Obama’s Speech to School Children – Really That Bad?

Many people are up in arms over Obama’s speech to school children scheduled for tomorrow, September 8th. While I am by no means championing his agenda, I will not be the one to bring down the political fire and brimstone.

Not everyone sees this as a small deal; Govern Pawlenty took a bit more forceful stance: “At a minimum [the speech is] disruptive, number two, it’s uninvited and number three, if people would like to hear his message they can, on a voluntary basis, go to YouTube or some other source and get it. I don’t think [Obama] needs to force it upon the nation’s school children.”

I do see this as political, but I also see this as a teachable moment.

As a democratically elected official, Obama needs the support and prayers of the American people. I am not saying that major decisions need not be vetted; there can be room for disagreement (and with Obama, conservatives and especially Christians have *a lot* to disagree about). But is this speech the right fight, or is there a more global picture we should recognize?

I looked at the proposed teaching materials; the lesson plan could have been developed by any instructor and geared toward any speech.

If I were a parent homeschooling my children, this would be just another tool that I could choose to use as a short lesson. Maybe I would use it, maybe I wouldn’t. Listening to this speech is not mandatory and these questions are not inherently geared to supporting a socialist agenda.

Questions for instructors:
Who is the President of the United States?
What do you think it takes to be president?
Why is it important that we listen to the president and other elected officials, like the mayor,
senators, members of congress, or the governor? Why is what they say important?
What is the president trying to tell me?
What is the president asking me to do?
What do you think the president wants us to do?
Does the speech make you want to do anything?

There is no reason to become apoplectic. Believing this speech will indoctrinate young, impressionable, school students is missing the forest for the trees. The Department of Education sets the standards, proposes the initiatives, disseminates information to be spoon-fed to districts, schools, and classrooms throughout the nation. This happens every single day.

So the question truly becomes: who is educating your children? Is it the parents who take Obama’s speech and reviews it with the child? Or is it the public school teachers who accept the curriculum set by the administration and may have a political agenda their own? If children in public schools are being brainwashed, parents are also accountable for being complicit with the process. Protesting September 8th makes me wonder if other parents believe that all the other days are devoid of overt secular teaching. How much difference does one day make if all the other ones are spent in the same classroom by the same teacher?

Proverbs 22:6 is both a promise and a warning: “Train up a child in the way he should go; and when he is old, he will not depart from it.”

Paid Subscriptions to Online News?

Bad idea.

“We intend to charge for all our news websites,” Mr Murdoch said.

“If we’re successful, we’ll be followed by all media,” he added, predicting “significant revenues” from charging for differentiated news online.

He warned that “the big competition will be coming from the BBC,” which offers online news for free, but said: “Our policy is to win.”

There is a great article in the Atlantic that questions the wisdom of such a move.

I do too.

News articles are ubiquitous. Google News gives instant access to hundreds if not thousands of articles on a particular subject at a moment’s notice. To practically absolute certainty, I would not pay to subscribe for news content that I can obtain just as easily for free.

Does Murdoch’s move strike anyone as a good idea? Maybe if you own BBC.