There have been some questions from families about the upcoming address to students by President Obama, scheduled for Tuesday, September 8, 9 a.m. PDT. The address is about the “. . . importance of education. The President will challenge students to work hard, set educational goals, and take responsibility for their learning. He will also call for a shared responsibility and commitment on the part of students, parents and educators to ensure that every child in every school receives the best education possible so they can compete in the global economy for good jobs and live rewarding and productive lives as American citizens." (U. S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan)
A discussion about the importance of taking responsibility and setting goals is in alignment with Pleasanton’s Community of Character and the District’s work with the 40 Assets®. Teachers may choose to show the speech as a part of the day in the classroom. The U.S. Department of Education has posted suggested lesson plans (available at www.ed.gov/teachers/how/lessons/prek-6.doc and www.ed.gov/teachers/how/lessons/7-12.doc).
Parents/guardians should contact their school principal with concerns. Alternate activities and assignments will be provided for students whose families do not wish for them to participate.
Know the facts: Students will not be asked to sign any sort of "pledge" related to Mr. Obama's speech.
Know the facts: For every day a student is absent from school (excused or unexcused; illness or vacation), the District loses over $30 in revenue. "
Posted by Janna, a resident of Dublin, on Sep 3, 2009 at 8:46 pm
OMG, run for the hills!!!!
The scary black man wants to talk to your kids!!!!!!
God forbid The President of the United States should address the school children of our country at the beginning of the school year. It's going to be completely innocuous and all those crying indoctrination, etc and going to feel really stupid on Wednesday.
I can't believe this attitude is raising our next generation. Sad.
Posted by Interesting, a resident of the Another Pleasanton neighborhood neighborhood, on Sep 3, 2009 at 9:36 pm
Janna, thank you, you made me chuckle. And I know, yes, the majority of Pleasanton parents might think that this reaction is a bad thing, a really inappropriate response to the threat, no, The Threat of The Evil Axis lurking out there (no, wait! wasn't that George Bush's key response?)
But hey, even though I'm no hippie, liberal, love-child of the 60's, on this, the anniversary of Woodstock, I look around P'town and really chuckle and marvel: do any of these "helicopter parents" allow their children to process any information or experiences on their own... and learn and grow?
Posted by my fear, a resident of the Another Pleasanton neighborhood neighborhood, on Sep 3, 2009 at 9:44 pm
My fear is that my child will be brainwashed into clueless and ignorant libs as you two above, or worse. Try reading a bit of history regarding what made this country great. It is the exact opposite of the direction Obama is taking us.
Helicopter parent is a colloquial, early 21st-century term for a parent who pays extremely close attention to his or her child's or children's experiences and problems, particularly at educational institutions. These parents rush to prevent any harm or failure from befalling them and will not let them learn from their own mistakes, sometimes even contrary to the children's wishes. They are so named because, like helicopters, they hover closely overhead, rarely out of reach, whether their children need them or not. In Scandinavia, this phenomenon is known as curling parenthood and describes parents who attempt to sweep all obstacles out of the paths of their children.
Question: those of the parents attempting to "shield their children from the Eeevil that is Obama" -- when did you grow up? Did your parents do the same to you? Come to your school and prevent you from listening to The Great Orator, Reagan?
Posted by RightLeaning, a resident of the Birdland neighborhood, on Sep 3, 2009 at 10:11 pm
I assure you that what your teachers hear from their liberal teachers on a daily basis is far worse than anything Obama can say.
I say all Republicans/Conservatives should pull their kids out for the day that will show them the power we really have and maybe they will start listening. We can use the time to worship our Lord and Savior and pray for a way to get out of this mess Obama is creating in our country.
Posted by Stay Cool, a resident of the Another Pleasanton neighborhood neighborhood, on Sep 3, 2009 at 10:22 pm
I don't even think it's so much about the kids as it is just another opportunity for people to lash out against President Obama and his big schemes to "remake America." Everything this man does is twisted and made to seem like part of some evil master plan. Luckily, these boards in no way accurately represent the broader population.
Posted by PToWN94566, a resident of the Another Pleasanton neighborhood neighborhood, on Sep 3, 2009 at 11:31 pm PToWN94566 is a member (registered user) of PleasantonWeekly.com
People that pull their children out of school for the day because of a fear of being "brainwashed" are living in pure ignorance. The President is supposed to be addressing the students of America- he's not going to sit on the screen and tell them to agree with my health plan, my stimulus package etc. Why not embrace this day as a learning activity, a lesson on the government?
Stay Cool is exactly right- they are taking this opportunity and using to lash out at him. What is wrong with the President wanting to address students?
Posted by M, a resident of the Downtown neighborhood, on Sep 3, 2009 at 11:40 pm
Shield your children from things you do not agree with. Stand against any and all who get in the way of your agenda. Keep the kids out of school because Obama is not your president. Belittle anyone who has any thoughts that differ from the ones YOU have. Remember there is not room for anyone who does not agree with you in this country!
Posted by David Miller, a member of the Mohr Elementary School community, on Sep 3, 2009 at 11:50 pm David Miller is a member (registered user) of PleasantonWeekly.com
As a matter of course, I discuss and encourage goals, responsibility, hard work and the importance of eduction with my 3 children every single day. Moreover, I work very hard through my words and my actions to instill in them these fundamental principles; a love of God, the highest of personal integrity, respect for all people especially those most vulnerable, a heart full of forgiveness, and a profound love of this country and sacred respect of the ideals upon which it was founded and so many have given their lives to protect. Unfortunately, I have not see our President embrace these same core principles. In fact, his words and actions have revealed to me his deep disdain for such apparently obsolete fundamentals. Therefore, even though he is our President, I do not deem him qualified to attempt a teachable moment to my children on such basics as goals, responsibility, hard work and education.
Texas school districts push back against Obama speech
The president's address to American students, with its obnoxious study guide, has generated a push back in the great state of Texas. The superintendant of the Comal Independent School District in the San Antonio area has issued this letter on the district's website. Some key passages:
For those of you unfamiliar with this situation, in a letter received by CISD this week, Secretary of Education Arne Duncan stated the following, "President Obama announced that on September 8 - the first day of school for many children across America - he will deliver a national address directly to students on the importance of education." [....]
Although most of us agree that these ideals are notable, subsequent suggested activities developed by the Department of Education, brings into question, for many, the political implications of this endeavor. From the school districts' point of view, it is not our responsibility to emphasize one group's philosophy, values or ideology over another; that is reserved for you as parents to determine. However, it is the responsibility of the Comal Independent School District to effectively use the time that is allotted to instruction and ensure that our instruction is dedicated to the goals and objectives defined by our state, local school board, and our curriculum and instruction team.
That being the case, Comal Independent School District will not participate in the President's address or in the questions or activities that follow such address. To do so puts our staff in a very precarious position of having to answer questions that rightfully should be addressed by you the parent. [emphasis added]
The Dallas Morning News reports on reactions in the Metroplex:
Dallas school officials won't require students to watch the speech, and instead will allow teachers and principals to decide. The Highland Park school district did the same, saying, "We trust our faculty members to decide on appropriate instructional content."
Richardson ISD said it would show the speech a day later to those students whose parents give permission, and that no class time would be spent discussing it.
Some area districts backtracked on earlier plans to show Tuesday's speech in classrooms.
Allen school officials scratched plans to have some students view the speech live, saying they will record and review it, and then possibly replay it the following week in history and government classes. The Carrollton-Farmers Branch school district made a similar decision.
Mesquite ISD officials said they debated Wednesday whether to allow students to watch it live in some classes. But the district said Thursday that the speech will not be shown because it conflicts with some lunch periods.
Lovejoy ISD also decided Thursday not to show the speech, in part, because the district doesn't have the bandwidth to support live Web video on WhiteHouse.gov
Posted by Homeowner, a resident of the Another Pleasanton neighborhood neighborhood, on Sep 4, 2009 at 7:44 am
David Miller - under the guise of a soft, nicely worded letter you try to differentiate yourself from the tin-foil hat folks on this board who will also be pulling their kids out from school during the President's speech.
But despite all the niceties, you end up in the same camp as them, just without all the rough edges. You clearly imply, without any explanation of course, that Obama does not love our country, respect our foundational ideals, or respect those most vulnerable. Are you kidding? On what rational basis does Obama not love our country? If you have facts, lay them out. If you don't, I guess you could rely on an illogical rant of the kind displayed here every few minutes. Given that you believe Obama has a "deep disdain" for our country, this probably won't be difficult for you.
One of the most illogical comments I've ever seen on this board is your statement, "I do not deem him qualified to attempt a teachable moment to my children on such basics as goals, responsibility, hard work and education." Again, are you kidding? Have you seen his accomplishments from a very modest, single parent start through to the best schools in our country and on to become the President of the United States? I'm guessing Obama set and accomplished a few goals through hard work and education that all of us should admire.
Now, to state the obvious, we all do not agree with Obama's actions at this time. Why not let your kids listen for themselves, then have a discussion that evening on what they heard? Keeping them home from this nefarious speech will only serve as the starting point for instilling the hatred many adults, rightly or wrongly, have for Obama in your own children, furthering the divide in our communities for generations to come. I guess the us vs. them idea starts early.
Given that you prefaced all your ideals with the supernatural, I'd have expected a more open, inquiring mind according to that philosophy.
Notably, "The White House plans to release the speech online Monday so parents can read it."
The White House also modified the questions regarding the suggested lesson plan when they learned of people's concern.
This just doesn't sound like a brainwashing session to me. The administration is being completely open about what will be presented.
I hope people think twice about pulling their kids out of school for an entire day over a short speech, especially since the district has explained that there will be other activities available for students whose parents do not want them to see the presentation, and some teachers are choosing not to show it at all. To do so is not an exercise in showing your power, as someone phrased it, but rather a stubborn display of disagreement with the current administration in general. Children should not be used in this manner, either.
Posted by David, a resident of the Danbury Park neighborhood, on Sep 4, 2009 at 7:57 am
What a blog. The only person trying to use our children is our President for his own purposes. I will keep my kids out of school on Tuesday and will send them back the following day when it is time for actual school not propaganda. I would like my kids to sit in class and learn and would like our President to fix the economy, unemployment, the escalating war in Afghanistan, upturn in violence in Iraq, nuclear armed Iran and North Korea and all the other small things he does not want to get involved in while he focuses on another of his "campaigner in chief" themes or another photo op. Please Mr. President do your job!!!!!!!
Posted by Anonymous, a resident of the Another Pleasanton neighborhood neighborhood, on Sep 4, 2009 at 8:27 am
What is happening in other states:
"Districts in states including Texas, Illinois, Minnesota, Missouri, Virginia and Wisconsin have decided not to show the speech to students. Others are still thinking it over or are letting parents have their kids opt out."
"The Minnesota Association of School Administrators is recommending against disrupting the first day of school to show the speech, but Minnesota's biggest teachers' union is urging schools to show it."
Posted by Anonymous, a resident of the Another Pleasanton neighborhood neighborhood, on Sep 4, 2009 at 8:31 am
The fact that there is a speech to kids does not bother me.
What bothers me is that valuable INSTRUCTIONAL time is being used to view a speech about doing well in school. Shouldn't the time be used to TEACH so kids can do well in school?
Showing the speech instead of teaching would be like having a retreat for employees, during a busy time of the year, to tell them to work hard! (instead of getting work that needs doing, they would all sit and listen to someone telling them how important it is to work hard)
Besides, our kids already do well. Let the parents do their job, and Mr. Obama: do yours and fix this economy, end the war, etc.
Posted by ME, a resident of the Another Pleasanton neighborhood neighborhood, on Sep 4, 2009 at 8:39 am
Well said! May I add that the address is focused on students and their educational goals. AND it is the President of the United States. Some respect for the office is something that all kids should learn. We don’t have to agree with the policies of this or other administrations but we should ALL have respect for the Office. And that starts by LISTENING. We are and should continue to be a pluralist society. If anything maybe students will learn not to fear the Office or the man.
Posted by amador parent, a member of the Amador Valley High School community, on Sep 4, 2009 at 8:56 am
If we shield our children from all that we disagree with how will they learn. Open your minds to possibilitites instead of screaming injustice. If you keep your kid out of school please donate the ADA money to your school and don't scream when you get the nice ltter from PUSD about unexcused absenses. This is public education and starting in all our homes we need to teach respect for everyones point of view. Send your kids to private schools or home school them if you want to keep them from having a well rounded education.
Thank you PUSD teachers for teaching our students!
Posted by Alee, a resident of the Highland Oaks neighborhood, on Sep 4, 2009 at 9:05 am
Janna, you would be more likely to make me run for the hills than any person of color. That is such a racist remark on your part. How sad for you that you put people categorize people that way.
I have no problem with my kids listening to Obama's speeches. I appreciate being able to have dialog with them about what he says....at HOME and on our own time.
The act of tailoring something like this to schools on a national level and then creating lesson plans to portray this man in the most flattering way possible is INSANE!! And no I wouldn't want a conservative to do this either! Why? Because it smacks of fascism. It reminds me of something Hitler, Hugo Chavez, or Sadam Hussein would do. Why would anyone Republican or Democrat be comfortable with this.
The fact is, our dear president's poll numbers are slipping and he is absolutely desperate to invoke himself into our lives any way he can. Let the teachers teach about the importance of education without Obama (who is not a teacher) trying to teach for them.
Posted by jill, a resident of the Another Pleasanton neighborhood neighborhood, on Sep 4, 2009 at 9:15 am
So, are WE conservatives going overboard? I don't think so if you let Obama's record on education speak for itself. The following article is very revealing about what Obama's intent likely is in regard to his Sept. 8 address to school children. (Note to liberals: Read this with caution...because you have a problem dealing with facts and evidence.)
Obama plans to systematically “embed positive behavior” into America’s Kid
By Marinka Peschmann, Special to Canada Free Press Friday, September 4, 2009
Some conservatives are under fire for claiming President Barack Obama’s back-to-school address is actually an indoctrination tactic intended to brainwash America’s school children with his political ideology as opposed to the White House’s stance that Obama’s address is a harmless Presidential reach-out to simply encourage kids. Are conservatives correct or going overboard? Let’s let Obama’s education record speak for itself. In 2007, then Senator Obama introduced education legislation which “systematically” “embeds” “positive behavior” into America’s kids to “achieve important social outcomes.”
First, let’s look at Obama’s initial plans for America’s school children scheduled for September 8. According to the Obama White House press release, “As children across America go back to school, President Obama will deliver a national address directly to students on the importance of taking responsibility for their success in school…“In advance of this address, the Department of Education is providing resources developed by and for teachers to help engage students and stimulate discussion about persisting and succeeding in school.”
Next, as we now know, the White House in cahoots with the Board of Education created a lesson plan that included pre-address and post-address school assignments. The students, pre-K through sixth graders, were asked to write answers to questions like “What is the President asking me to do?” Then after listening to President Obama’s speech, the students would be instructed to write letters answering “what they can do to help the president” that teachers would later use in the classroom to “make students accountable to their goals.”
As CFP reported here, the White House has since withdrew their call for students to help Obama, claiming it was an “honest misunderstanding.” The address was meant to be an “inspirational, pro-education” message as opposed to a pro-Obama narcissist exercise.
Recall, prior to the election, then presidential hopeful, Barack Obama’s, experience with education was working with William Ayers, the unrepentant domestic terrorist and former Weather Underground Operative. It was Ayers, now a “distinguished” professor in Chicago, who served as “Collaborative” co-chair and crafted Chicago public school education policies to Obama’s chairmanship in the Chicago Annenberg Challenge (CAC). CAC reportedly funneled over US$100 million to radical activists and radicalized students. Story here.
Moreover, as CFP reported, prior to the 2008 Presidential elections, on September 27, 2007, then Senator Obama introduced the “Positive Behavior for Effective Schools Act” in the Senate. Obama’s education bill, S.2111, significantly redesigns and amends the Elementary and Secondary Education Act to allow, in part, for “State…local educational agencies, and schools to increase implementation of early intervention services particularly school-wide positive behavior supports.”
According to Section 3, “the term `positive behavior support’ means a systematic approach to embed proven practices for early intervening services, including a range of systemic and individualized strategies to reinforce desired behaviors and eliminate reinforcement for problem behaviors, in order to achieve important social outcomes (emphasis added)…” Story here.
Section 5 called: “Teacher and Principal Preparation to Improve School Climate,” mandates a new requirement for teachers and principals. It is described as “an understanding of social or emotional, or both, learning in children…such as positive behavior support.” Obama’s bill also provides for “instructional leadership skills to help teachers” satisfy this requirement.
In Section 8 Obama’s bill creates what’s called the “Office of Specialized Instructional Support Services” which shall “administer, coordinate, implement, and ensure adequate evaluation of the effectiveness of programs …” via a new “Director” who provides “continuous training and professional development opportunities for specialized instructional support personnel” comprised of “school counselors…social workers…psychologists, and others…” These “instructional support personnel” provide “assessment, diagnosis, counseling, educational, therapeutic, and other necessary corrective or supportive services…” for students.
Obama’s bill intends to extract–without restrictions from Title I funds. The bill “re-designates” funds to allow State educational agencies to “allocate funds to develop and implement coordinated, early intervening services (including school-wide positive behavior supports) for all students, including those who have not been identified as needing special education (emphasis CFP) but who need additional academic and behavioral support to succeed…”
Obama’s bill did not specify the “systematic approach” he plans to “embed” in America’s students to achieve the “desired behaviors” or “important social outcomes” his legislation mandates. Inquires to former Senator Obama’s Presidential campaign and now to the White House to define them have thus far gone unanswered. Perhaps Obama should explain to parents exactly what he means before he addresses American’s innocent school children this Tuesday. Indoctrination? Yes, no?
Posted by Stay Cool, a resident of the Another Pleasanton neighborhood neighborhood, on Sep 4, 2009 at 9:26 am
One can present that information a lot of different ways. With your insulting comment above regarding liberals, we can see your agenda. The information in the article above seems perfectly innocuous if viewed from the perspective of improving schools and stripped of the misplaced reference to Bill Ayers, etc.
Good news for you - the speech will be available for parents to read on Monday, in advance of the presentation. Parents will have every opportunity to make a decision on his intentions before the President speaks to our kids. So everybody wins!
Posted by Steve, a resident of the Danville neighborhood, on Sep 4, 2009 at 11:08 am
Well I for one am not a liberal nor a conservative but rather an independent who voted for President Obama and it truly scares me that any president would address school children and also write the talking points and direction for the teachers. I have continued to support him even though many of the things he has done I neither understand or in many cases agree with but I will also tell you that next week will be his report card for me and the deciding factor whether I continue to support him or go over the the other side of people who are unhappy with his performance. This focus on healthcare and ignoring everything else has got to stop.
Posted by Steve, a resident of the Danville neighborhood, on Sep 4, 2009 at 11:49 am
Absolutely was and did not like it when Kennedy invoked his Presidents physical fitness test. I want our leaders doing their job and their job in my view is to protect us and protect the constitution. I voted for President Obama because he projected himself as a change agent and thus far I do not see it but as I mentioned am still in his camp but he better start getting something done.
Posted by Crow, a resident of the Another Pleasanton neighborhood neighborhood, on Sep 4, 2009 at 12:35 pm
Posted by RightLeaning, a resident of the Birdland neighborhood, 14 hours ago
"I assure you that what your teachers hear from their liberal teachers on a daily basis is far worse than anything Obama can say. "
Then take your spoiled and isolated little brat out of OUR public school system! Problem SOLVED!
"I say all Republicans/Conservatives should pull their kids out for the day that will show them the power we really have and maybe they will start listening. We can use the time to worship our Lord and Savior and pray for a way to get out of this mess Obama is creating in our country."
BRILLIANT!! The school has allowed parent who object to tell them and they will provide other activites during the speach. TAKE the kids out for the day as a protest, so the :schhols will listen"?? So out school system can LOOSE funds?
And LIBERAL and the President are "Anti American"??
Posted by fear, a resident of the Another Pleasanton neighborhood neighborhood, on Sep 4, 2009 at 12:38 pm
That would be my preference, as well. I prefer for myself and my kids to be surrounded with people who love this country...vs. otherwise. Obama and his ilk (presumably that includes YOU) are in the "otherwise" camp.
BTW: Do you like how the messiah Obama is bringing us all together? Kum-bi-ya.
Posted by Timothy T, a resident of the Downtown neighborhood, on Sep 4, 2009 at 1:01 pm
I think "Love of Country" would include believing in it's very Democracy and the democratic method. The people spoke last November. Love it or hate it, it's what the majority wanted and I love our country for it (even though I didn't vote for Obama).
I find it interesting how people like Fear have gone from "If you don't support the president your a traitor" to "School children can't trust the President."
You can be a conservative without being a moron, try it on for size.
Posted by fear, a resident of the Another Pleasanton neighborhood neighborhood, on Sep 4, 2009 at 1:31 pm
My Dear Timothy and Stay (Un)cool...
Timothy: hmmm...America is suppose to be a REPUBLIC...and NOT a democracy! Learn the difference. Obama however is ruling it like a democracy where the simple majority wins...and screw the other side. A REPUBLIC is based on laws and a CONSTITUTION.
In Obama's Democracy where a simple majority rules, disregarding the US Constitution, it didn't hurt him to use ACORN's support at illegally registering thousands upon thousands voters (including dead ones, cartoon characters, etc.) to assist in tipping the balance for his majority.
Also, it did not hurt him to leverage his ACORN thugs to intimidate voters at the voting booth as well.
That's his Chicago-style democracy in action.
BTW: I should know...I lived in and worked in the tough southside gang-infested Chicago neighborhoods where Obama was a Community Organizer. Don't even go there with me regarding how his election was so "above-board" and "legitmate."
If not, let me be even clearer... anyone or any organization that is dedicated to hurt America economically or from a national defense standpoint, or threatens its Constitution I consider a serious threat.
Posted by Curious, a resident of the Del Prado neighborhood, on Sep 4, 2009 at 2:40 pm
Dear Mr. Fear- I'm sorry you appear to be so fearful of our President and his supposed takeover of our country. Would you please cite some evidence for your viewpoint? How has the President weakened the defense of our country? Has he overextended our troops in two protracted wars, one of which should never have been started?
I think if you do some research, you will find that the "ACORN thugs", voter suppression, and vote tampering where all proved to be false. Do you really think the GOP would have allowed a bunch of "Community Organizers" beat them at their own game of election stealing???
Posted by Amador Parent, a member of the Amador Valley High School community, on Sep 4, 2009 at 8:33 pm
After scanning all this rubbish I fear our town, perhaps a small window of our nation, is going to end up in as bad a state as places such as Israel, Pakistan, Iraq and Afganistan, intollerant of different beliefs and willing to destroy each other because of it. Should we divide our town into different factions of beliefs and only teach our children only what our small minds believe to be true? It took thousands of years for these problems to fester and become wars ours only 200 or so good job Pleasanton. Democracy at it's worse.
Posted by Julie, a resident of the Another Pleasanton neighborhood neighborhood, on Sep 4, 2009 at 9:14 pm Julie is a member (registered user) of PleasantonWeekly.com
Obama is not the first president to address students. Heck, George W. asked them to donate a buck to children in Afghanistan. He also held some classes captive as he went around pushing his "No Child Left Behind" program. I never took offense at that & I can't stand him. Whether or not I like the president, I think it's fine for the leader of our country to speak to children about staying in school.
If a person is worried about their child being "brain washed" by a 20 minute speech, then what I glean from that is either a) you are not raising kids to think for themselves; b) they are already being brain washed...by you!; c) Both a and b. I'll be interested to see the script posted online and to hear what exactly offends some people about it. I'll agree 100% if it ends up that the speech is inappropriate for children.
Posted by Alee, a resident of the Highland Oaks neighborhood, on Sep 4, 2009 at 9:43 pm
Like I said on another post... it's not about Obama's boring teleprompter speech. I am sure very few care about that. As president he has a right to give it. It's about the fact that the administration created slanted lesson plans to go along with it, so they could slant the whole thing to their agenda.
And I am waiting for someone to call me a racist for saying something negative about Barry O., which seems to be the trend among the racist libs.
Posted by Be Positive, a resident of the Another Pleasanton neighborhood neighborhood, on Sep 4, 2009 at 9:52 pm
Keeping your children home because you fear they will hear the President speak is telling your children that you do not value their ability to think for themselves. Those keeping their students home, do you even know that the speech is being shown in their classroom? You distrust your children's teachers this much? Look at the real lesson you are teaching your children- distrust, disrespect, avoidance, intolerance, and the worst...that they are not capable to critically think for themselves. Don't be surprised when they show the character traits you have taught them to you!
Posted by Julie, a resident of the Another Pleasanton neighborhood neighborhood, on Sep 4, 2009 at 10:32 pm Julie is a member (registered user) of PleasantonWeekly.com
Alee: "It's about the fact that the administration created slanted lesson plans to go along with it, so they could slant the whole thing to their agenda."
Alee, did you review all of the lesson plans? I just did.
To what "agenda" do you object? That they are encouraging children to think for themselves ("What resonated with you from President Obama’s speech?", "What do you believe are the challenges of your generation?", "How can you be a part of addressing these challenges?")?
Do you object to the "agenda" of helping kids to think about goals ("Now I want you to write your personal academic goal for this year and the steps that you will take to achieve it. We can revise our steps each marking period to make sure we are on track.")?
Do you object to the civics lessons ("Teachers can build background knowledge about the President of the United States and his speech by reading books about presidents and Barack Obama.")?
Do you object to the goal of teaching kids to listen and analyze ("What is the president trying to tell me? What is the president asking me to do? What new ideas and actions is the president challenging me to think about?")?
Everything in the parenthesis above are copied directly from the lesson plans; the first two from the 7-12 grade and the second two from the prek-6 plan)
I don't see ANY scripts regarding what "right" and "wrong" answers to accept from students. Except for where they are asking students to recall information, it is very open-ended.
The "agenda" to me appears to be discussing the importance of "responsibility, persistence and goal making" to children and likely how education plays an important role in acquiring those things. Wow. Scary. I would hope that the regular teachers promote those on a daily or weekly basis.
So the president will act as a Guest Speaker for a few minutes in our children's classrooms - what is wrong with that? Perhaps for some children hearing a discussion of the above from the president will have more impact than hearing it from the usual suspects (teachers, parents). That's often why a "guest speaker" is invited to a class - to offer another option for children to hear information in a potentially more inspiring way. I remember a football player coming to talk to my daughter's 5th grade class. I don't recall having to sign a consent, he spoke to them during "instructional time" and I knew less about him than I know about Barack Obama.
Posted by Alee, a resident of the Highland Oaks neighborhood, on Sep 4, 2009 at 11:30 pm
The administration, nor any polititian, should consider themselves a teacher. That is sad that they do. I don't think they have the right to create lessons for public schools PERIOD,although I have no problems with the speech. Too bad people are willing to let biased, non-teachers write lessons for their children :(
Posted by Pleasantonian-DP, a resident of the Del Prado neighborhood, on Sep 5, 2009 at 7:30 am
America, but not every country in the world, provides every child the opportunity to get a free education. And having a good education allows choices in life, helping the individual to set goals and succeed in their future endeavors.
Through a democratic process, America has selected Obama as our president. He is our nation's leader. I am thankful he supports education and is encouraging our youth to stay in school.
The message is simple: kids, stay in school and get a good education and you will succeed in the future. This is a message I want my kids to hear over and over as even in our lovely community, kids get sidetracked. And having the President, our country's leader, encourage kids to stay in school may help some kids do just that.
The kids that will be pulled from their classrooms so they won't hear the speech directly will most likely hear what was said anyway from other kids. They will then probably question why their parents took them out. At the end of the day, have your kids tell you their interpretation of what was said. The message may actually be in alignment with your family values.
One thing I notice is that there is a lack of respect for elected leaders, even the office of President. What does this do for our youth? (You can even see parents aren't respected nowdays.) Let's teach our kids to respect one another even if there are differences of opinion.
Posted by Kathleen Ruegsegger, a resident of the Vintage Hills Elementary School neighborhood, on Sep 5, 2009 at 9:09 am
Wouldn't this have been much easier if the address was made early in the evening (or on Monday?), at least sometime after school, so parents could decide what to do for their families? I remember plenty of evenings watching President "Enter Name Here" with my parents. It seems the backlash is really about usurping parents.
2) On what grounds do you claim the writers are "biased"? And, again, biased to what? If they are biased to having children set goals, stay in school, be responsible, etc., then what is your problem with that?
You are getting upset about something you've obviously not researched.
And, the kids pulled from class will learn that it's okay to cut school (i.e. break the rules) if someone thinks up a good reason. How ironic that's what some parents would rather teach their kids instead of *staying in school*?
Kathleen, you are likely correct that some parents feel "usurped". If parents want **total** control over all of their child's content, they should home school.
I think it's great the kids will be a part of history - an unprecedented speech. I think it's fine for our elected officials to (rarely) take a few moments to speak to our children. I'm not Republican and I don't care for our Governor - but if he were to give a speech about responsibility, goals, staying in school - I'd be fine with it.
In a nationally televised educational address next Tuesday Barack Obama is scheduled to, according to the Department of Education, “challenge students to work hard, set educational goals, and take responsibility for their learning.”
Concerns by many Americans that Mr. Obama’s televised address to schoolchildren will simply represent a forum for socialist indoctrination are wildly “overwrought” according to a Wall Street Journal editorial today:
“America's children are not so vulnerable that we need to slap an NC-17 rating on Presidential speeches. Given how many minority children struggle in school, a pep talk from the first African-American President could even do some good.”
While the WSJ editors criticized some of the Education Department’s post speech lesson plans they also condemned those “columnists who spy a conspiracy theory behind every Democrat” for “spreading alarm.”
Could a pep talk from the first African-American President “do some good” for minority students as the WSJ editors argue? Back in September of last year Steve Gilbert of Sweetness and Light pondered over our first African-American president’s prior academic performance:
“By his own admission, Obama spent his final two years in high school skipping classes, playing basketball, doing cocaine and getting drunk.”
After high school, Gilbert notes the following about Obama:
“Similarly, his admission to Harvard Law School is highly questionable. Where are his LSAT scores? And how does one graduate from Columbia without honors and yet get accepted at Harvard Law? Lastly, his ascendency to the Presidency of the Harvard Law school would appear to have also been a case of blatant affirmative action, since the student Obama had only written one legal paper — and that was quite short and remarkably undistinguished. So where are his grade transcripts?”
If Confucius were to describe a democracy, he’d probably say that the people are the “parents” and the rulers are the “children.” Children are normally required by their parents to be open and transparent about their grades at school. Barack Obama has sealed off his transcripts from the people.
Is it possible for the first African-American president to inspire minority schoolchildren about education when he continues to hide the record of his academic performance?
Many of us had to work hard, set educational goals, and take responsibility for our learning because our gender and skin color actively worked against us on college admissions panels. There were others however who could get drunk, do cocaine, skip class and still make it to the Ivy League.
Lao Tzu once said that “you gain by losing, lose by gaining.” Now I think I know what he means.
Posted by Julie, a resident of the Another Pleasanton neighborhood neighborhood, on Sep 5, 2009 at 10:10 am Julie is a member (registered user) of PleasantonWeekly.com
I don't give a crap what a 16-18 year old Obama did in high school! Gee, that any of us should be judged in our 40's what we did as a teenager is absurd.
At some point he certainly "persevered", "was responsible", "stayed in school", "set goals" - all the supposed points of the speech. And, I doubt most prek- 9th graders know about this whole issue with his transcripts, so my answer would be "YES", he likely can inspire minority school children even as he hides his transcripts.
I've read that George W. drank too much well up to 40 years of age - even was caught driving drunk more than once. I'd still be fine with him giving a speech with the goal of inspiring kids not to drink & drive if it was thought that he could be inspiring to kids.
Posted by Kathleen Ruegsegger, a resident of the Vintage Hills Elementary School neighborhood, on Sep 5, 2009 at 10:16 am
Stay Cool, "I think that delivering an encouraging message about the importance of education *in the classroom* provides context to the President's speech."
Yes and no. Clearly it provides context, but I wouldn't want to assume that parents don't provide that context just as well and within a framework of supporting that endeavor and other family values beyond the classroom, as pointed out above by David Miller.
Posted by Julie, a resident of the Another Pleasanton neighborhood neighborhood, on Sep 5, 2009 at 10:41 am Julie is a member (registered user) of PleasantonWeekly.com
I think we need to remember that this speech is not just being shown in Pleasanton - a predominately white, highly educated, relatively low crime, relatively wealthy area. I do NOT assume that ALL parents are providing "that context" or such support, family values, etc. to their children. I can suspect that here in P-Town most or many do.
I don't think a non-minority person can even imagine the impact on a minority child of seeing a minority president. I believe that all celebrities should use their influential powers for "good" & our president speaking to students on the importance of staying in school is proper use of his "celebrity".
Now, if he tells the kids to go home and convince mom and dad to support his health care reform plan I will agree that is inappropriate.
Posted by Janna, a resident of Dublin, on Sep 5, 2009 at 6:54 pm
Unfortunately since President Obama was democratically elected, the racism has become significantly worse in this country only it's under the guise of a fear of socialism. The unhinged people of the right are afraid because he's black. They could care less about policy. Right wingers are desperate and obvious and sick.
Posted by Alee, a resident of the Highland Oaks neighborhood, on Sep 5, 2009 at 10:31 pm
No Janna, I will not be keeping my children at home.
I agree he was fairly elected and I respect that he is the president. Like I said (which you obviously did not read) was that I did not like the administration preparing talking points to go along with the speech. It reminds me of something I saw in a film about Hitler talking to German children. And actually, I think Obama is getting a little desperate since his poll numbers continue to slide on a daily basis.
I think it is really sad that in this day and age people are called racist for disagreeing with methods the government uses. I question ALL governments on both sides of the aisle and you should too.
Posted by To Alee, a resident of the Another Pleasanton neighborhood neighborhood, on Sep 6, 2009 at 12:24 am
Really Alee, all the drama is not necessary. It is nothing like Hitler talking to the children of Germany, what a stretch!
The activities and discussion was created by teachers: "The Department of Education offers educators a menu of classroom activities—created by its teachers-in-residence, the Teaching Ambassador Fellows—to help engage students in the address and stimulate classroom discussions about the importance of education."
Actually, your comments and others like it remind me of a show I saw about the South during the 60's. The "fear" sounds just the same as it was during the civil rights movement.
American news outlets (well at least those not in Barack Obama's lap) are filled with criticism on the Department of Education plans to bring Obama's agenda into our nation's classrooms. The ploy to reach and teach our children through a presidential speech and through instruction guides (little red books?) appears to be stalled for now as parents -- if nor educational unions -- resist the idea of brain-swaying our children into writing paeans to Obama and his agenda. However, few have wondered how such an idea ever emerged in the first place. We do have some clues and they are unsettling.
(Remainder removed by Pleasanton Weekly staff because of length of post.)
Posted by B. Husein Obama Has No Business Advising My Child on Anything, a resident of the Another Pleasanton neighborhood neighborhood, on Sep 7, 2009 at 1:41 am
This is who advised B. Husein Obama... You are crazy if you think Obama is fit to advise anyone in my family:
Van Jones is Barack Obama’s “green jobs” czar and he is also an admitted communist who believes that white polluters are steering poison into black neighborhoods. He has gone even further with his racist views when he stated that only suburban white kids shoot up schools. Evidently he missed the news story about the Virginia Tech shooting.
And let us not forget that this man is a 9/11 truther. He believes that the United States government was behind the September 11th attacks. Van Jones is a radical and today he is also unemployed.
Van Jones has resigned amid the controversy surrounding him and it doesn’t come a moment too soon. While this is great news it doesn’t excuse the fact that Barack Obama appointed him to a czarship in the first place. It is disgraceful but not surprising that Barack Obama would have a man like this as an adviser. This man should never have been let anywhere near the White House in the first place.
But is says almost as much about Barack Obama that he would have such a radical adviser as Van Jones’s radical views say about him. Barack Obama has over 30 czars and he has them for one reason and one reason only– he doesn’t have to get them confirmed by the senate. Van Jones is an example of why Barack Obama chose to hire 30 czars and not make them official cabinet appointments– many of these czars would not make it through they confirmation process. John Holdren, Obama’s “science czar” is another example of the type of radical that the president has manged to sneak into high level advisory jobs. John Holdren has touted forced abortions and sterilization, advocated giving trees the right to sue, and believes that America should be held to “zero economic growth,” this is not the type of man that should ever be near the White House but he is because he never had to be confirmed.
While these czars did not have to be confirmed by the senate I would hope that the president still took the time to have them vetted, although we saw how thorough Obama’svetting process was with all of the tax cheats he ended up nominating to cabinet positions, and if he did have Van Jones and Eric Holdren vetted than he must have understood their positions on the issue. That being the case we can only assume that Barack Obama shares these views, or is at least sympathetic to them.
With an unprecedented number of unconfirmed czars advising the president who knows what other radicals the president has hidden in upper level advisory positions.
Barack Obama is a radical, he grew up and befriended radicals his whole life so it is only natural that he would bring his radical views and people who share his radical views to the White House. So while Van Jones has resigned we are still left to wonder who else is in the White House advising President Obama and what are they telling him?
Posted by Alee, a resident of the Highland Oaks neighborhood, on Sep 7, 2009 at 6:54 pm
"To Alee"- I am not afraid of anything, BUT I do reserve my right to judge what the the president does for myself.
I will not follow blindly, like others. I think it's funny that you think teachers and the department of education are unbiased. The teachers and their unions donated tens of millions of dollars to help get this president elected. Doesn't sound unbiased to me!!
Again, the president giving one of his signature teleprompter speeches is not a problem. Letting an administration create lesson plans of what they want our children to learn is another. It may be innocent this time, but it sets bad precedent to let politicians and their "teacher advisors" write lessons for ALL of the nations children. JUST LIKE Nazi Germany. No fear here, though, since I think the American public rejects this kind of stuff. Well, except a few blind followers here and there.
Posted by Humbert, a resident of the Another Pleasanton neighborhood neighborhood, on Sep 7, 2009 at 9:14 pm
I was in Blockbusters today and I heard two people talking about the speech and they said that Sarah Palin would be giving an alternative speech that children could listen to instead of Obama's speech. They said she would talk about lower taxes, less regulation of business and the importance of teaching creationism in schools.
I'm trying to find out how to get my kids in on Sarah Palin's speech, but I don't know how to.
Posted by To Alee, a resident of the Another Pleasanton neighborhood neighborhood, on Sep 8, 2009 at 1:22 am
Have you never seen a lesson plan before? How does this differ from the typical motivation teachers, texts, literature, coaches, clergy etc. give on a daily basis? Do you not realize that it is the Administration in Ca. that created all of our current standards taught daily in the classroom? Your reasoning makes no sense.
From this speech to Nazi Germany? Your anti-American statements show your true character.