Dear Readers: My beloved husband, Horemheb, has been quietly supportive of all my Tea Party/Tax Revolt work on behalf of my local “mob” — the Southern California Tax Revolt Coalition. His main efforts related to Tea Parties have been watching the Young Prince while I am at events, making travel arrangements, patiently enduring my post-event fatigue, and diligently working to support free enterprise and my political t-shirt habit.
However, that changed today. The game changer? The fact President Obama has deemed it appropriate to usurp precious moments of my son’s first day back at school to give an address. This was the straw that broke the camel’s back. Horemheb is now on the phone to the school. Since it is the Young Prince’s First Day, we don’t want to miss by being absent (we are leaving in 2 weeks for a Hawaii trip, too). My husband will be determining if I can go and hear the speech, too. I will then blog about it.
For those of you who are interested, here is the text of the program they are intending to present:
PreK-6 Menu of Classroom Activities:
President Obama’s Address to Students Across America
Produced by Teaching Ambassador Fellows, U.S. Department of Education
September 8, 2009
Before the Speech: Teachers can build background knowledge about the President of the United States and his speech by reading books about presidents and Barack Obama and motivate students by asking the following questions: Who is the President of the United States? What do you think it takes to be President? To whom do you think the President is going to be speaking? Why do you think he wants to speak to you? What do you think he will say to you?
Teachers can ask students to imagine being the President delivering a speech to all of the students in the United States. What would you tell students? What can students do to help in our schools? Teachers can chart ideas about what they would say.
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?
During the Speech: As the President speaks, teachers can ask students to write down key ideas or phrases that are important or personally meaningful. Students could use a note-taking graphic organizer such as a Cluster Web, or students could record their thoughts on sticky notes. Younger children can draw pictures and write as appropriate. As students listen to the speech, they could think about the following: What is the President trying to tell me? What is the President asking me to do? What new ideas and actions is the President challenging me to think about?
Students can record important parts of the speech where the President is asking them to do something. Students might think about: What specific job is he asking me to do? Is he asking anything of anyone else? Teachers? Principals? Parents? The American people?
Students can record any questions they have while he is speaking and then discuss them after the speech. Younger children may need to dictate their questions.
After the Speech: Teachers could ask students to share the ideas they recorded, exchange sticky notes or stick notes on a butcher paper poster in the classroom to discuss main ideas from the speech, i.e. citizenship, personal responsibility, civic duty.
Students could discuss their responses to the following questions: What do you think the President wants us to do? Does the speech make you want to do anything? Are we able to do what President Obama is asking of us? What would you like to tell the President?
Teachers could encourage students to participate in the Department of Education’s “I Am What I Learn” video contest.
On September 8th the Department will invite K-12 students to submit a 2 video no longer than 2 min, explaining why education is important and how their education will help them achieve their dreams. Teachers are welcome to incorporate the same or a similar video project into an assignment. More details will be released via http://www.ed.gov.
Extension of the Speech: Teachers can extend learning by having students
Create posters of their goals. Posters could be formatted in quadrants or puzzle pieces or trails marked with the labels: personal, academic, community, country. Each area could be labeled with three steps for achieving goals in those areas. It might make sense to focus on personal and academic so community and country goals come more readily.
Write letters to themselves about what they can do to help the president. These would be collected and redistributed at an appropriate later date by the teacher to make students accountable to their goals.
Write goals on colored index cards or precut designs to post around the classroom.
Interview and share about their goals with one another to create a supportive community.
Participate in School wide incentive programs or contests for students who achieve their goals.
Write about their goals in a variety of genres, i.e. poems, songs, personal essays.
Create artistic projects based on the themes of their goals.
Graph student progress toward goals.
If this weren’t my son at stake, I could have a lot of fun with the video entries. Fish again, anyone? But, I digress.
My husband noted the following glaring discrepancy between the above outline and this press release published via the Department of Education:
President Obama announced that on September 8 — the first day of school for many children across America — he will deliver a national address directly to students on the importance of education.
This is the first time an American president has spoken directly to the nation’s school children about persisting and succeeding in school.
The agenda provided focuses mainly on OBAMA — how to help him, why we should listen to him. I have highlighted the sentences of most concern in the above text. Note the repeated references to community! I do not see how any of this stresses the importance of education — and contradicts the mild tenor of the press release completely. In the hands of an aggressive, Obama-supporting teacher, the proposed agenda can be made into a strong indoctrination lesson.
There is a reason WHY no President has done this thing before in history. It is crass.
Horemheb wants to encourage those with different school schedules to be absent. If it weren’t for the fact it was the Young Prince’s first day back — and the usual introductions are hard to do on another day and we feel that he needs to be there — he would be absent. This absence would cost the school money, and send a message about the tolerance of the American parent for this type of ham-handed political stunt wrapped up like a dead fish in a veneer of civics.
I have just notified by team at SoCal-TRC about an idea promoted by pundit Tammy Bruce: September 8–Parentally Approved Skip School Day (P.A.S.S.) Teapartiers, TownHall Patriots–help organize PASS Day picnics
My Internet friend Rosita, is planning to do this very thing. She writes wittily, click HERE for the full text. We are thinking there is going to be a major outbreak of OBAMA FLU!
Stay tuned! I will keep you posted!
UPDATE: Horemheb indicates the school office was closed. A Communications Officer for the local Administrative offices of the San Diego Unified School District indicates that individual schools and teachers will be given the option of running the President’s address or not. Also, there is this today from Michelle Malkin.
UPDATE II: A friend writes this about how my son’s school plans to handle this situation: I had a chance to talk to Mr. M. this morning at K assessments. I asked if he planned on showing the Obama speech schoolwide. He told me that the school has had several phone calls from concerned parents, so he was going to hold a teachers meeting tomorrow to see how many of the instructors plan on showing the speech. He also said we parents can bring a note in on Tuesday asking the teachers to exclude our kids from the viewing.