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  1. #1
    Atomic Punk
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    Default DoE Obama Cult, or much ado about nothing?

    Critics Decry Obama's 'Indoctrination' Plan for Students

    A suggested lesson plan that calls on school kids to write letters to themselves about what they can do to help President Obama is troubling some education experts, who say it establishes the president as a "superintendent in chief" and may indoctrinate children to support him politically.

    Obama will deliver a national address directly to students on Tuesday, which will be the first day of classes for many children across the country. The address, to be broadcast live on the White House's Web site, was announced in a letter to school principals last week by Education Secretary Arne Duncan.

    Obama intends to "challenge students to work hard, set educational goals and take responsibility for their learning," Duncan wrote. Obama will also call for a "shared responsibility" among students, parents and educators to maximize learning potential.

    But in advance of the address, the Department of Education has offered educators "classroom activities" to coincide with Obama's message.

    Students in grades pre-K-6, for example, are encouraged to "write letters to themselves about what they can do to help the president. These would be collected and redistributed at an appropriate later date by the teacher to make students accountable to their goals."

    Teachers are also given guidance to tell students to "build background knowledge about the president of the United States by reading books about presidents and Barack Obama."

    During the speech, "teachers can ask students to write down key ideas or phrases that are important or personally meaningful."

    For grades 7-12, the Department of Education suggests teachers prepare by excerpting quotes from Obama's speeches on education for their students to contemplate -- and ask as questions such as "Why does President Obama want to speak with us today? How will he inspire us? How will he challenge us?"

    Activities suggested for after the speech include asking students "what resonated with you from President Obama's speech? What lines/phrase do you remember?"

    Obama announced his intention to deliver the address to students during an interview with Damon Weaver, a middle school student from Florida who gained a following of his own last year on the campaign trail for his interviews of high-profile figures.

    The Department of Education is using the president's address to kick off a video contest titled, "I Am What I Learn," in which students are invited to submit videos of up to two minutes on the importance of education in achieving their dreams.

    Obama's critics say the lesson plans and the president's calls for a "supportive community" are troubling on many levels.

    "In general, I don't think there's a problem if the president uses the bully pulpit to tell kids to work hard, study hard and things like that. But there are some troubling hints in this, both educationally and politically," said Neal McCluskey, associate director of Cato Institute's Center for Educational Freedom.

    Among the concerns, McCluskey said, is the notion that students who do not support Obama or his educational policies will begin the school year "behind the eight ball," or somehow academically trailing their peers.

    "It essentially tries to force kids to say the president and the presidency is inspiring, and that's very problematic," McCluskey said. "It's very concerning that you would do that."

    Parents of public school students would also have to pay for that "indoctrination," regardless of their political background, he said.

    "That's the fundamental problem. They could easily be funding the indoctrination of their children."

    Frederick Hess, director of education policy studies at the American Enterprise Institute, a conservative think tank, said the suggested lesson plans cross the line between instruction and advocacy.

    "I don't think it's appropriate for teachers to ask students to help promote the president's preferred school reforms and policies," Hess said. "It very much starts to set up the president as a superintendent in chief."

    Amid the debate on the federal government's level of involvement on issues like health care and others, Hess said, "There's a lot of people" on both sides of the political spectrum who will rightfully be concerned with the president's call to action.

    "It shows exactly what the problem is," he said. "This is going to open the door to all kinds of concerns."

    Messages to the White House seeking comment were not immediately returned early Wednesday.

    After reading the Department of Education lesson plans for the speech, McCluskey said he noticed several passages that should set off "alarm bells," including language that attempts to "glorify President Obama" in the minds of young students.

    "It could be a blatantly political move," he said. "Nobody knows for sure, but it gives that impression."

    McCluskey also noted that the lesson plans for young students contain suggestions to write letters to themselves on how they can help the president, but that suggestion is not in the lesson plan for middle and high schoolers -- perhaps due to the likelihood of increased political ties at that age.

    "You don't want to see this coming from the president," McCluskey said. "You don't want to see this coming from the federal government."
    "Watch what people are cynical about, and one can often discover what they lack.” -- Gen. George S. Patton

  2. #2
    Good Enough pal1800's Avatar
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    Every move Obama makes is a caluclated political move. That said, this situation should be the least of our worries concerning the Obama administration.

  3. #3
    Atomic Punk TheresOnlyOneWay's Avatar
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    Home schooling.
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  4. #4
    carpe damn diem billy007's Avatar
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    12.12.17 @ 05:29 AM
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    I dunno - if it gets kids more interested in the political process, that could be a good thing years from now. I don't know if it will turn them into Obama worshippers any worse than the whitewashing of Kennedy turned us into JFK worshippers in the '70s. Only thing I know for sure, it'll create a headache for me if my 7th grader has to write any kind of paper!

  5. #5
    Good Enough VH Wahoo's Avatar
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    In all seriousness though, let's just say that I'll be very interested to hear the contents of his address, and leave it at that.
    Last edited by VH Wahoo; 09.02.09 at 09:30 AM.

  6. #6
    Atomic Punk
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    this is one of those cases where critics of his will say it's yet another example of him attempting to establish a new fascist regime in the United States. His supporters will say that he's trying to galvanize the youth and reaching out and all that jazz.

    I say it could go either way. If he and his powerful supporters continue to shape the US in the years to come we might look back at this and say DAMN!!!

    Obama has a very difficult record to reconcile. He's either a good natured, altruistic person who wants the best for everyone or he wants to shape the US into fascist regime...or both.

    Taken by itself, I'm not really hung up on this but taken with his statements about creating a civilian security force, it's cause to be vigilant.
    Stay out of it, dude.


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  7. #7
    Atomic Punk ziggysmalls's Avatar
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    I am less fearful of a cult of people with Obamarections anymore. The truth is out about him being nothing but a politician and most likely will be a one term president when the double dip recession hits next year. Combine that with the Democrats thinking they can use Kennedy's death to push health care, well he is playing with fire.

    Now of course I am sure Keith Olbermann and Chris Matthews will go back to school so they can see this broadcast.

  8. #8
    Baluchitherium Ted Van Halen's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by TheresOnlyOneWay View Post
    Home schooling.
    -TVH-


    If there must be trouble, let it be in my day, that my child may have peace. -Thomas Paine


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  9. #9
    Atomic Punk Little Dreamer's Avatar
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    Source of this article, please.
    Little Dreamer

  10. #10
    Atomic Punk smithjc's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by TheresOnlyOneWay View Post
    Home schooling.
    That's been working for my kids. I homeschooled my oldest son til he was a freshman in high school and he did really well with his proficiencies and graduating. He's in college now. I'm homeschooling my two younger sons as well.
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  11. #11
    Atomic Punk
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    http://www.chron.com/disp/story.mpl/...n/6599457.html

    AUSTIN — Some Texas parents are asking school principals to excuse their children from listening to a speech that President Obama will make to schools next week on the grounds that it smacks of political indoctrination.

    Obama will deliver an address directly to students on the importance of education beginning at 11 a.m. (CST) Tuesday.

    “The President will challenge students to work hard, set educational goals, and take responsibility for their learning,” Secretary of Education Arne Duncan wrote in an Aug. 26 letter to school principals.

    Critics of the president are using the Internet to build opposition and to encourage parents to request their children not be forced to listen.

    “I think it's inappropriate because it smacks of political indoctrination of the worst kind,” said Brett Curtis, a parent of two children attending Pearland Independent School District schools. “It's not just a speech. It's a specific curriculum to go along with the speech directly from the president of the United States without review.”

    Schools are getting a menu of classroom activities for students, according to the education secretary, designed by teachers “to help engage students and stimulate discussion on the importance of education in their lives.”

    But superintendents and school boards had no role in developing the activities, Curtis said.

    “It just seems to me that the federal government should not have that kind of influence on our school districts and the education of our children,” he said.

    Curtis said he would instruct his children to boycott the speech as “a general protest. I know that's going on around the country.”

    Local school districts will decide whether their students participate.

    “It is not uncommon for students to watch a presidential speech that is given during the school day,” said Debbie Ratcliffe, spokeswoman for the Texas Education Agency. “This situation is somewhat different in that this speech apparently will be directed to students. But each district can decide how best to handle it for their community.”

    State Board of Education member David Bradley, R-Beaumont, defines the dispute as a “turf issue” and objects to the U.S. Department of Education taking classroom time away from local schools. The speech might be innocuous, Bradley said, “but look at the follow-up activities.”

    “Under Texas statute, parents have the right to review all instructional materials. They also have the right to opt out their kids from any program they might object to,” Bradley said, citing sex education as an example.

    State Board member Barbara Cargill, R-The Woodlands, said parents are complaining to her about the speech taking up valuable and precious instruction time.

    One parent told her Obama's speech does not allow for healthy debate. It simply “obligates the youngest children in our public school system to agree with Obama's initiatives or be ostracized by their teachers and classmates.”

    Others defend the president's interaction with children.

    “It's hard to imagine anything more ridiculous than attacking the president of the United States for talking to students about the importance of getting a good education and being a good citizen,” said Kathy Miller, president of the Texas Freedom Network, which monitors public education in Texas.

    “I wish our elected leaders were responsible enough to denounce this kind of wild-eyed paranoia. But the problem is, too many of them are actually feeding this kind of nonsense – like when the governor flirts with secessionists and State Board of Education members say the President sympathizes with terrorists,” Miller said.

    Sen. Dan Patrick, R-Houston, also objects to the president's speech to schoolchildren.

    “President Bush believed that no child should be left behind. President Obama apparently believes no voter should be left behind, no matter how young,” Patrick said. “This seems more of an extended campaign for himself, as opposed to focusing on the important issue of education.”

    Todd Hickman said he already has informed the principal of his seventh-grade son in the Lumberton Independent School District in East Texas to excuse his child from the speech.

    “I am the parent of my child. If I want to have a discussion with my child on any political issue or any in regards to what my child needs to do with their life and how people will interact with society and contribute to society, that's something I want to be able to do with my child,” Hickman said.

    In 1989, President George H.W. Bush used a nationally televised speech to schoolchildren to push an anti-drug campaign. He urged young people to stop using drugs.

    Hickman noted that he did not have children 20 years ago, but would have objected to Bush's speech to school children on the same grounds that he opposes Obama's address.
    Didn't reagan give an address to kids in school? This CAN NOT be the first time a president has ever spoken to kids...
    Stay out of it, dude.


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  12. #12
    Atomic Punk
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    “The President will challenge students to work hard, set educational goals, and take responsibility for their learning,”

    Jesus, it's like Stalin has returned from the grave. Seriously, WORK HARD? The next thing you know he's going to be telling kids to knock off the TV, lay off the junk food, and get some exercise.

    Evil bastard.

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  13. #13
    Atomic Punk
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    Reagan DID talk to kids. He challenged us to get in shape and eat right. It was the presidential physical fitness program. There was an award and a specific "lesson plan" for gym teachers and watched a video message from him.

    Axx's comment about exercise reminded me of it.

  14. #14
    carpe damn diem billy007's Avatar
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    12.12.17 @ 05:29 AM
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    Quote Originally Posted by broken9500 View Post
    “Under Texas statute, parents have the right to review all instructional materials. They also have the right to opt out their kids from any program they might object to,” Bradley said, citing sex education as an example...
    and that would explain a lot of your post in the "Houston" thread!

  15. #15
    Atomic Punk lovemachine97(Version 2)'s Avatar
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    I have a fundamental problem with the Department of Education anyway.

    Look, none of this on the surface seems like that big a deal. Okay, the President is gonna speak to kids, challenge them to work hard, blah blah blah.

    The problem lies within the suggested units to bookend the speech, where students will study the President's speeches, his views and ideas (of course without any opposing ideas).

    Of course they aren't required by the President. The problem is actually more fundamental--the federal government exerting any influence on the classroom.

    Not only does the Constitution of the US not give Congress any powers involving education or schools, it definitely does not give the President any jurisdiction over it either. In fact, in an amendment that has been seemingly virtually ignored, Amendment X, the last in the bill of rights, states that The powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the states, are reserved to the states respectively, or to the people.

    Yet somehow we have created a Department of Education which exerts influence over schools nationally. Now, a President wants to exert further influence by providing his own educational unit about himself.

    I am sorry, but this is wrong at best, unconstitutional at worst.

 

 

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