Monday, September 7, 2009

Say what?

I have been following the controversy about President Obama’s upcoming address to the school children with interest. The talk radio is all up in arms about Obama’s speech because supposedly he is using it to indoctrinate the youth of America and turn them into mindless socialites.

I don’t know if that is true because what the White House is saying he only wants to talk to the children about the importance of school by doing your best and staying in school. Even though I don’t support the President in just about anything does, I have no problem with him telling my children to do their very best and stay in school. In fact this is not the first time a president has addressed the children nationwide. President George Bush did it in 1991 when he addressed school children with the message about taking responsibility for their learning and to not blame others for their failure to achieve.

I do not fully trust what Obama might include in his address. Fortunately because of my student teaching I will be in the classroom for the address I will know what he will be saying so that if he does say anything that I find objectionable I can talk to my children and explain how their father and I feel. After all, as parents their education is our responsibility and it is one we should take very seriously. I only wish they would have given parents an opportunity to preview his address so we could talk to our children first or in the extreme case opt them out all together.

My children will be allowed to watch the address tomorrow and we will be discussing it with them in the evening but that is my husband’s and my choice and no one is going to tell me other wise. I am just glad my children do not attend school in Tempe because if they did they would certainly not be attending class tomorrow. Dr. Arthur Tate, the superintendent of the Tempe Elementary School District #3 has decided that he knows best how to parent the children in his district. He has stated that President Obama’s speech is purely educational and he will not permit any parent to opt out of the address. Say what? He won’t allow a parent to exercise their parental rights because he doesn’t agree with their decisions.

I am just stubborn enough that even if I had absolutely no problem with the address I would still pull my child out for the day. How dare you tell me as a parent what I can or cannot do? Just because I sent them to school does not mean I give up my parental rights or responsibilities when I do so.

Fortunately most schools understand parental rights and authority. Last year I needed to pick up my son early from school because his sister had a play she was putting on at school and he wanted to support her. I wasn’t sure what to put down for the reason I was taking him out of school so the school secretary said I could write down that it’s none of the schools business or even because I can.

School is very important and it’s important that children have the opportunity to attend, but never forget that as parent’s we are our children’s first teachers. Parents will always know their children better than anyone else so let us make the decision whether not they will be allowed to listen to the President’s address tomorrow.

To read the superintendent’s own words please see this link