Monday, September 7, 2009

To Listen or not to Listen That is the Question

The following is a list of 11 reasons why Obama should stay out of the classroom by Michael S. Rozeff a retired professor.

1. The speech is beyond the President’s constitutional powers.
2. The President is supporting a national role in education, which also is unconstitutional.
3. The President is not supporting his oath of office, so he is conveying an anti-constitutional message to children.
4. The President is crossing a boundary between the political and social spheres. That boundary is in place in order to control government power and maintain a healthy free society.
5. The President is augmenting national power and influence.
6. The President is starting a new precedent that has dangerous implications.
7. The President’s speech cannot possibly be non-political. The very act itself is politically in furtherance of government and an enhanced government role.
8. The President also leads his party, and that fact may influence children.
9. The President may have an undue influence over children due to his position and power.
10. Will fairness considerations lead to equal time for opposition leaders?
11. Presidential access to communications is dangerous enough without extending it to youth.

To read the rest of this story go to Lew

Arne Duncan Secretary of Eduction is reporting that this is the first time a President is speaking directly to America's School Children. His statement appears to contradict the Union Leader article below. When and if I have a chance I will investigate George H. Bush's and Reagan's address to children. I believe Reagan's speech was on the television that is different. As I said, Arne Duncan's words and I quote are "This is the first time an American president has spoken directly to the nation’s school children about persisting and succeeding in school."

I do not want indoctrination from the left or the right occurring in public schools, especially with the poor performance in public schools we need to focus on educating our students not indoctrinating our students.

The below piece appears in the Union Leader. Still no response from Croydon or Newport schools.

Don't play the race card, there are plenty of black people who oppose this as well. Have a logical debate if you have to play the race card you can not have a logical debate on the subject matter.

Spelling and grammar errors as well as typos are left as an exercise for my readers.

Some NH schools to tune out Obama

Sunday News Correspondent
Sunday, Sep. 6, 2009

As debate continues over President Barack Obama's planned Tuesday address to the nation's schoolchildren, many New Hampshire school districts are letting teachers and parents decide if -- and when -- students will listen to the speech.

For some teachers, that decision won't be made until after the speech -- once they've have a chance to listen to a recorded version and evaluate its educational value.

According to the White House, the speech will encourage students to stay in school, work hard to achieve goals and participate in community service. Some critics of the President, however, view the speech as an attempt to "indoctrinate" students to Obama's views.

Controversy over the speech erupted last week on cable news shows, talk radio and the Web.

Here in New Hampshire, some parents have been voicing their opinions to their local school officials.

Calls from concerned parents, many of them opposed to having their children listen to the speech in school, led Tim Mayes, Bedford's superintendent, to update his blog Friday afternoon.

The timing of the speech, logistical difficulties and technology "limitations" make it impossible for all Bedford students to watch the live broadcast of the speech, wrote Mayes. Teachers who can fit the speech into their lesson plan for the day, are permitted to do so, but are instructed to use their school Web pages to notify parents of their intentions.

Parents who want to watch the broadcast of the speech with their children are welcome, and students will be allowed to opt out of the activity, Mayes said.

"What we would typically do is, they would deal with that teacher and that teacher would give them a different instructional activity," he said.

No go in Manchester

It appears no students will be listening to the speech live in Manchester public schools.

Thomas Brennan, the district's superintendent, said the President's speech is being handled under a district policy on outside speakers in the classroom, which allows individual school principals to determine whether the presentation has educational value. Notice is sent to all parents, and if some do not want to have their children participate, the school has to provide a "meaningful alternative," he said.

As of Friday, Brennan said, no city schools were planning to participate in Tuesday's live broadcast, although some may record the speech for possible use at a later date.

Michael Delahunty, Salem's superintendent of schools, is leaving the decision up to teachers, with students allowed to opt out. But he said he does not see the speech as political or ideological.

"It's a matter of somebody in a position of high regard and accomplishment just telling kids they ought to press forward and stay in school," he said.

If this were 50 years ago, he said, schools would have been clamoring to have children all gathered around a single TV set to listen to the President.

"My personal opinion is that's a mistake (to opt out)," Delahunty said. "I think the parent ought to be watching it, too, and have a dialogue with the child afterward."

Mike Morgan, superintendent of School Administrative Unit 16 in Exeter, last week sent a message to all school administrators, advising them not to show the speech live, but allowing schools to tape it and consider showing it later.

"We have some concerns about a captive audience," he said.

There's also a practical, educational concern, he added: "I don't like teachers showing anything in class, generally speaking, without having some type of preparation for it."

Rochester Superintendent Mike Hopkins is leaving the choice up to individual schools, and students can opt out. He expects some middle and high school classrooms will participate.

And while he has received a handful of calls from concerned parents, Hopkins said, "We believe that what (Obama is) going to talk about with students -- how important being in school is and working hard -- we think that's appropriate."

In Goffstown, the speech will not be shown in elementary schools, according to Stacy Buckley, school superintendent. Mountain View Middle School faculty will tape the address for a possible later showing, but will notify parents first.

And at Goffstown High School, teachers will have the option of showing the speech if it fits in with their classroom instruction. Parents who do not want their children to watch should contact the school, Buckley said.

The U.S. Department of Education told principals the speech is about accomplishing goals and working hard, Buckley said. "To me, that's a very positive message we should be giving all our students," she said.

Charles Littlefield, superintendent of SAU 15, which includes Candia, Auburn and Hooksett, said district principals polled their teachers about the speech. "We quite frankly didn't find any teachers that were interested in participating, and we wouldn't make them participate," he said.

Parents' views

The issue has sparked strong feelings among parents on both sides.

Joanna Countemanche of Raymond said she has no problem letting her two children, one in elementary school, the other in middle school, listen to Obama's address.

"I don't see why kids can't listen to the President we as a country elected," she said. "Parents have a right to do whatever they think is best for their child, but not letting them hear a speech sounds extreme to me."

But Londonderry grandmother Helen Martin said if her daughter, now in college, were still in elementary or middle school, she would "absolutely" ask to have her pulled from watching the address.

Frank Vicente, the father of a Londonderry Middle School student, said Obama's promise to keep politics out of the speech is important to him. "If it stays apolitical, then I don't have any problem with it, but only if it stays apolitical," he said.

Diana Neel of Salem said she had no concerns about her high-school-age son watching the address, but she might feel differently if he were still in middle or elementary school.

"I guess I understand the concern for brainwashing or whatever at that age," Neel said. "I do think a parent has the right to opt their child out of anything like that if they want."

Garry Rayno of the New Hampshire Union Leader staff, and Sunday News correspondents Alec O'Meara and Clynton Namuo contributed to this report.

No comments: