Thursday, September 3, 2009

Since when is encouraging education a bad thing?

Brainwashing! Indoctrination! Political Agenda!

No, this isn’t a lesson plan about the Nazi regime. These are the words thrown out by parents after extreme conservatives took a spin on President Obama’s intended speech to school children scheduled next Tuesday.

Every day I work with adults who have realized how hard life can be without a college degree. How different would their lives be now if they had a strong conviction of the importance of education and the encouragement to pursue their goals?

According to my research, the concern comes from the resource guides that have been provided online for teachers to utilize stating that they “obligate the youngest children in our public school system to agree with our President's initiatives or be ostracized by their teachers and classmates”

Since when do questions such as

  •  What is the President asking me to do?
  • What is the specific job he is asking me to do?
  • Is he asking anything of anyone else?
  • Teachers? Principals? Parents? The American people?
  • Teachers could ask the students to share the ideas they recorded…
  • Does the speech make you want to do anything?
  • What would you like to ask the president?
  • Afterwards:
    • Have students create posters of their goals
    • Write letters to themselves about how they can reach their goals
    • Graph individual progress to their goals.
Do we know at this point exactly what President Obama will say? No, we don’t. But as a former teacher and parent, I think it is a wonderful thing that the President of the United States is taking time to discuss with children the importance of education.

Do we want children to stay in school? Yes. Do we want them to be excited about the possibility of learning new things and discovering their individual interests and strengths? Yes. Do we want them to learn to think critically about what others, even the president tells them? Yes! Do we want them to learn how to think for themselves and develop goals and plans on how to achieve them? YES!!
Will I keep my children out of school on September 8th because I don’t want them to hear how important their education and future is to me? No.
Removing children from school on a day they are to hear how important their education and future is for them is a horrible lesson for a child. What will they think when they hear about the speech later from friends or the news? That their own parents do not value education and think it is ok to not attend school if you do not like what you are being taught.
Next Tuesday parents and educators have the opportunity to teach one of two lessons: is education truly important or do my parents simply send me for free daycare and not want me to learn?

1 comment:

  1. I think it's important that our school children hear from their President. The President has a duty to not push his agendas (isn't the right plural agendae? spell check doesn't like it) but provide motivation to such subjective minds.