President Obama is scheduled to address school children across the country tomorrow with a nationwide address. His words, released in advance, can be found here.
A few excerpts, though I would encourage you to read the text in its entirety, whether or not you have a child in school:
But at the end of the day, we can have the most dedicated teachers, the most supportive parents, and the best schools in the world – and none of it will matter unless all of you fulfill your responsibilities. Unless you show up to those schools; pay attention to those teachers; listen to your parents, grandparents and other adults; and put in the hard work it takes to succeed.
And that’s what I want to focus on today: the responsibility each of you has for your education. I want to start with the responsibility you have to yourself.
Every single one of you has something you’re good at. Every single one of you has something to offer. And you have a responsibility to yourself to discover what that is. That’s the opportunity an education can provide.
We need every single one of you to develop your talents, skills and intellect so you can help solve our most difficult problems. If you don’t do that – if you quit on school – you’re not just quitting on yourself, you’re quitting on your country.
But at the end of the day, the circumstances of your life – what you look like, where you come from, how much money you have, what you’ve got going on at home – that’s no excuse for neglecting your homework or having a bad attitude. That’s no excuse for talking back to your teacher, or cutting class, or dropping out of school. That’s no excuse for not trying.
Where you are right now doesn’t have to determine where you’ll end up. No one’s written your destiny for you. Here in America, you write your own destiny. You make your own future.
That’s why today, I’m calling on each of you to set your own goals for your education – and to do everything you can to meet them. Your goal can be something as simple as doing all your homework, paying attention in class, or spending time each day reading a book. …Whatever you resolve to do, I want you to commit to it. I want you to really work at it.
The over-the-top reaction in advance of this address has seemed to indicate that some believe that their beautiful spawn will be indoctrinated into socialist loving drones by listening to this President within the confines of a school building. They are demanding that their schools not show the address, and many are removing their children from school for the day.
The Chairman of one South Georgia County Republican Party sent me the following:
The Berrien School Board that has a majority of Republicans has decided to go forward with the President Obama speech despite demands from the Conservative Parents that elected them. On what issues can we count on the School Board to do the right thing? It is a very sad day in Berrien County that Conservatives who pulled the lever for this Board got shafted.”
I find the contrast in both text and tone between the actual speech and those who object to be profoundly striking. I can only conclude that we have allowed politics to so embed itself into everything we do that it may be the adults, and not the children, that could use some education – in civility, at a minimum.
If you choose to keep your children home from school tomorrow, I would ask that you make sure you understand the lesson you are really teaching them.
Are you teaching them that they should respect authority as long as it is authority you agree with?
Are you teaching them to enjoy the authority they earn in life, but to be a sore loser when they are edged out in a hard fought contest?
Are you teaching them that it is only important to listen to and learn from only those you already agree with?
If you didn’t have the same objections when President Bush spoke to school children, are you teaching them to find unique facts about similar situations to justify selective outrage?
One of the biggest red flags we continue to point out in the Peach Pundit community is when we see politicians proclaim they are acting “for the children”. Watching politicians insulate themselves from criticism for an often indefensible position under the cover of kids is unseemly. Watching parents use their own children for the same purposes is pathetic.
If you are removing your children from school tomorrow, please don’t pretend it’s about them. It’s all about you.
Your children will learn a lot tomorrow. Be wary of the actual lesson they retain.