But not mine?!
On the radio I just heard that some people are concerned about President Obama’s plan to address public school children next Tuesday. I thought, well, there’s always a minority with strong and vocal views. And then, at almost the same moment, I came across a note from Amelia’s school. They do not plan to show the speech to the children. Their first reason makes sense, they don’t have the bandwidth to stream it without interruption. Their second reason left me incredulous:
This will [also] give us a chance to review the speech so we can select segments that would tie directly to our curriculum. If we do decide to show a clip in the future, parents will be notified to give their permission or to have their student participate in an alternative assignment.
“If we do decide”? You’ve got to be kidding!
[I should not be blogging because I am still so stirred up, but I just can't help it.] This is something that I don’t understand at all. Perhaps some of my more conservative readers could explain this to me, because I can’t make sense of it. My child’s school needs to preview the speech in which the President is scheduled to “challenge students to work hard, set education goals, and take responsibility for their learning” because this may or may not tie in with their curriculum? I have a suggestion: [Such-and-Such] Elementary if you find something about “challenging students to work hard, set education goals, and take responsibility for their learning” that does not tie in with your curriculum, then consider changing your curriculum!
Also, am I to understand that the principal and teachers at my daughter’s school, who are completely unelected are going to substitute their judgment for that of our elected President? Now I understand that a lot of people feel education decisions need to be made at the local level, but this is ridiculous.
Apparently, there’s still the possibility that they will show a “clip” in the future. The entire speech is only twenty minutes! I wonder, does my daughter’s school plan to pre-review the local sports teams that will visit during assemblies this year? Will they edit those presentations for what ties directly to the curriculum? Or perhaps local sports stars have more legitimacy than the President of the United States?
I am shocked and saddened. I really like my daughter’s teacher, but to me this episode is a huge black mark on my view of her new school. On Tuesday, I will be keeping her home to watch the President’s speech. And Duncan’s school? I am calling the principal to ask his plans.
Updated to Add: I spoke with Duncan’s principal. His elementary school (same school district as Amelia’s elementary school) is going to show the speech to all of their 2nd-6th graders. They are allowing parents to attend the presentation with their children if they wish or to opt out and have their children do some other supervised activity. Since there is such a controversy, I think the school is probably doing the right thing. On the other hand, I think it’s ridiculous. They won’t be sending opt out notices for the rest of the assemblies they have this year. And the other outside groups coming won’t be offering them a transcript of remarks ahead of time either.
The principal thanked me and sounded very grateful that I had called. Apparently, he had been talking to people who do not believe the speech should be shown at school before he talked to me and was glad to talk to someone who didn’t think he was doing the wrong thing. It is important not to be silent, even if you agree with the position your school is taking.