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Hello Kossacks,

I'm not much of a diary guy, most of mine are bombs.  Finally I got mad and took some action.  I wrote this letter to my local School District - Dripping Springs Independent School District near Austin Texas.

They are not showing Obama's education speech in school, other than letting teachers in social studies or civics classes show them if they want to.  This is only for the 11:00 Central time classes.  So almost no students will see the speech.  I doubt any teacher will dare show the speech. This is not acceptable.  

I am organizing a viewing party so parents that want to can come with their student to watch the speech live, and we can do it together.  People theaten a boycott of school if they show it.  Well, I am threatening a boycott if they don't!

Below is the Letter I sent the school board.  I will include emails and numbers so you can help and contact them and show them what patriotic Americans that care about education can do.

Flip it.

Dear DSISD School Board Members and Superintendent Herrick,

This statement is directly for the DSISD Website:
In a letter received last week, Secretary of Education Arne Duncan stated the following, "President Obama announced that on September 8 – the first day of school for many children across America – he will deliver a national address directly to students on the importance of education. The President will challenge students to work hard, set educational goals, and take responsibility for their learning. He will also call for a shared responsibility and commitment on the part of students, parents and educators to ensure that every child in every school receives the best education possible so they can compete in the global economy for good jobs and live rewarding and productive lives as American citizens."

We have received a number of inquiries about whether President Obama’s speech to the schoolchildren of America next week will be available in Dripping Springs ISD. Due to the logistics of making a web cast available during that time of the school day and the belief that our limited time with students must be focused on our curriculum and instruction, teachers will not be required to show the address. However, Dripping Springs ISD will treat this address like any other national news event and allow individual teachers to determine whether or not their class will view the speech if it aligns to the curriculum and is timely.

We expect all students to attend school on September 8, just like every other school day; however, we want to make sure we are protecting our parents’ rights by allowing them to exclude their children from this activity if that is their wish. Any person who objects to their child viewing the Presidential address may request that they be excused from the activity by contacting their child’s teacher or campus. For parents who would like to view the speech with their children, a downloadable video will be made available after the speech at

What this says to me is that if I don't want my child to hear the speech to be given by President Obama, I can take my son out of class, but if I WANT to have my child hear him, I will probably have to do it on my computer at home, outside of school.

The School District has totally capitulated to the politics of this issue.  I view the School Board and the Superintendent as very weak on this stated resolution of the presentation of the speech.  This is the President of the United States of America giving a speech to schoolchildren about education.  This has not happened since President George H.W. Bush gave a similar speech on October 1st, 1991 from Alice Deal Junior High School in Washington, D.C.  Here is the link from the Bush Presidential Library for the text of the speech:   .

This is by any standard, an historic speech that relates directly to my child's educational well being.  How can a speech about education by the President of the United States of America not "align to the curriculum and be timely"?

I spoke with Principal Hays at the Meet the Teacher night at DSMS.  He told me that, to paraphrase, (I don't want to be accused of misquoting), the state requires that we teach the curriculum and comply with TAKS regulations about subject matter, and therefore the School could not take the time to provide an assembly to watch the speech or broadcast it in all the classrooms.  He also said that those students not in a class where politics, civics, and education are not being presented at the time of the speech will not get to hear it. The appropriate classes, i.e. social studies, humanities, civics and history, would cover a very small portion of DSISD students at 11:00.  My son does not have such a class at this hour.

I sincerely doubt that in the entire school year one hour of time dedicated to a discussion about education and civics with encouragement from the President of the United States of America would violate state law in any way or have the District fall short of its required TAKS teaching hours.  If this is the case, the District  leadership really is quite powerless, isn't it?

I am requesting that the School Board and Superintendent Herrick reconsider this decision.  Are you making sure you are protecting your parents' rights to allow them to INclude their children in this activity of they wish? The leaders of DSISD have shuttled the responsibility not just down to the Principals of the various campuses, but all the way to the classroom teachers to deal with angry parents from both sides of this issue.  This implication to the teachers is to avoid alleged controversy by not showing the speech.  Under the current circumstances, this is a very weak display of leadership.  

I want to include my child in this activity.  I very strongly request that my child be included in this activity.

I would suggest any of the following accommodations be made in order to give fair time to parents that want to have their children participate in this event, listed in order of my preference.

  1.  Have an assembly for the entire school body to hear and discuss President Obama's speech. Those parents wishing to exclude their children may retain their children in the assigned classes or in another assembly, perhaps to discuss civics and education for an hour without the influence of the President of the United States of America.
  1.  Present the speech in each classroom, with those declining participation the same option as #1.
  1.  Take those children whose parents directly request participation in the speech event to an assembly, perhaps in the library or computer lab to see the speech on the White House website.

 This might be an opportunity to allow those parents interested in having their children participate to come to school and join in the discussion.  That would eliminate the accusation made by some that parents would not know what is being presented in the speech.

  1.  Allow individual students access to the speech in class, in the library, or the computer lab.
  1.  Maintain the current policy in regards to this issue, and deny these children the opportunity to see this speech live and with other students to discuss these issues and educational priorities.
  1.  Have my child see this speech outside of school time.

Option 6 is not acceptable.  I find option 5 very problematic.  Certain persons in the media have encouraged a boycott of school on the day of the speech.  This could strike fear into the hearts of any School District that receives state and federal monies based on attendance.  I feel that if option 5 is maintained that I would be forced to hold my child out of school until after the speech, so that he may participate in the live presentation.  I for one will not be denied this opportunity because of a baseless accusation from the chair of the GOP party of Florida.

I will be forwarding this letter to the parents of every DSISD school child I am able to.  I will copy this letter to Principal Hays.  I will forward this letter to the Dripping Springs and Hays County Democrats and seek their support.  I will forward this letter to the Dripping Springs Century-News, the Dripping Springs News Dispatch, the Austin American Statesman.  It will be posted on Daily Kos, the largest political group blog in the USA, and it will be sent to the Huffington Post, another widely read national news and political blog.  I will also forward this letter to the White House.

Please respond by Monday, September 7th.  I will be reserving a space so as to invite other parents interested in sharing this important event live with their children.  I need to know if such a space will be necessary.  I imagine quite a number of parents might be interested in participating.

I understand that keeping my child out of school for three hours is a decision not to be taken lightly.  I will not allow political expediency by the DSISD Schoolbord to deny my son the opportunity to hear the President of the United States of America give a speech about as important a subject as education, which after all, is Drippings Springs Independent School District's primary business and responsibility.  The speech by the President of the United States of America, and the resulting civics and education discussion and follow up work suggested by the Department of Education will be a rich learning experience for any DSISD student wishing to participate, and I hope many will.

XXXXXX (manoffire)

DSISD Board Phone  512.858.3002

Board members:,,,,,,

Superintendent Mard Herrick Phone 512.858.3002


School Principal Blake Hays Phone: 512.858.3400  


Originally posted to manoffire on Fri Sep 04, 2009 at 03:43 AM PDT.

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Comment Preferences

  •  Thank you for your comments (14+ / 0-)

    and keep those phones and emails abuzzin' today.

    If Republicans weren't arrogant, how would I teach my son about arrogance?

    by manoffire on Fri Sep 04, 2009 at 03:45:20 AM PDT

  •  I got more to do today (7+ / 0-)

    Action, thanks

  •  Our district plans to show the speech - next day (6+ / 0-)


  •  This country has so gone off the deep end (23+ / 0-)

    ....politics my ass...this is about racism.   These parents are deeply afraid that their pinheaded little monsters will shout out the racial slurs that they have been teaching them at home during the speech and that wll bring down the wrath of child protective services on their heads.

    •  I'm not sure it's THAT bad... (9+ / 0-)

      but I don't deny that it's about race here in Texas.  The code words in the letters to the editors and all the rest have exposed these crackers for what they are and always have been.  Having a man of color in the White House reaches right into their intellectual void and brings out the very worst of the last 150 years of cultural depravity.

      "Have a beginner's mind at all times, for a beginner knows nothing and learns all while a sophisticate knows all and learns nothing." - Suzuki

      by dolfin66 on Fri Sep 04, 2009 at 06:31:45 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  What concerns me more is introduction and (9+ / 0-)

        acceptance of this in the schools.  This would never ever been a conversation when I went to school...never.  The local school board would never even have entertained such nonsense. They would have told parents to keep their kids home rather than deal with this and the kid would have been docked a sick day and life would have gone on.

        •  As you know... (15+ / 0-)

          public education has been politicized to the point where the superintendents make policy by phone call.  If they receive 7 phone calls on the same subject, they make policy based on those calls.  I am being slightly facetious, but I've seen it work that way in Colorado and here in Texas.  The screaming idiots are the ones who the superintendents hear and since they know no better, that's who dictates policy.  

          I used to teach at Georgetown H.S. and they have caved in to this also.  I'm glad to be retired from teaching because I'm not sure I could tolerate the craziness anymore.  It's tough enough on these blogs.  It seems that this dumbing down of ALL parts of the public educational system has been going on for at least 20 years, or whenever the cretin Newt Gingrich began his contract with America bullshit.  Since then, public education has spiraled downward at an ever increasing rate with the poor getting the usual short end of the stick first and most virulently.  To me, this single issue is our main canary in the mine shaft that has just keeled over.  It tells me that political gain, despite all the lessons from the history of failed states, supercedes logic, common sense and the common good for all our citizens.

          "Have a beginner's mind at all times, for a beginner knows nothing and learns all while a sophisticate knows all and learns nothing." - Suzuki

          by dolfin66 on Fri Sep 04, 2009 at 07:27:40 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  You have my deepest sympathy. (6+ / 0-)

            I cannot even imagine what you had to put up with.  No wonder teachers burn out.  They get absolutely no support from anyone...not the principals, the parents or the superintendents.  What a strange world this has become.  

            •  I think this situation... (16+ / 0-)

              has been an outgrowth of the "I want my kid to have it better than me" outlook.  But along with this comes the "my kid can do no wrong" and "I know what's best for my kid" attitude that hamstrings everyone, teachers, principals, the kids, everybody.  With both parents slaving away to pay for their BMWs as well as save up for college funds (the things that keep being devalued more each year) and they are forced to dump their kids on the teachers for rearing.  Then, of course, they complain when things don't turn out to their satisfaction even though the teacher is making the kid work for the first time in his/her life.  

              When I started teaching I was 53 years old, had been a drill instructor, a medical school anatomy educator and a professional engineer.  I didn't burn out, I just got old enough to retire and write about this stuff.  No administrator intimidated me and that pissed off some of them.  I tried to give the kids a reason to work.  That caught most of them by surprise.  

              It's the young teachers who need the nurturing.  There is no viable system in place to get people who have never been outside a classroom in a situation where they can handle goofy parents, incompetent administrators and mal-adjusted children.  These youngsters need to see what the real world expects of their students and adjust their teaching methods and curriculum accordingly.  That is the basis for my remarks about politicization.  American politicians are the best (or worst) at cutting off their noses for the sake of blind ambition, no matter what they destroy in the process.  If that weren't the case, there wouldn't be any lobbyists, would there?

              "Have a beginner's mind at all times, for a beginner knows nothing and learns all while a sophisticate knows all and learns nothing." - Suzuki

              by dolfin66 on Fri Sep 04, 2009 at 09:20:50 AM PDT

              [ Parent ]

              •  You sound like you were perfectly suited to be (6+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                Odysseus, sfgb, lgmcp, ER Doc, jayden, Neon Mama

                a teacher and a boot camp with a drill instructor might be the best way to get young teacher ready for what they will face.

                These parents are doing their children an incredible disservice which they will pay for the rest of their working lives.

                •  Thanks for the feedback... (9+ / 0-)

                  One of my principals likened my classroom management style to a cross between Sgt. Hardman (Full Metal Jacket)and Mr. Rogers.  Many of the teachers I knew went ahead and enabled the children too much for fear of having to deal with parents.  The parents of the kids who were interested in raising their kids with proper, survivor values loved me, the enablers wanted me gone.  Sometimes you eat the bear, sometimes the bear eats you.

                  "Have a beginner's mind at all times, for a beginner knows nothing and learns all while a sophisticate knows all and learns nothing." - Suzuki

                  by dolfin66 on Fri Sep 04, 2009 at 10:45:32 AM PDT

                  [ Parent ]

                  •  All of my teachers had something of your style. (6+ / 0-)
                    Recommended by:
                    sfgb, oldjohnbrown, Ckntfld, Lashe, ER Doc, dolfin66

                    They demanded that their students respect them and put up with no nonsense.  Some of my best teachers were coaches...they knew how to kick ass and take names but my very best teacher was my father, he instilled educational expectations before I ever hit the classroom. Education was a deemed a priority in our house,  "your job for the next 16 years of your life was to become educated and I better not hear that you are screwing around."  No whining, no way and he was not even a military man.  He was a man that knew the value of an education in a well lived life.

                    •  Congratulations! (7+ / 0-)

                      It's amazing what can happen if you do the right thing from day one, isn't it?  Too bad we have so many lousy parents who were raised by lousy parents, had kids before they should have and never took full measure about how to be good parents.  Go to a mall or supermarket and watch how parents handle their children in public.  It's a disgrace.

                      You know, I never demanded respect from my students.  I made a bargain with them at the start of every year that we would earn each other's respect.  I had my job to do and I would do it for all the students, I told them.  I also told them that nobody would keep me from doing that job.  I stood by my word and honored those kids who stood by theirs.  It worked out pretty well, except for the 10% who are so far gone that only a major emotional experience will change their lives around.

                      I do miss the kids.  I'm trying to write a book about all this, though I doubt anybody will read it IF I can get it published.  I actually wrote a non-fiction account of my teaching experiences, but the agencies said that nobody reads stuff about public education.  I told them that that was why I wrote the damn thing in the first place.  Anyway, parents took a pretty good beating in the book.

                      "Have a beginner's mind at all times, for a beginner knows nothing and learns all while a sophisticate knows all and learns nothing." - Suzuki

                      by dolfin66 on Fri Sep 04, 2009 at 11:52:48 AM PDT

                      [ Parent ]

                      •  Have you tried to e-publish on Amazon? (1+ / 0-)
                        Recommended by:
                        ER Doc

                        I believe they have a low cost option but I do not know the details.  

                        As far as my father's success, it is because he messed it up the first time.  The children from his first marriage did not receive my advantages and he deeply regretted it so I got all the time and attention that they missed.  Everyone turned out well..he had a character boot camp like no other but they just had a tougher time.  

                        •  No, I haven't. (1+ / 0-)
                          Recommended by:
                          ER Doc

                          I didn't know that they had such a thing.  I'll look into it.  You never know.

                          "Have a beginner's mind at all times, for a beginner knows nothing and learns all while a sophisticate knows all and learns nothing." - Suzuki

                          by dolfin66 on Fri Sep 04, 2009 at 01:54:14 PM PDT

                          [ Parent ]

                          •  I'd like to read it (2+ / 0-)
                            Recommended by:
                            ER Doc, dolfin66

                            Maybe you could publish a few diaries here to give us a taste?  

                            "If you talk about helping the poor, they call you a Christian. If you actually do something to help the poor, they call you a socialist." Pastor Jim Rigby

                            by karmacat on Fri Sep 04, 2009 at 09:36:01 PM PDT

                            [ Parent ]

                          •  Actually, I have.... (2+ / 0-)
                            Recommended by:
                            ER Doc, kaolin

                            I've written probably 20 diaries, some of which address the public education issues.  But, as with the real world, nobody wants to read about public education, so none got recommended.  They cover soup to nuts on that and other issues.  Let me know what you think.  I think I have my e-mail in my profile.  

                            "Have a beginner's mind at all times, for a beginner knows nothing and learns all while a sophisticate knows all and learns nothing." - Suzuki

                            by dolfin66 on Sat Sep 05, 2009 at 08:25:45 AM PDT

                            [ Parent ]

                          •  Thanks, I will! n/t (1+ / 0-)
                            Recommended by:

                            "If you talk about helping the poor, they call you a Christian. If you actually do something to help the poor, they call you a socialist." Pastor Jim Rigby

                            by karmacat on Sat Sep 05, 2009 at 11:05:41 AM PDT

                            [ Parent ]

              •  Self Publish (3+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                ER Doc, kaolin, dolfin66

       is a great site for self publishing.

          •  This is why I want FOIA requests (10+ / 0-)

            If policy is being set from phone calls, the phone calls should be public records. The log should be public. The callers should be identified just as they would be if they went to a city council meeting and spoke at a public hearing on an issue.

            These people are phantoms. They are able to pull off lunacy because there is no accountability for it being lunacy.

            Learn their names. Circulate their names.

            Have you heard? The vice president's gone mad. - Bob Dylan, 1966

            by textus on Fri Sep 04, 2009 at 09:38:32 PM PDT

            [ Parent ]

          •  Dripping Springs decision was made (3+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            ER Doc, kaolin, dolfin66

            Before Any phone calls came in.  It was made preemptively on Wednesday night.

            If Republicans weren't arrogant, how would I teach my son about arrogance?

            by manoffire on Sat Sep 05, 2009 at 07:02:59 AM PDT

            [ Parent ]

            •  I wrote an e-mail... (2+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              ER Doc, kaolin

              to the superintendent in Georgetown where I used to teach stating the cowardice associated with her actions, etc.  This is a true disgrace and, sadly, confirmation that my thesis about the politicization of public education will ruin it and thus our country.

              "Have a beginner's mind at all times, for a beginner knows nothing and learns all while a sophisticate knows all and learns nothing." - Suzuki

              by dolfin66 on Sat Sep 05, 2009 at 08:31:56 AM PDT

              [ Parent ]

        •  In my day I think in order to stay home (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          ER Doc, kaolin

          a student would have been required to write a 5 page essay on the importance of education.

          I remember a few choices like that where we said "ok, ok, we'll watch the boring show".

          I think this is only a big deal to the parents. Most kids don't care yet.

          The school boards should be working with the kids as their priority not the parents.

          And please, if the kids don't have to listen to the President of the United States, why on earth would they have to listen to a podunk Principal?  

          "Can By Rant" is an anagram of my name and is also my philosophy on life.

          by ZenTrainer on Fri Sep 04, 2009 at 11:56:42 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

  •  One thing (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    manoffire, Empower Ink, amk for obama

    Don't mispell "Education" in the title.

    Why are they shooting abortion doctors, when they could be shooting bankers?

    by Subversive on Fri Sep 04, 2009 at 04:32:28 AM PDT

  •  Please spell-check title. (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    Between birthers, deathers and mouth-breathers, the gop has got 'teh crazy' and 'teh stoopid' covered.

    by amk for obama on Fri Sep 04, 2009 at 04:36:49 AM PDT

  •  I would also offer than any school that (7+ / 0-)

    declines the speech automatically declines the federal dollars.  In fact any state that allows this to happen can totally do without the federal dollars for any projects.  Most of the states we are talking about use more money than they contribute so we would be ahead as a nation.

    As a parent I would take my child out any school that involved themselves with this.  I would be afraid of what else they were learning from these cretins.

    •  Oh, yeah, great idea (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:

      I can just see it now: Stalinist Obama Regime Punishes Independent Thinking School District, Seizes Public Education Funds to enforce PC...

      Red-Shirted Acorn thugs intimidate Courageous Superintendant...

      People's Ministry of Finance sends IRS agents to audit Superintendant, School Board members, Principals...

      "Ronald Reagan is DEAD! His policies live on but we're doing something about THAT!"

      by leftykook on Sat Sep 05, 2009 at 08:01:59 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  MN schools (6+ / 0-)

    The decision is up to the individual school district superintents.  (You can imagine what Michelle Bachmann's district super will decide).

    One point was made, it was not the content, it was the timing.  It's the first day of school in MN (with the exception of about three schools that started last week) and this viewing lands right during first lunch hour.  It's going to be crazy as is, much less trying to get access for all kids.  It only works for that one shift.

    I can see that - I think that they should replay it for the Civic/Gov't classes sometime that week and incorporate the teaching guides along with.  Then a good discussion can be had.  If parents want to opt out, have them sign a form to do so, by the time they have to confront that process the word will be out about how good it was.

    •  That is a good point. (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Odysseus, ER Doc, kaolin

      Interrupting lunch is a dangerous prospect.

    •  This is what our school district is doing. (7+ / 0-)

      Fort Bend County, a suburb of Houston.  They will record the speech, and students will watch it in their Social Studies/History classes.  They sent out a form for those wishing to opt out.  Considering where we live, I feel like that's a fairly reasonable alternative.  After all, we recently had Tom DeLay as our Congressman, so there's a substantial wingnut population around these here parts.  I'm actually kind of pleasantly surprised that they are showing the speech at all.

    •  What else will they get to opt out of? (4+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      ER Doc, kaolin, wvmom, We Want Change

      Science? Math? Literature? Anything that goes against their beliefs?

      Opt out by homeschooling or send your kids to school and deal with it.

      Participate so that you can help lead the discussion after.

      There is no opting out allowed in baseball, I mean, school.

      "Can By Rant" is an anagram of my name and is also my philosophy on life.

      by ZenTrainer on Sat Sep 05, 2009 at 12:03:16 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Well the right wing (3+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        ZenTrainer, kaolin, We Want Change

        took education seriously in the 70's during the right wing revolution.  They started organizing at the local school board levels via their church organizations.  We have a lot of work to do in our grassroots work.  I would bet that many boards are still filled with conservatives and right wingers.

        It's amazing they still teach anything at school but what they do teach is always now bent towards the right.

        I can't imagine sending my children to any school governed by such right wing ideology.  

        I would guess very few people on KOS or the local progressive blogs are part of the politics of local school boards.  

        While the kids coming out have mixed feelings about the right wing agenda, they are also not very educated about things.  The right has always been nervous that an educated population would be a progressive population -- for example they might not think that being white is superiour ...they are right to worry and they have done their best in making sure kids are less educated.

        Everyone laughs when Jay Leno asks obvious questions on the streets and the young people don't know things like who George Washingtion is.  

        It is clear that Americans are not very knowledgeable even while this intense informational revolution taking place on the internet seems like a worthy thing yet we can see ignorance in the American population over and over again.  Are we really surprised that even today huge numbers of Americans think that the Iraq government was behind the 9/11 attacks and that is why we invaded their country.

        This is why the right can get away with so many lies.  The other really ignorant group is our main stream media.  Especially cable and TV local and natiional news.  It is filled with such bad lazy reporting. Most of these people in the media are jokes when it comes to understanding how journalism works.  They eat up whatever the right wing feeds them. They are not very smart. Or they just hire more and more right wingers to spew the "news"

        Pass new laws to end media monopolization now.

        by john from vermont on Sat Sep 05, 2009 at 02:57:09 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

      •  They are already opting out of science as the (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        ZenTrainer, kaolin

        U.S. falls behind in areas of Science and Math in comparison to other countries.

      •  2 + 2 = 4 (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:

        ... is a piece of totalitarian, factist, scientistic indoctrination. I feel my children should be free to pursue alternate maths. I demand they be allowed to opt out of basic arithmetic.

        Empathetic fascist socialist sociopaths for Obama

        by kaolin on Sat Sep 05, 2009 at 03:31:08 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

    •  But we can't leave the teachers high and dry (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      kaolin, wvmom

      it can't be up to them.  Else ... see emme's diary.

      Thomas Frank is right.

      by cityvitalsigns on Sat Sep 05, 2009 at 02:47:37 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  Our voices need to be heard (5+ / 0-)

    What this says to me is that if I don't want my child to hear the speech to be given by President Obama, I can take my son out of class, but if I WANT to have my child hear him, I will probably have to do it on my computer at home, outside of school.

    This is the key to what you wrote. I mean why pay taxes for schools if you as a partent have to show the kids a civic lesson? We would be better off giving the taxes to parents to use for their kids education.

    Also, as someone else mentioned no federal funds especially if they don't want a feed of the speech.

    I don't have kids but will write to the schools (since I do pay taxes) and will write a letter to the editor (NYT this morning front page article on this) the MSM once again is reporting the "fringe" elements of our society.

    I think we should also ask the schools how they would handle Palin/McCain giving an educational speech?

    There are more things to be in an uproar regarding education then this...

  •  Georgetown... (6+ / 0-)

    I used to teach science in Georgetwon, TX.  Most of the citizens there are pretty reasonable, but there is a core of "conservative" (read ignorant rednecks)activists who obviously beat down the superintendent's door.  The supers are so politically sensitive that they make policy by phone call:  7 phone calls on the same topic, and the fix becomes policy.  It's sickening, but that's part of the dumbing down process the Republicans have been instigating for the last 20 years.

    "Have a beginner's mind at all times, for a beginner knows nothing and learns all while a sophisticate knows all and learns nothing." - Suzuki

    by dolfin66 on Fri Sep 04, 2009 at 06:34:06 AM PDT

    •  I speak in schools a lot. (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      sfgb, fireflynw, dolfin66

      Librarians are great. Administrators are a mixed bag. Some of them are great, too many of them check their balls at the door when they get the job.

      "One of the secrets of life is that all that is really worth the doing is what we do for others." - Lewis Carroll, 1832-1898

      by Audio Guy on Fri Sep 04, 2009 at 08:53:03 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  I am a librarian (6+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        sfgb, Panda, ZenTrainer, kaolin, dolfin66, RJP9999

        with an Administrator's certificate. Some check their balls at the door, but many do not get the support they need from the Central Office to do what needs to be done.  For that reason, I have decided to stay a librarian.

        We all have photographic memories. Some people just don't have any film.

        by fireflynw on Fri Sep 04, 2009 at 10:06:24 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  Good thinking... (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:

          Librarians were always my favorite people...because you read.  The others don't.  Remember that great line from "A River Runs Through It"?  The preacher says to his son regarding Methodists.  He said,  "Methodists are Baptists who can read."  The same applies to the librarian-administrator continuum.

          "Have a beginner's mind at all times, for a beginner knows nothing and learns all while a sophisticate knows all and learns nothing." - Suzuki

          by dolfin66 on Sat Sep 05, 2009 at 08:36:15 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

      •  The librarians... (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:

        were always my favorite people...mostly because they read.  The administrators only read the opinion pages and nastygrams from pissed off citizens.  No sense, no balls.  It's cause and effect in its most ludicrous form.

        "Have a beginner's mind at all times, for a beginner knows nothing and learns all while a sophisticate knows all and learns nothing." - Suzuki

        by dolfin66 on Sat Sep 05, 2009 at 08:34:04 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

  •  Keep up the work (8+ / 0-)

    I am so appalled by all this I have been depressed.  What has our country come too?  I will be makeing some calls today.

  •  thank your local talk radio station- that's (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    RJP9999, CherryTheTart

    the only reason this shit gets any real traction

    limbaugh and sons get it done

    if you get a group together try picketing the local limbaugh station on this issue - you might get media attention and your signs would would speak directly to the idiots and give credit to the ones who really pull the strings

    ignoring the talk radio monopoly continues to be the biggest political blunder in decades

    by certainot on Fri Sep 04, 2009 at 06:48:28 AM PDT

  •  What really gets me about this (16+ / 0-)

    is that all of the protests are in the parts of the country (primarily the South) where people take respect for authority very seriously. "Yes, ma'am," "no, ma'am," these are expected. But if the PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES wants to talk with your kids about the values of education, then it's "Hide grandma's china; they're coming to get us." Good grief!! Talk about cognitive dissonance.

    •  Can't rec this enough. (7+ / 0-)

      My kids were born in Texas, but I tell them they are being "raised Midwestern."  I have taught them to be polite and respectful, but I don't go for that "Yes, ma'am," "no, ma'am," stuff.  As a Yankee, I find it vaguely creepy.  And yeah, lots of these churchgoing polite Southerners are some of the most bigoted, intolerant, mean-spirited people I have ever met.

      •  Let me be clear. (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Freakinout daily

        I live in the South with two southern males (and a southern daughter elsewhere whom I often consult for how these people thing), and my son (not my daughter, which is curious to me) actually owns some china that may well have been hidden from the Yankees.

        •  Let me be clear too; (0+ / 0-)

          Not sure if you thought I was implying that all Southerners are intolerant bigots.  I certainly didn't mean to----I also know lots of very nice people down here.  It's just that when the intolerant bigotry is couched in a honey-sweet "yes ma'am," that I find it even more, well, intolerable.  And there are lots of those folks around here!

  •  Good luck manoffire! (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Panda, kaolin, RJP9999, princesspat

    I can't wait to read the follow-up next week.

  •  This is so insane. (10+ / 0-)

    The fact people have a problem with the PRESIDENT addressing kids about the value of education - especially when he's living proof of the value of education.

    It's weird - when I was a kid, I remember helping my mom vote against Bush I twice when she took me into the polling booths. I knew she was a Democrat, but not once did she talk shit about the PotUS around me as a kid. (As a single mom, she did make a few choice comments about Quayle, but I seem to recall I freely declared him stupid all on my own)

    They're teaching kids that the highest office in this land is not worthy of respect. Have fun when they take that to mean none of the people pretending to have authority over them are worthy of it either.

  •  My kids' school won't show the speech (6+ / 0-)

    On other threads, I've posted the principal's response to my support for the speech, but here it is again.  (hope I'm not breaching  etiquette here)

    We will not be showing President Obama's address to school children on Tuesday.  Teachers have suggested to students that if they desire to see it to ask parents to record it so they may view it with their families at home in the evening. Students will be given an opportunity to discuss points they found inspiring on Wednesday morning.
    The more I think about this, the more my bullshit meter redlines.

    I do know that there is another event scheduled in the MPR about an hour before the speech would be shown in CA, but I can't help feeling that they aren't showing it because I live in CA-46, Rohrabacher's district.  If you know CA-46, then I don't need to elaborate.  If you aren't familiar with Rohrabacher, then you don't want to get me started on that jackass.

    I  believe that this is political, not logistical and not racial.  Just political.

    "Mommy, which eye is your naked eye?"-- My son

    by jhb90277 on Fri Sep 04, 2009 at 08:53:53 PM PDT

  •  It's not cognitive dissonance... (10+ / 0-)

    and I don't think it's really that people are afraid of Obama's "socialist" ideas (it's clear from Arne Duncan's memo ahead of time that there's not going to be anything controversial or "socialist" said in the speech). I think "socialism" (and comparing Obama to Hitler, etc) is a smokescreen for what's really going on - there's a minority of people in this country who really can't stand having a black man in the White House. So people who don't believe that African-Americans could have anything useful to say, and that in fact it would be arrogant for a black man to presume to tell their kids anything are being perfectly consistent when they attack the idea of Obama giving a speech to their kids. Their racism trumps their respect for authority, even the highest authority in the land.

    It is shameful, and this is a great diary!!!

    "The universe is made of stories, not atoms." -Muriel Rukeyser

    by tubacat on Fri Sep 04, 2009 at 08:54:21 PM PDT

  •  All of the furor is about not wanting a (4+ / 0-)

    Democrat in the presidency or Democrats controlling congress.  Therefore, the Repugs have to orchestrate how to control when they are not in control.  And they've demonstrated every day lately that they're  good at it.  Even Obama has forgotten who won. It's damned scary to be a progressive Democrat this week.

    The "liberal media" give time to the idiots.  I'm amazed at how little evident preparation Chris Matthews does for his show.  He just repeats a lot of what he did the previous day, while interrupting every guest on his show.  How he loves to hear himself talk!  And if he's on another show, he has to replay his performance.  Great news!

  •  Bravo! (9+ / 0-)

    A fine letter.  I can't believe this is really happening.  Don't schools teach respect for authority any more?  And this isn't the lunatic fringe that protect their children from secular curriculum, those kids don't go to school.

    Kids should be getting excited that the President of the United States, who talks to world leaders, and to sports stars, and to the Pope, and to Congress, wants to talk to them too.

    If not me, who? If not now, when?

    by ramara on Fri Sep 04, 2009 at 09:27:28 PM PDT

  •  It is all about racism... (17+ / 0-)

    ... and the fear that their little snowflake (or is it bubba?) will come home from school and tell them what a smart, educated BLACK president told them. These kids might ask their parents questions, and the parents are scared silly that they'd have to look at their kid and say " I dunno". This violates a very long, long standing rule within their culture about what race is supreme, what race knows everything about everything and which ones are supposed to know their place.

  •  My kids are in Hays CISD near Dripping Springs (5+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    sfgb, Panda, manoffire, ZenTrainer, kaolin

    Our poor 2nd grade teacher emailed the class a letter explaining they would pre-screen the speach, decide if was appropriate, then show it to students unless parents objected, would I please indicate YES my child can watch or, NO my child may not watch....They seem to be trying to walk a middle line.  I emailed back (& replied to all), yes, my child can watch our President's speech.

    Already the email wars have begun; I've been included on one reply from a parent thanking the teacher for providing an alternative, so "we don't have to take our kids out of school".

    Have to take a kid out of school? What are these people afraid of?

    I've decided, thanks to this diary & others & the many great comments, to treat these people firmly but with compassion - after all they are my neighbors. I hope by treating the whole idea (a 5-10 minute speech having the power to mind-warp my kid) with the disdain (dare I say loud guffaws) it deserves will be enough to shame these people.

    BTW, I have some sympathy for teachers & administrators, after reading   this diary.

    "If you talk about helping the poor, they call you a Christian. If you actually do something to help the poor, they call you a socialist." Pastor Jim Rigby

    by karmacat on Fri Sep 04, 2009 at 09:59:13 PM PDT

  •  Go Manoffire. (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Panda, kaolin

    Your family should be proud of you.  Cannot think of a better civics lesson than your letter. Thanx.

  •  You ROCK! (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    sfgb, Panda, jayden, kaolin

    Way to go, woo hooo!  I sincerely wish that my kinfolk around Austin were not all elderly be now and disengaged from school matters.  

    I'm tempted to lambast them myself, but I think getting my favorite aunt, from Blanco, on it, might be be best.

    "The extinction of the human race will come from its inability to EMOTIONALLY comprehend the exponential function." -- Edward Teller

    by lgmcp on Fri Sep 04, 2009 at 10:20:33 PM PDT

  •  Show Bush's 1991 Speech on the Same Day or ASAP? (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    I am a Head of School of a private school.  I have been wracking my brain over this issue.  I just had an idea:  What if our school shows both Obama's speech and Bush Sr.'s 1991 speech?

    How can our school quickly get a copy of Bush's 1991 speech, and how can we show it at our school?

    •  Sorry, but (0+ / 0-)

      Bush Sr. had his moment in 1991. 2009 is Obama's. It's called electing a president.

      Empathetic fascist socialist sociopaths for Obama

      by kaolin on Sat Sep 05, 2009 at 03:20:59 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  From an Adminstrator's Point of View (0+ / 0-)

        I am running a successful private school.  I am interested in transmitting the positive message that President Obama is sending in his speech.  If parents react negatively, it hurts the children.  I would at least like to see what Bush Sr. said in 1991, and maybe even send it along to any concerned parents to help to relieve their fears.  If a valid message is rejected because of the identity of the messenger, everybody loses as the message is undermined.  The fact that I am a democratic activist is irrelevant when it comes to running my school.

  •  KICK ASS! (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Panda, kaolin, RJP9999

    i recently got into a raging debate over facebook with old HS friends from Texas that all still live there (i've since moved) and it seems like the entire state is on the crazy side. yes it's austin but it took guts for you to do this. good on ya'. also, way to turn the tables with the idea of keeping your child OUT of school so he can see it. STRONG WORK!

  •  Congratulations on being rescued (5+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    sfgb, OleHippieChick, geez53, kaolin, RJP9999

    Your letter definitely DESERVES to be seen by more parents, especially those in Texas. GOOD FOR YOU! You brought up some excellent points. I hope you will post the response(s) you receive.

    In 2007 the Texas legislature passed a law, to go into effect this year, requiring every Texas public school student to take a class on the Bible. It isn't being implemented due to the irony of not yet having obtained "state funding".

    Texas public schools required to teach Bible this year
    The law actually passed in 2007, but this will be the first school year it is enforced because the bill says, "The provisions of this act pertaining to a school district do not take effect until the 2009-2010 school year."
    School officials said schools have not enforced the law because of confusion over the bill's wording and lack of state funding. For now, each school district must find a way to fill the requirement before the seats are filled with students.

    We would like to know what you think about this story. Click here to leave your comments and read  the contents of Texas House Bill 1287.

    kltv would like your opinion. (Link above) I see another potential letter to the school district in your future manoffire. ;)

    In the interim perhaps Texas school administrators could offer classes on The United States Constitution with special emphasis on the separation of church and state.

    Thanks, Rescue Rangers!


    Gahzette"At all costs, let's laugh!"~Levon Helm

    by Panda on Sat Sep 05, 2009 at 12:44:09 AM PDT

  •  fear drives their madness (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    geez53, kaolin

    Not just of loony parents, but their own.  Congratulations on taking the stand.  Please keep us posted.

  •  It's 5:00 am and I'm using this, (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    and emme's diary to write a letter to my school district.  I am livid.

  •  Jayz, how long until (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    sfgb, Panda, kaolin

    progressives and liberals start homeschooling their kids to save them from their racist peers, teachers, and administrators?????

    Hit the Easy Button:
    Medicare for All Americans!

    by OleHippieChick on Sat Sep 05, 2009 at 05:14:25 AM PDT

  •  This is all about denying the President's (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    sfgb, liz dexic, kaolin

    legitimacy.  Every issue, every aspect of every issue, every minute detail of every aspect of every issue.  I wonder how the school districts of the nation will react when our President issues the annual proclamation setting the last Thursday in November as a day of national Thanksgiving.  They will screech that this is a communal act and thus a form of communism.  Will school districts be forced to be open that day??  Betcha!

  •  this is even happening in The People's (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    Republic of Madison!! (WI)


    On Tuesday, September 8 at 11:00 AM Wisconsin time, President Obama will deliver a national address directly to students on the importance of education.

    Information from the Department of Education states:
    "The President will challenge students to work hard, set educational goals, and take responsibility for their learning. He will also call for a shared responsibility and commitment on the part of students, parents and educators to ensure that every child in every school receives the best education possible so they can compete in the global economy for good jobs and live rewarding and productive lives as American citizens."

    These are the guidelines that Madison School District teachers and other staff will be following:

       * Teachers may view the speech with their class as part of an age-appropriate lesson aligned to standards within the curriculum.
       * Parents may excuse their child from the activity without penalty. Those students excused should be provided a quiet place to do homework or independent reading.

    I sent an email to the board expressing our extreme displeasure.  Never, ever in my life have I heard of schools banning a presidential speech!  What utter bullshit!


    ROAR in his name Democrats - The Kennedy Health Care Reform Bill.

    by juslikagrzly on Sat Sep 05, 2009 at 06:31:55 AM PDT

  •  Good for you for taking a stand for your child! (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
  •  At least they gave you a little wiggle-room, (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    We're not too far away, in a county that voted 70% for W, W, and Palin/McLame, and they just flat out reject the whole thing. Nothing of President Obama will be allowed anywhere on the campuses, period.
    I'm going to drop by sometime and see if the Dumbya portraits have even been replaced yet, now that is a futile effort, ain't it?

    This is how it's done deep in the heart of Seditionastania, President Obama is being censored out of academic and civic life, except when being excoriated.

    Below is verbatim from a link on our school district's home page.
    And they couldn't just link to another subpage, they made it a malformed .pdf file link to make it more difficult for some parents to view.
    The ones even able to. This is a rural area, relatively low-income and even if they have a suitable computer, access is problematic for streaming media (almost no broadband available), and using suitable players might be beyond the tech skills of many. Which of course is part of the plan (does any of this sound familiar?: Keep 'em down any way you can)

    The letter from the ISD webpage (I'm damned glad my last graduated in '05)

    September 3, 2009
    Dear FU-ISD Parent:

    President Obama will deliver an address to America's students on September 8, 2009 at 11 a.m. As a district, the FU Independent School District will not broadcast the speech live but will provide a link to the speech on the FU-ISD web site so that parents can show it to their children if they choose. Our website is
    Please direct all questions to my office. the administration phone number is l . my email address is l .

    Superintendent, FU

    I quote the good lady from Richmond over at KissMyBigBlueButt because she puts it so well reacting to events in her district:

    "At best, this letter is an attempt to polarize children while they are at school. It is inexcusable on that level alone.
    More importantly, it is clearly meant to dismiss and marginalize the President of the United States as an optional President.
    What the hell message is the school sending? That the President is illegitimate and not worthy of attention. Oh Lord, if George Bush had done this it would have been required and the kids would have been encouraged to bring pom-poms."

    This kind of shit has been carefully planned to  divide and indoctrinate our young learners.
    They reacted in an amazingly short time as I see it, I have no doubt that they (Rove et al.) have a very cafefully planned strategy to subvert our current duly-elected government in light of their actions these first seven months of a Democratic administration.
    It is being conducted as is a scorched earth military campaign, you lollygagging 'libruls' had better wake the fuck up.

    Wake up, y'all, these people are deadly serious, and implacable enemies of American ideals.

  •  They were too chickenshit to ... (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    even send out a letter in our school district.

    They "robo-called" the parents Thursday night, saying that they would tape the speech and review it for "appropriate educational content", before deciding if they would show it.

    If they decided to show it they would be sending home a form offering parents an "opt-out".

    My 12 year old daughters comment of "they have heard of the internet?" shows how just laughable their response is.

  •  good for you, taking action.Anyway, the reality (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    is that because of the 24/7 instant meltdown, jump to conclusions, burn the witch, drown the warlock media blog world hysteria this speech will become an an instant hit looped incessantly around several clocks so children will be forced to rebel against their parents and demand they be allowed to view it.

    Great strategy.  Bann it then watch it burn to high heaven getting far more attention than just another boring speech on a boring subject to kids, their own education, would get.

    keep up the protests. Raise the level as high as the flames of outrage and indignation. Fan the flames.

  •  For anyone who understands a modicum of (0+ / 0-)

    psychology, this is indoctrination.  Read the following:

    "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.

    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?"

    "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."

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

    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

    "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."

    Yes, it's from FOX, but it's facts.  Ya'll really need to wake up to who you voted for.  If Bush did this, we'd have been LIVID.

  •  Uhm, did you even bother to go look at the lesson (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    kaolin, Sarah Who, McCain lies

    plans? The are available at What you presented above was taken completely out of context, and was a very small part of a larger study in goal setting and responsibility.

    It saddens me that you relied simply on what Fox reported, who used quotes from two of the most conservative educational policy makers out there, without even doing a little research about the lesson plans.

    If anything, I would argue the plans themselves are "too safe" and do nothing to connect the idea of personal responsibility to the importance of community responsibility.

    Change. Such a small word Full of grace, it comes alive As one embraces hope. The Radical Imagination: Dreaming of the future as it might yet be.

    by Edubabbler on Sat Sep 05, 2009 at 01:12:11 PM PDT

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