for a healthy debate about the state of our education system. In any discussion, someone needs to bring it up, and here our president is being proactive about getting the ball rolling since we all know just about all Republicans will automatically disagree with him just because he’s a Democrat.
The reality is that Jim Greer speaks for the Republican Party by essentially admitting that the youth will agree with the president’s ideas, which are contrary to those of the conservatives. The younger generation helped give Obama a landslide victory and the GOP knows that this isn’t an anomaly. And again the attack is against Obama himself and not even the issues at hand. We don’t even know what Obama will say! He hasn’t even given the speech yet and the Republicans have already – by this outrage – announced that they completely disagree with what he has to say. If that’s not indicative of what’s wrong with our political environment, I don’t know what is.
Also, since the speech is only recommended, not required, viewing, not all classes will be seeing it. Sadly. I’m sure many public schools in highly conservative areas of the country will cave to the pressure and not air the speech, which is so contrary to the whole idea of education. Whether or not you agree with all of his positions on hot button issues, it’s still the President of the United States. Listening to his speeches can only be good for education – it’s a chance to discuss the American political system, the power of the media, the role of the president. The numbers of things that could be learned by this event are countless. To not use this as an opportunity to teach our youth would be an ironic outcome of this event and one that speaks pretty loudly to the state of our educational system before Obama even says a word.
Let’s keep focused on the issues. Let’s debate them with educated opinions based on facts and reality. Let’s make it okay to have common ground again instead of this notion that one side always has to concede some things to another group just for the feeling of saving face and scrambling for power. We aren’t all black and white on these issues. The sooner we realize that, the better we’ll be.