Latina Lista: News from the Latinx perspective > Life Issues > Children > A sad day in N.TX – parents revolt against Obama’s speech to students to stay in school

A sad day in N.TX – parents revolt against Obama’s speech to students to stay in school

LatinaLista — Since the dawn of education in this country, every school child has been taught to respect the President of the United States. For children, it’s not about politics but all about being the leader of this country.
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Take during his presidential campaign, Barack Obama talked to students at Manchester Central High School in New Hampshire and answered questions about the Iraq war and ways to improve education.

However, the extreme “partisanism” that has gripped this country since Obama’s election is now threatening the one enclave that was thought to be safe from what has evolved into passionate stupidity by critics of this administration.
The Dallas Morning News reports that Dallas-Fort Worth parents are threatening to pull their kids out of school on the day that President Obama is planning a nationwide speech to school children on the importance of education and why they should stay in school.
The unexpected outcry has left school administrators at a loss to rationalize an irrational response.

By midday, local school districts say, they were inundated with hundreds of phone calls from parents urging them to not show Obama’s speech at school.
Some parents threatened to keep their children home from school if the video was aired.
“We had no idea that there would be a public outcry,” said Laura Jobe, a Mesquite ISD spokeswoman. “It caught us by surprise.”
Cody Cunningham of the McKinney ISD said: “We rarely hear of parents pulling children out of history or government classes where they’re studying the politics or historical significance of a previous president.”

The reason given for not watching Obama talk about education?

Jim Greer, chairman of the Florida Republican Party, said Tuesday that the speech used taxpayer dollars “to spread President Obama’s socialist ideology.”
“Reasonable people can disagree” about Obama’s policies, Neal McCluskey, associate director of the Center for Educational Freedom at the conservative Cato Institute said. “But they don’t want their kids to be indoctrinated. This is potentially a tool of indoctrination.”

Hmmm. A tool of indoctrination to make kids see the importance of school and staying in it.
It sounds like what we’ve been wanting as a nation all along and all the more reason why objection to this speech is not just unfounded but so infected with this conservative irrationality that it’s plain stupid.
Needless to say, some of these hysterical parents have been successful in intimidating the North Texas school districts to alter their plans for showing Obama’s speech. Some will not show the speech but will put links to the video on their school website. Others will make watching the speech optional and only available in school libraries and others have yet to decide how to handle it.
Yet, it’s clear that this extreme partisanship that is trying to undermine the leadership of this country is gaining influence where it has no business.
Schools should be free to decide, without the threat of parental interference, to evaluate the message being conveyed to students.
Giving in to this extremism sends a bad message to our children that a vocal minority can dictate their ideology to a whole district, it is counter to what education stands for and it instills in these children a disrespect for the office of the President of the United States.
These are not the messages that our future generation needs as a foundation to build their own set of values and skills to form their own opinions.
Former President Bush has largely been silent since he left office but this is one time, as a President who valued education, he should step up and encourage people to see that a speech on the merits of doing well and staying in school is one that should be heard and deserves this nation’s support — especially if it’s delivered by our President.

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  • Che
    September 3, 2009 at 12:59 pm

    “Schools should be free to decide, without the threat of parental interference, to evaluate the message being conveyed to students”.
    – this comment is so fundamentally wrong in so many ways. when you base your whole discourse based on this principal, the whole point you are trying to make is laughable.
    Let’s try: “”Parents should be free to decide, without the threat of schools/ government interference, to evaluate the message being conveyed to students”.
    there, that sounds more like America to me.
    oh and for your next blog entry, how about you discussing the post speech assignment suggested by Education Secretary Arne Duncan…. and not the whitewashed revised second edition either.

  • Traci
    September 3, 2009 at 1:12 pm

    “Schools should be free to decide, without the threat of parental interference, to evaluate the message being conveyed to students.”
    Then you’re saying that the teachers who receive the money from the tax paying parents should have no say in whether their kids should be subjected to what amounts to political propoganda? I’m sure that you’d be screaming to high heaven if this was a case of Republican indoctrinatin.

  • Karen
    September 3, 2009 at 1:30 pm

    I understand and agree with many of your points. Except this one: “Schools should be free to decide, without the threat of parental interference, to evaluate the message being conveyed to students.”
    Parents have every right to decide what sorts of messages their children should hear.
    It’s important to respect the President; it’s equally important to respect parents’ desires for their childrens’ education.

  • Texan123
    September 3, 2009 at 1:38 pm

    “Schools should be free to decide, without the threat of parental interference,to evaluate the message being conveyed to students……”
    You really believe that the parents of kids in our public schools should have no right to choice? Isn’t that what diversity is all about? Being free to choose what your kids are exposed to-politically or otherwise?
    Have you ever had any problem with what is taught at our schools? Ever objected to prayer or racial discrimination? As a parent, we not only have a right, but an obligation to protect our kids from anything we feel is contrary to the basic beliefs we want instilled in our children.

  • Lynda V.
    September 4, 2009 at 12:34 am

    Any school that refuses to allow our President the right to freedom of speech should automatically have their federal funding revoked.

  • Marisa Treviño
    September 4, 2009 at 10:00 am

    Of course, parents should be involved in their children’s education but there has to be a trust level as well to know that schools know their role in educating the children. What these parents perceive as socialist mumbo jumbo from Obama is based on their own distorted view of reality and what they’re being fed by conservative extremists. If parents were as involved in making curriculum decisions as you suggest then there would be no teaching. Obviously, those parents are better off home schooling their children so they can “protect” their children from being exposed to such messages as the importance of education.

  • cookie
    September 4, 2009 at 10:18 am

    So all Obama was going to do is stress to the students the value of staying in school and getting an education? Something is missing here because no parent that I know of would object to just that and in fact coming from the president I would think that they would see how valuable that would be to their kids.
    I want to know the rest of the story.

  • Traci
    September 4, 2009 at 4:09 pm

    LC said: “Any school that refuses to allow our President the right to freedom of speech should automatically have their federal funding revoked.”
    Oh really? I would argue that parents have an absolute right to govern what their children are taught or hear from political persons. Let’s remember that the president is a political personage, being the head of the Democrat party as well as a governmental one. When he puts his political hat on, he has no right to force his ideology on our children. What does it say about Democrats that they would coerce by de-funding the citizens when they refuse to listen to the political leader of the Democrat party?

  • cookie
    September 4, 2009 at 5:11 pm

    As I said and it hasn’t posted for some odd reason, I don’t believe the parent’s objections were about Obama telling their kids to stay in school and get an education. That is sound advice. There must have been other commeents that Obama was going to make that they objected to although I don’t know what they would be. This whole thing makes no sense to me.
    I believe that parents are capable of forming their own political views on their own. I hear this all the time from the left. “They must be listening to the right wingnuts”. Where is the proof of that?

  • Evelyn
    September 4, 2009 at 10:04 pm

    Texas is my favorite state I lived in the Dallas area and liked it very much. If not for my business I would move to Texas.
    This makes me sad. Come on Texas!
    The Lies of Texas Are Upon You
    Life in Lubbock, Texas, taught me two things: One is that God loves you and you’re going to burn in hell. The other is that sex is the most awful, filthy thing on earth and you should save it for someone you love.” – Butch Hancock, Musician, the Flatlanders
    A friend called to talk about his daughter being caught in the middle of one of the kinds of controversies that only happen in Texas. His daughter’s teacher had sent an email that her school was not going to show the president’s national address to students in their school. My buddy Marcus is African-American and Native American, holds two degrees, and does not very well countenance stupidity and hypocrisy.
    “It’s not exactly a political speech,” he said. “He’s going to tell kids to work hard and stay in school and get a good education, and take personal responsibility for their actions.”
    “Of course not,” I conceded, “But Obama is a democrat and African-American and this is Texas.”
    “Yeah, well, I’m going to get Mia from class and bring her home to watch the speech and then take her back. This is garbage.”
    Actually, it is more like intellectual pus, a kind of deadly ooze that keeps infecting our national discourse. We tell people not to mess with Texas but that’s because we reserve the right to mess it up ourselves, which we are doing quite effectively. This latest hypocrisy, though, is almost beyond imagining, but is a logical next de-evolutionary step for progressive thinking under the Lone Star.
    During the campaigns and administrations of both Presidents Bush and Ronald Reagan, speeches and public appearances were almost mandatory for students and the religion of those leaders was forced on the crowds gathered in the taxpayer built gymnasiums. I cannot count the times that I attended political rallies as a journalist during school hours where students were told to leave class and come provide a crowd for the Republican candidates. Invariably, at many of these, I was standing next to my friend, a Pulitzer-winning journalist who is Jewish, as a Christian prayer was offered and the name of Jesus was invoked. Nobody saw the contradictions and hypocrisies.
    In Texas, we see this as a positive attribute, taking kids out of classes for candidate rallies and force feeding them the candidate’s religion. Hell, we’re doing even better than that in our school system. A number of boards of education have voted to begin teaching the bible in public schools. A statement from a school board in Central Texas indicated that the class will be optional and will teach the bible as “an historical document.” Oddly enough, we aren’t teaching about the Koran’s historical impact and power and that might be a handy piece of knowledge in the future for our children. I think the constitution is as clear on this matter as it is on the right to keep and bear arms. Church and state are to be separated. No damned religion of any kind or any of its texts should be taught in public schools.
    But this is Texas and the long, proud march backwards presses on; except we may soon begin dragging the nation with us into the 18th century. Because so many textbooks are published for our vast public school system, the curriculum standards adopted by the Texas State Board of Education have great influence beyond the Red and Sabine Rivers. Annually, while the rest of the world has acknowledged science, our textbook committee has to debate creationism and intelligent design and including religious faith in science books. When science rears its little head we have the bludgeons to whack it back into a hidey-hole, and when politics moves away from progressive, free-thinking, historical analysis, we teach the Rovian Revisionism of great events and personalities.
    The newest effort by our school board is designed to make certain our students know that McCarthyism wasn’t all that bad and that students need to be able to identify significant conservative organizations and leaders. This is coming out of the textbook committee’s latest hearings and, even though board members want Texas children to learn about conservatives, whom they identify in their recommendations, they make no point to mention progressive groups or personalities. According to Talking Points Memo, one of the board members griped about “too much emphasis on multiculturalism” when it was noted that World War II led to greater female and minority employment. Another member, scribbling in the margin of a critique of the textbooks notes that, “…if McCarthyism is noted, then the Venona papers need to be explained that exonerates him.” (Fabulous grammar from a Texas public school grad risen to political prominence.) There was also a note suggesting that Charlton Heston’s speech on the culture war, which made conservative hearts pound with joy, was a good topic for a textbook’s section on “effective leadership.” The standards on Richard Nixon say that the text should “describe his role in the normalization of relations with China and the policy of détente.” Maybe, just maybe, we can squeeze in a line about Watergate and resignation in disgrace and nearly destroying the constitution with corruption but be certain you cover China and détente.
    So this is Texas, folks, created by god 10,000 years ago with all fossils and fossil fuels in place, where black presidents are not allowed to encourage our children, there are two sides to every story, even McCarthyism, Richard Nixon is the man that saved the world, and the bible is a text book, and Fox News is on every TV screen in every airport and public place in the land. I suppose I’m obligated to mention that our governor is aligned with a secessionist group and appears at rallies citing our constitutional right to secede and, oh, I forgot to tell you about how we voted three to one in 1975 to ban gay marriage.
    Y’all come on down.

  • irma
    September 5, 2009 at 1:43 pm

    The objection of some Texas parents towards having their children listen to
    a speech delivered by the President of the United States concerning the value of hard work and love of country is a national embarassment. This uproar makes Texans look like a bunch of ignorant weirdos to the rest of the country.
    BTW- I AM a TEXAN.
    Everyone in Texas would agree that
    Social Security and Medicare are good
    for the country. Guess what folks, these
    programs ARE a form of socialism.
    Personally, I think the goal of education
    is not to indoctrinate along one particular way of thinking but to
    expose the student to multiple
    view points. Some Texan parents
    dont seem to understand what the
    goal of education IS.

  • irma
    September 8, 2009 at 4:50 pm

    “Then you’re saying that the teachers who receive the money from the tax paying parents should have no say in whether their kids should be subjected to what amounts to political propoganda? I’m sure that you’d be screaming to high heaven if this was a case of Republican indoctrinatin. ”
    Traci, I went to public school in the Dallas Independent School District in the late 1960s. I was taught about WWII , but no mention of the Holocaust. I was never taught about McCarthyism. I was forced to say grace at lunchtime -nobody ever asked me if I was a Christian.
    My parents paid taxes but nobody ever asked them if they had any objections to what their children were asked to learn or say in school. The big difference between my parents and fearful parents like you is that there was
    TRUST in the educational system.
    Whenever, my parents had a different view from what was being taught in school, it was discussed at home. What ever happened to intellectual discourse? It is sad to say, but it is apparent to the rest of the country that Texans dont trust
    their children enough to learn how to think on their own. It is too bad that the Texas of today is not nearly as progressive as the one I grew up in.

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