Legitimate School Interruption or Propaganda?


Because I have two kids in the local city school system at the same time, I receive double the school memos.  So while Friday’s after-school-folder-clean-out yielded the usual classwork, homework and doodles, there were also some notices clearly indicative of these times in which we’re living: a list of swine flu H1N1 symptoms and (what I thought at the time anyway)  to be a routine parental notice with optional exclusion form.  You know the type –  I would not like my son / daughter to participate in the following school activity (fill in the blank, field trip, sex ed, open lunch, etc.), signed (parent’s name). This time the form was in reference to an address by Barrack Obama, the President of the United States, to the students of the country.  When I  received the memo, I was all in favor.  I would not be one of the parents who declined my child the opportunity to be involved with current events and history in the making.  I thought it was great that the President was making an unprecedented, concentrated effort to make a positive influence on America’s youth.  But then I read CNN.com and the other news outlets, and I saw that some people seemed to be using this as a political soundboard, and I think it’s just sad that some people use everything our President does as a reason to bring up racial tension.

I would like to steer my blog from most politics, however, I am a parent of two kids who are in American public schools, so this is an issue that hits close to home.  So whether you watch the Obama student address or not, whether you approve of the President and/or his message to students, consider the significance of the Presidential address taking place this Tuesday, September 8, 2009 for what it is – history in the making.

5 thoughts on “Legitimate School Interruption or Propaganda?”

  1. Reverse permission slips? I agree from what I have heard the address is going to be a plea to our nation’s youth to stay in school. On the local news, one of our areas school systems has actually refused to show the speech… although it was reported that the school may have second thoughts before Tuesday.

  2. Like I said in the post, I don’t really think it’s fair to judge the President’s intentions. I think it’s neat that the kids get to hear directly from our leader, whether us adults like him or not, and I think kids should be taught to respect others, especially the President!
    That being said, my problem lies in where my kids would look up to him – I am opposed to his views on abortion and some of the bills he’s passed to give teenagers access to abortion, birth control, and the morning-after pill without parental consent – but that is a good example of why parents need to be a positive influence in their childrens’ lives as well. They can respect the President, but they don’t have to emulate him or live according to his viewpoints.

  3. I don’t have a problem with the president addressing the school children. What I did object to was the almost mandatory participation that was associated with the initial press release. It came complete with questions to ask the students after the speech. This tone has been softened after the initial outcry and schools can opt out of showing the speech.

    Good for a president to speak to school kids, yes! Force all the schools, students and teachers to participate in the speech, no! The perception of this happening may have been a bit of hype, but it seemed more serious when all of the major news outlets were reporting the same thing.

  4. It’s all politics. Was the speech basically a mandated Democratic Party propaganda stunt… Yes. Are the Republicans making much-a-poopoo about nothing… Yes.

    These are impressionable kids, and Obama is a very engaging speaker who will definitely connect well with the kids.

    Some kids may be inspired and work harder — others will enjoy the break from boring class and write notes to their peers. For most kids, it will just be another day at school. This feels like one of those things that is “for the kids” but ends up having much more ‘meaning’ for the adults.

  5. Agreed. I do see both sides of the speech. However, there are those students who will see it as an excuse as a break from the normal routine and sleep through the entire thing. Remember Nancy Reagan’s “Just Say No” campaign aimed at school children… not sure how much of an impact that had in the ’80s.

    But taylhis, the parental intervention is the mark of excellent parentage.

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