Yes, a voting audience! Some of the sophomore, most of the junior and essentially all of the senior students from this targeted audience will be voting in the 2012 Presidential Election. Further, the faculty and staff members of the schools across America, all of whom are also targeted to hear the President's comments, are an enormous voting audience. The National Education Association, the vast teacher's union, has already come out in favor of the speech being shown in the schools.
Oh, yes, there's always the unstated option for the student's parents to object and for the child to sit out. There might even be the unstated option for the principal, department head, or teacher to opt out of showing it. In some cases, it will be recorded and made available for certain classes, or it might be recorded and placed on the schools' websites to be viewed at the behest of the student or parents. These policies invariably force students, parents, faculty, staff, or school districts into awkward positions.
The foisting of the speech upon America's localized school system places a dilemma before the school systems, schools, student bodies and parents, where members of these groups have to declare acceptance or non-acceptance of the speech coming into their schools. They may have to choose swallow their aversion to Obama's agenda and watch the speech, allow it to be played, make it available to certain classes, or many variations on these themes. They may have to overtly object and not post it at the district, school, class levels; or parents or students may have to overtly refuse to have the student watch that speech. Even faculty members are placed on either lemma of the dilemma, revealing political leanings heretofore reserved to the shuttered voting booth.
In any decision made, the student, parent, faculty or staff member will be forced into either abject acceptance of the speech being aired and attending it or having to say they don't want to see it, don't want it played in their school or district, or don't want to use it as a part of a classroom curriculum. Given the takeovers of banks, companies, auto industries, and the current attacks on insurance companies, this Administration overreaches without restraint. It is proving expert at forcing its agenda upon targets. Therefore, a school district, school, faculty member or staff member could be easily targeted by the Administration or by supporters of the Administration based upon opting to view or not view. In the case of the schools and districts, the options chosen will be grist for the news, and the teacher unions and political entities will be watching. This, then, leaves freedom of choice highly contaminated.
The White House originally came out with a curriculum lesson plan to have the students "… write a letter to themselves about what they can do to help the president." To what purpose does a person write a letter to their self? The mere concept is bizarre. That's like telling a person to write a particular entry in their diary. What if students chose to write letters to themselves about how they can do to throw a chock into the president's spokes on implanting his agendas?
Caught in this attempt to force Obama adulation upon the students, White House Deputy Policy Director Heather Higgenbottom says the new lesson plan, available on line, have now been revised to have the students "…write letters to themselves about how they can achieve their short term and long term goals." That seems to be innocuous enough, doesn't it?
So what is the problem here? The problem is the White House and more broadly, the Federal Government, is further intruding into the local school system with lesson plans and direction. That is out of bounds in the school system our nation chose so long ago. In that it is being done during a period of extreme contention between liberal and conservative factions on Health Care Reform, Cap and Trade and when the president's favorability and agenda acceptance is slipping rapidly, the purpose becomes suspect, the political implications rife. Is it a move to distract from the Town Hall firestorm going on nation wide against Congress and the President? The concept of this being a backfire of distraction set by the White House does cross my mind.
Whatever the choices made by my 16 year old son's school leadership, I do not want him placed in the position, nor do I want to be forced into the position of choosing whether he does or not see the speech. Nor do I want to be forced into the position of whether I let him see it. In any event, I assure you that I do not want him even passively or unintentionally coerced or embarrassed into placing his thoughts on papers by this overreaching president, no matter the subject. Nor do I want him singled out if he or I choose that he not see the speech.
Given the Socialistic ilk of the people with whom Obama has surrounded himself, such as his new Communist "Green Czar," Van Jones, I do not want my son exposed to this President's meandering speeches designed to curry favor in the 2012 Presidential Election.
© Curtis D. Dale, PhD, September 2009