As most of you know, on Tuesday, Pres. Obama will be addressing the nation's school children from pre-K up through high-school. Predictably, many parents have a problem with this as it appeared at first to be fairly political.....
Some conservatives, driven by radio pundits and bloggers, are urging schools and parents to boycott the address. They say Obama is using the opportunity to promote a political agenda and is overstepping the boundaries of federal involvement in schools.
"As far as I am concerned, this is not civics education—it gives the appearance of creating a cult of personality," said Oklahoma Republican state Sen. Steve Russell. "This is something you'd expect to see in North Korea or in Saddam Hussein's Iraq."
Look, I have no problem with the President trying to inspire kids to stay in school, make better grades, strive to succeed, respect your parents and teachers, etc. If he makes any agenda overtures or makes the speech about himself and tries to inspire the kids to follow him rather than their parents, then that I have a problem with. It seems that since the uproar, the white house has backed off considerably on the politicization of the speech.
What conservatives have to fear is not the politicization of education, we already have that in spades. What we should avoid is getting sidetracked by silly stunts by the administration like this. If we go hysterical over this kind of thing, then nobody will take seriously our hysteria over health-care, defense, the Constitution, etc. Our kids are getting indoctrinated into liberal dogma daily already, what's one innocuous speech by Obama going to add? Conservative parents can use this as a "teachable moment", a phrase Obama himself likes to use. Explain to your kids that they don't serve the President, he serves them. Depending on age, explain the Constitution or other age-appropriate civics points.
We look a little silly getting bent out of shape over one speech, provided that Obama has toned down the political rhetoric and teachers don't demand students show fealty to, and a desire to serve, The One.
We should pick our fights when it's really important and this just doesn't register on the Richter scale enough for me to worry about that much.