Today was the first day of school in Glendale. School was supposed to start on Monday but the district was shut down for three days because of the fires (thanks, Gaia! That’s what I get for trying to reduce my carbon footprint). At any rate, school started as usual, we brought my daughter into her new Spanish immersion class, she seems happy and everything was otherwise normal.
Then while perusing my ususal selection of blogs this morning, I come across this little tidbit about a controversial line in the teacher prep materials for President Obama’s upcoming speech to students. Apparently in the lesson plans students had been asked to, “Write letters to themselves about what they can do to help the president.” which has now been changed to “Write letters to themselves about how they can achieve their short‐term and long‐term education goals.” There are, of course, the usual collection of right-wing crazies who think this some dastardly plot by the Administration to turn their kids into Village of the Damned-style zombies who are going to come home chanting “Hopeenchange… hopenchange…” and eat your brains if you turn on your water sprinklers at the wrong time.
Honestly, people. There’s justifiable criticism of the President and then there’s insanity. Anyone who’s read this blog knows that I’m not a huge fan of the President’s policies but we can’t let resistance to Obama slide into 9/11 trutherism territory (I’m looking at you birth certificate people). It seems to me like this is a standard issue stunt (albeit a big one) designed to burnish Obama’s image when he’s sliding in the polls. Let’s not forget too that the image of an educated African-American in the White House is inspirational to a lot of kids. If Obama can encourage a few kids who might otherwise drop out of school to stay in, then I say he’s done the country a great service.
That being said — it was kind of stupid to put that kind of a statist line in the teacher prep plans and give a rhetorical weapon to the opposition. I would like my kids to respect the office of the Presidency but to always think critically about the person who holds it. He (or eventually she) serves us and we should always be updating their performance review in our minds. And here’s a quick tip for the Obama Administration. If you would have howled at President Bush doing it, don’t do it.