Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Much ado about...Something

OK, so here's how it played out. I very much hope those of you that were upset by my taking a stand will read this all, and try to see where people like me are coming from.
After feeling like we were flapping alone in the breeze, other parents started calling me saying they'd follow my lead. Some even voiced some vitriol towards our President that, frankly, I don't share. Then the principal of the school called me last night.
He's an old friend. We've helped each other build homes, we have kids the same age. He said they wouldn't interrupt school to show something to the kids that they themselves hadn't reviewed. They would tape Obama's speech, and if a particular teacher wanted to show it, permission slips would be sent home.
Now that I've read the soft balled speech, I have no problem with my kids seeing it. Those of you that painted it like we were scared of Obama brainwashing our kids into attending school---classic misrepresentation. You identified 'fear mongering' that didn't exist. So what's this really about in the mind of a conservative?
It is with difficulty we send our kids to the government school in the first place. Short of moving, we have no options. I paid over $10,000 in property taxes last year, and about that in State income tax as well. Look at the pie charts---the biggest chunk of that, by far, goes to 'education'. That's OK, except for all the social services at the schools that have zero to do with education...But I digress. The school curriculum is VERY biased to the left. If you're a liberal, you probably don't see it since you consider it the norm. WE are mandated to pay for and send our children to a school that teaches things we disagree with. That's a hard pill to swallow.
What tool do we have? Well, the school board has a little influence. A little. However---if you take your kid out of school for a day the state withholds some funding. So the original plan---President Obama to give a speech about Lord knows what, to a captive audience, then the teachers potentially expanding on it to further their own political views (Firsthand experience with THAT.....) without any resistance, where's the check and balance? What I perceive as a liberal environment, with what I perceive as a liberal President, preaching to our kids. Or, they could miss a day of school, and the school thinks---"Gee. If we stay this course of only presenting things with a left view, it costs us".
Fortunately, the universe tends to unfold the way it should. We resisted. Obama dropped the part about "Write an essay about what YOU can do to help President Obama", and made the transcript public. Now something very valuable can happen---my kids can see their President, a Black American, tell them they should stay in school and work hard. Support for their President and support for Diversity---those are good, strong, bipartisan goals I want my kids exposed to. Exposing them to the unknown, from a man who has demonstrated a strong socialist agenda, would be irresponsible.
I will always trust a parent over ANY government when it comes to their children.


Lee said...

What a sad state of affairs it is when a parent is vilified for doing what they feel is best for their kids.

Scot said...

It's also a sad state of affairs when parents who are also public school teachers are vilified or judged without knowing their political stances and beliefs, to generalize who we are, or to vilify public education because it's paid for via public funds. Left wing??? I'm as insulted by that notion as being labeled right-wing. I'm "my wing" and want to raise my children to think using all the facts - including any President's speech, regardless of their political party or national deficit. Maybe someday the political focus will shift to the high public cost of fire and emergency care services? You see, education saves lives, but it's an institution without glamor or respect in the current day. Maybe if we got paid as much as doctors that would change?

flyingvan said...


I was wrong to generalize. I suppose the times we have to deal the kids coming home with the occasional view we disagree with reinforces our bias, and we need to recognize the balances when they show.
I'm paid by public funds, too. What we're wary of more than the funding is the teacher's union (CTA). There was rhetoric a few years ago about leaving education in the hands of the people who know children the best---the teachers. I'm of the opinion the parents should have some influence, a view I know you to share.
I think the reason there's a political focus on education is the trust placed in you on pointing children on lifelong paths. As emergency responders, we have a dramatic impact on the lives of a very few people. As teachers, you have a dramatic impact on just about everybody.
Finally--we didn't want to single out any teachers. Overall, we pay for school, and want to feel like we still have some say in education. We should be able to keep our kids home as we see fit... (Thanks Scot for the response)

Scot said...

Thank you. Like your career, we get it from both sides too! Most parents likely feel I'm too conservative, while others can't understand why I support a President speaking to my kids. And while I definitely respect your views on parenting, and your direction, imagine how many parents out there you would listen to and follow their direction! So, the good teachers out there are Zen-like in their ability to learn, to bend and not break, to push, and to give - all at once, maintaining respect and the command to lead and teach. An unsupported teacher (at home) is an empty lesson. I know that from personal childhood experience - because in Rancho Santa Fe in the 70's and 80's no educator could have been conservative enough! I now see their success, but they were perhaps viewed as achievers of less, and liberals. How wrong that notion is.

Lee said...

The bitter health care debate highlights the fundamental differences between liberals and conservatives, as identified by neo-conservative thinker Norman Podhoretz. He suggests that attitudes toward America itself characterize the big divide between left and right, with the left seeking to change a perceived heritage of injustice and oppression, and the right trying to protect and reinvigorate institutions and traditions that produced freedom and prosperity.

On health care, one of the common liberal arguments demands that the USA must learn from the enlightened examples of Canada, France and Cuba, while conservatives want to defend—and improve—the freedom of choice at the heart of a medical system that beats all competitors in technological breakthroughs and personal responsiveness. The center-right wants America to lead and change the world, but the left wants the rest of the world to influence and alter America.
--michael medved