Parents worried about Obama’s speech

President Obama is fighting harder to dispel fears of socialism gaing a foothold on Americans.

He has certainly caused a stir with his unprecendented stimulus spending. Plus, unpopular health care proposals have caused town hall meetings to descend into shouting and shoving matches.

In this time, when it seems the gap between the right and left wing has never been wider, one would think a short word from the Commander in Chief to the country’s schoolchildren would be uncontroversial maybe it would be something everyone could get behind, but one would be wrong.

Today, President Obama will address the nation’s elementary students via live Web cast on the importance of education and staying in school. However, conservatives see the speech as a way for the president to push his policies on defenseless, unsuspecting children.

Florida’s GOP Chairman Jim Greer has been particularly vocal in attacking Obama’s planned address. Greer said in a news release that he was ‘absolutely appalled that taxpayer dollars are being used to spread President Obama’s socialist ideology.’

Political commentator Glenn Beck urged parents to keep their children at home today.

Some teachers say they have not been given enough time to format lesson plans to fit the speech, a tenuous argument at best.

For many schools, today will be the first day of classes. A 20-minute address from the president on the importance of education should not be difficult to tie into a day devoted to orientation.

Despite these detractors, the majority of the dissent is coming from parents. Schools across the country have been flooded with calls and e-mails from concerned guardians.

The question is, where is the basis for all this concern?

According to the White House, ‘the goal of the speech and the lesson plans is to challenge students to work hard in school, to not drop out and to meet short-term goals like behaving in class, doing their homework and goals that parents and teachers alike can agree are noble. This isn’t a policy speech. This is a speech designed to encourage children to stay in school.’

That sounds astonishingly reasonable.

The speech also seems to have absolutely nothing to do with federal policy.

Parents who are afraid that their children will be indoctrinated at public school are laughably naive. Their children are indoctrinated in some manner every day.

In school, children learn what is acceptable by the group as normal behavior. They’re taught what is ‘cool’ and ‘uncool’ and what is expected of them as members of society.

Those are forms of doctrine.

Some might even say having children recite the pledge of allegiance with their hands over their hearts every day is a form of indoctrination.

Others might say the teaching of evolution is indoctrination. These things are rarely labeled as indoctrination because most people support them, so they also overlook them. But they exist and are in fact integral to the educational experience.

To send a child to public school and then go into hysterics when the nation’s highest public servant attempts to tell that child to stay in school is totally hypocritical.

Parents who pull them out of school for the entire day today or otherwise refuse to let their children watch the address are simply indoctrinating their children to close-mindedness and possibly partisanship.

These adults never learned or have forgotten that healthy debate is key to not only democracy, but also to academia.

Instead of sending the message that people with opposing views must be shunned and effectively silenced, they should be encouraging their children to listen to the address and think critically about the president’s message. They should sit down with their children and discuss what they heard.

In other words, parents should take responsibility for their children’s education. They must do more than turn them over to the public system, then complain when they aren’t educated in accordance with the parents’ political beliefs.

Otherwise we will see another generation that believes nothing is wrong with bringing a gun to a discussion of health care.

Jared Luck is a communication senior and may be reached at [email protected]

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