I am ashamed of my hometown.
I love the place where I grew up. I always have, and I probably always will. I can't imagine a better place to have been raised. But I am afraid it is becoming a different place. There have been signs of this change for the last several years. But an event took place this week that has me feeling completely despondent.
Next week President Obama will address American students in a speech on "the importance of taking responsibility for their success in school." This has, of course, been interpreted by the growing mass of people who have gone completely insane as an attempt to indoctrinate their children.
Across the nation, parents have been calling their school districts to voice their displeasure that the President of the United States of America is being allowed to speak to their children and encourage the values of personal responsibility and education. At the risk of understatement, I find this discouraging.
We have now reached a place in our country where parents are less concerned about the ability of their children to think critically than they are about ensuring those children are exposed only to a self-reinforcing set of ideas that they find comfortable. Perhaps they believe children who learn to assimilate and evaluate different points of view will choose to believe ideas they themselves fear. Or perhaps they simply fear their children having a skill they clearly lack.
But I've already given them too much credit because the above assumes the president was going to speak on a controversial topic. I can't imagine a large set of parents who are uncomfortable with the idea of their children being encouraged to work had and take responsibility for their education. It seems, however, that if that is the message presented by Barack Obama, then it must be a socialist message. Florida Republican Party chairman Jim Greer explains:
"The Democrats have clearly lost the battle to maintain control of the message this summer,'' the state GOP chairman maintains, "so now that school is back in session, President Obama has turned to American's children to spread his liberal lies, indoctrinating American's youngest children before they have a chance to decide for themselves."If the right would like to completely cede the values of hard work and personable responsibility to liberals, I say we take it.
It isn't just about the speech either. Supposedly what is getting people all agitated is the lesson plan that was sent to schools to go along with the speech. It includes such suspicious questions as:
What is the President trying to tell me?If those sound like questions designed to inspire critical thinking then you maybe don't understand what liberal indoctrination looks like. Actually, one of the questions that seems to be raising some ire is this:
What is the President asking me to do?
What new ideas and actions is the President challenging me to think about?
Why is it important that we listen to the President and other elected officials, like the mayor, senators, members of congress, or the governor? Why is what they say important?How you interpret this question, I think, says a lot about your worldview. If you read the word "listen" as "obey" (as in "listen to your parents") then you could argue that this is dangerous speech. If you interpret the word "listen" as "hear and consider" then you realize that a lesson to be drawn is that those opposed to a particular leader have perhaps an even greater stake in "listening." But I think some people are predisposed to believing the first interpretation of the word. That is how they use the word, and so it is how they hear the word.
A quick aside, Fox News helped me understand that it isn't just parents who are concerned about these lesson plans. "Education experts" are also concerned. Reading the story you find out that the concerned education experts are exclusively from the American Enterprise Institute and the Cato Institute. Color me surprised.
But, this post is supposed to be about my shame. My shame is not directed at the parents who complained. Those parents are disappointing to me, but as I've mentioned they are present nationwide. My shame stems from the response of the school system.
The school system that taught me and helped instill in me the value of critical thinking, education and awareness has decided to abandon all of those principles for the purpose of avoiding the ire of a group of lunatics. The school superintendent sent out an email to all of his staff indicating that he "refused to get caught up in all the political wrangling associated with this video presentation."
The school district will not show the broadcast live. Instead:
It will be reviewed within 48 hours and a decision will be made to allow or not allow the speech to be presented to students. Administration will also determine if it is appropriate for all grade levels or should only be viewed by older students. Once again our decision will in no way be based upon political motivations but based upon what is best for XXXXXXX students.
So that's it. My school is now an institution that:
- Values public relations over principles.
- Places no value on critical thinking.
- Holds no interest in helping students become alert members of society.
- Believes that school administrators need to evaluate a speech intended for school children by the President of the United States to see if it is suitable for children.
- Believes that not hearing what the elected leader of our country has to say could be of benefit to students.
- Is prepared to sacrifice a learning opportunity for students for a thoughtless political gambit by a few parents.
- Has no spine.