Saturday, September 5, 2009

Most of you know I'm a teacher in a public high school. Social Studies, English, but mostly Social Studies. Having a president speak to students via television is nothing new (Reagan, GHW Bush and Clinton all did, and we all know GW Bush was in an elementary school when 9-11 happened). What is new is having misinformed mouthbreathers object to the president addressing students. So my colleagues and I received the following from our superintendent on Friday. The Glenn Beck, et. al. Brigades have been using their cellphones apparently:

Dear Teachers,

In case you haven’t heard, President Obama intends to address the children on Tuesday, September 8th at noon. As a district we will not be airing President Obama's speech or utilizing the supporting documents for the speech. I believe his intentions are appropriate but we will let the political controversy to be handled by the parents. Furthermore, with Sept. 8th being the first day of classes it will make doing a public airing impossible.

While we respect the position of President, as a public school, we also must respect the rights of a parent to make decisions for their children when it comes to politics. We have been inundated with calls and emails by many parents both in favor and against the speech being broadcast live to students. In order to minimize any controversy and the potential disruption of the educational process, I have decided to leave it to parents to discuss or watch the speech with their children on their own time.

Our job is to teach children to think critically and think for themselves. Being in the midst of political controversy is not our intent as we begin the year.

Thank you for your understanding.



You no doubt can see the irony in the last statement. My boss isn't the brightest bulb in the chandelier to begin with, and "inundated" by calls probably means two or three. That's the way he operates. One tiny lick of a controversy and he's digging a foxhole and putting on kevlar. Jeebus, could somebody put us out of Glenn Beck's misery, please?

Districts near mine are having all students watch the speech. Parents were, of course, given the ability to "opt out", which is fine, as there never was a mandate from the Dept. of Ed. or the White House for all schools to watch (basically, they don't have the authority to do that). The default position is for all students to view the speech, but that is determined by individual districts, not the government. Yet more evidence that Faux News and their ilk have little regard for facts.

So my buddy at school who teaches AP Government says: "I wasn't going to watch it, but I sure as hell will now. What are they gonna do, send me a nasty email?" And he's a Republican. Nothing like being a Social Studies teacher and being told you can't teach your subject.

Love my frakking job!



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