Saturday, September 5, 2009

the FB question

I had an interesting discussion/comment-fest on Facebook recently, stemming from this FB survey question:

"Should the United States President be allowed to do a nationwide address to our children at school, without prior parental consent? "

This was posted by a friend from high school with this comment:

Ummm...yeah! No one ever polled on the "stupidest" things Bush has done. And Obama's speech is for educational success of the students. Why is this being questioned is beyond my understanding.

I don't usually seek out political debate (unlike my husband), but I couldn't let this go without comment, and it turned into a rather interested chat I wanted to share...Here goes:

Robyn: Sorry, but it sounds to me like propaganda. He's not talking to the kids, he's talking to their parents.

Dipa: I think the msg is to both students and parents on how important it is to take responsibility of educational success.

Jeremy: Dipa! Don't you know he's going to go on there and spread the evil word of helping people! He's going to brainwash them with thoughts of doing homework and treating others with respect! How dare him!! I'm scared because he might even talk about such things as college, integrity, and being a good citizen! How dare him and his evil propaganda!

Robert: There is no reason to think that Obama is going to be doing anything bad. Anyone who thinks that is playing partisan politics and really is part of the problem. It seems that it's only ok when a Republican does this. Does anyone remember Reagan, Bush, or Bush doing this? I do. I even remember the last president reading a book during one of the worst tragedies our world has faced.

Robyn: Okay--Reading a book to kids? No problem. Telling kids to value education? No problem. Talking politics to kids? Not appropriate, whether its Obama, Bush, Reagan, or FDR. The original question is whether Obama should be allowed to address elementary kids without prior parental consent. Parents are always notified before assemblies with guests outside the school system. Parents have a right to know what their kids are hearing.

Dipa: WOW! I didnt think this post would create a debate..hehe J/K!

Remember Bush Sr's speech to students nationwide in 1991 where he encouraged to say no to drugs and work hard and Reagan's politically charged speech back in 1988. So why is this any different???

@Jeremy: You make sure that little Maya goes nowhere near that TV set ;-)... Read More
@Robert: Take a deep breath :D
@Robyn: I agree that when talking politics to young kids, we need parental consent. However, this speech is not abt policy making...its more geared towards encouraging ALL students (elementary to college) to stay in school. :)

Thanks you guys for sharing your thoughts. We are all entitled to our opinions! Have a great wknd! :D

Danielle: It all depends on what he says. Encouraging kids to work hard and value their education is one thing, but if he plans on moving into political territory by talking about his vision for reforming the educational system and the like, well then I agree with Robyn.

Schools should be about giving all points of view and
encouraging students to come to their own conclusions - not saying that Obama WOULD be pushing an agenda but I think it comes second-nature to all politicians. It's an interesting question.

Dipa: It will def be interesting to see what he says and how its going to get interpreted, regardless of party affiliation.

Robert: Everyone is speculating. Why not assume that he's going to support illegal activities too or legal but immoral ones? We could just start with a reality check and think that he's going to do what he said. He is going to talk to them about education.

Robyn: I shouldn't have used the word "propaganda." The concerning part of the original question was "without prior parental consent." Whether or not I agree with his politics, I would of course allow my kids to listen to him talk to them, but I don't see any reason not to give the parents prior notice. In public schools, parents always have the right to know what is happening.

Dipa: Your right abt the concerning question "w/o parental consent"...but it seems that as soon as this hit in media that Obama was going to talk to students, it was misinterpreted to the actual speech which has caused the current controversy.

Robert: Fair enough about parental consent. I would hope that parents have been teaching their children to listen to everyone and make decisions based on what they experience and learn rather than having to simply follow. The only people I have seen actually complaining are the ones who think Obama is going to brainwash their children. I have been to several presidential speeches, both Republican and Democrat, and have never seen any problems.

Once the Republican attack machine gets going, it seems that people forget how to think for themselves. If people would put partisan politics aside and look at what is really happening, they would find most of their fears are completely unfounded.

Also, I wanted to point out that of the people participating in this discussion, I only know Dipa and Danielle. I think I'm going to drop it at this point--I don't think I'm going to change any minds.

However, I did want to say that I think Obama is doing this as a political move. When presidents of any political party involved themselves with kids, it is politically motivated. It might also be beneficial for the kids (like when Presidents read to kids), but the president wouldn't do it unless it helped his image. I'm not really a fan of using kids to boost image.

So--any thoughts to add to this debate?


DeAnn said...

I don't mind the speech so much as the lesson materials from the Dept of Education.

Annelise said...

I dunno...My parents weren't notified when horrible dance troupes, magicians, and Cheesy Cheif James, were allowed to "perform" for my school. Can't imagine the President could be worse than those. At least he would be watching what came out of his mouth--as it might end up in the papers the next day.

Annelise said...

Cheesy Chief James

Robyn said...

I was mostly bugged that these people I don't know where so antagonistic...but yeah, the speech itself isn't such a big deal, especially compared to everything else he's up to.

R&R Palmer said...

Turns out the speech is a great speech and one every kiddo should hear. Wish they'd released it at the same time as the preliminary materials (and not focused the preliminary materials on him so much as his message.