The President of the United States wants to give a motivational speech directed at school kids. Our own export, Arnie Duncan, has facilitated this action. Obama hopes to speak to the value of persistence and hard work- the value of education. To allow schools to justify the use of time, the Department of Education comes up with a study guide, to remind kids that Obama is their president, too. OK- maybe the act of creating activities to involve kids in government is over reaching- no good deed goes unpunished. The furor this broadcast, available but not mandated, has caused is hilarious. And sad. It speaks volumes about fear of change.
It has given John Kass another opportunity to sputter and write another lame-ass column. Well, at least it isn’t beer can chicken.
It has given a range of haters the chance to sputter about fascism, socialism, brainwashing. I cannot wait to see what hilarious spin Glenn Beck puts on this. He even has charts these days. To see the wheels come off his bus has been an added bonus to the tragic loss of rationality in today’s sound-bite cable news “analyses”. He cannot even spell. Oh- maybe he has a learning disability he can write a book about, which will become a best seller by virtue of the plethora of monosyllabic bottom feeders that need a hero. Nice pick. He cannot even keep his stories straight from week to week.
It has given a range of citizens, most of whom never read the text of the speech, a chance to call schools and rage. If there was always that level of interest in kids’ education, the President wouldn’t have to give a pep talk.
Once the rabble rousers familiarized themselves with the text, and saw its value and positive message, they had to go to Plan B- attacking the study guide, because it encouraged kids to write to the President. Every teacher knows the value of getting kids engaged enough to write. The President encouraged this straight-from-the lesson-plan activity, and now he is a Communist. I give up.
Could it be that the kids who most need to succeed (and have the fewest tools in their tool box to do it) might benefit by a pep talk from a man who worked his ass off in every educational setting he encountered? What in the world has happened to us that ANYONE would fear such encouragement. Kids can be inspired, engaged and amused. But trust me, kids are not robots who can be programmed by a TV broadcast. If they were, someone would have figured out a way to get them all perfect SATs via electronic programming. Kids should be honored that their job-education- is important to the President. Their success will enrich the future for all of us. Their failure adds to the rotting social miasma of crime and dependance. You can be a Republican, a progressive, a libertarian- but don’t you want a little hope in the future? Isn’t anyone tired of the fractious, senseless parsing of even the smallest gesture?
Schools can say no. Kids can watch at home, via C-Span. It is utterly ironic to me that having the President of the United States highlight the value of education has been demonized. I am discouraged, and I am not easily discouraged.