UNDERNEWS

Undernews is the online report of the Progressive Review, edited by Sam Smith, who covered Washington during all or part of one quarter of America's presidencies and edited alternative journals since 1964. The Review has been on the web since 1995. See main page for full contents

September 2, 2009

NO CHILD LEFT OUT OF OBAMA'S REELECTION CAMPAIGN

Sam Smith, Progressive Review - Barack Obama is giving a national speech to school children on September 8. In a stunning example of the administration's intrusion on local public education, the Department of Education has produced a "Menu of Classroom Activities" to be used in connection with the speech.

For example, it is suggested that before the speech, children are asked, "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?"

During the speech, student should "write down key ideas or phrases that are important or personally meaningful. . . What new ideas and actions is the President challenging me to think about?"

After the speech the students should be asked: "What do you think the President wants us to do?. . . Does the speech make you want to do anything?. . . Are we able to do what President Obama is asking of us?"

It is not clear whether any of these questions will be used in the next No Child Left Behind Tests. What is clear is that the president, for political purposes, is abusing the nation's classrooms.

5 Comments:

Anonymous Mairead said...

That's so unacceptable that I'm having trouble characterising it. It's not so much an abuse of the classroom as child abuse akin to brainwashing.

It would be fine if the teacher were instructed to ask WHETHER anything important was said, and why it should be called important if so, and why nothing important was said if not, and what might have been said that would have been important, and so forth. An actual constructive teaching session on the importance of critical thinking, in other words.

But that? That should get someone reprimanded at the least, if not sacked.

September 2, 2009 12:31 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

This is political pedophilia.

September 3, 2009 9:01 AM  
Anonymous John said...

So much controversy when we don't even know Obama's actual words to these children...anyways, I take issue with this-

"In a stunning example of the administration's intrusion on local public education, the Department of Education has produced a 'Menu of Classroom Activities' to be used in connection with the speech...What is clear is that the president, for political purposes, is abusing the nation's classrooms."

First, other presidents have done similar things in the past. Second, is one hour REALLY a "stunning intrusion?" I mean, so what is the alternative for the Dept of Education to do - just say "make your own activities?" Maybe that would be better, but suggesting a structure for the discussion does not strike me as a "stunning intrusion." If you could show me evidence that teachers will be punished if they don't use the "menu," then go ahead and accuse them of brainwashing..."political purposes?" At the worst, these are just poorly chosen questions. 1 hour of time with poorly chosen question strikes me as a missed opportunity, nothing more.

September 3, 2009 11:45 AM  
Anonymous Mairead said...

John, "poorly chosen" doesn't describe those questions.

"Poorly chosen" implies that there was no agenda behind them, that the questions were irrelevant, contradictory, aimless, and/or poorly written/hard to understand or answer. But that's not the case, here. Here there was a very obvious agenda in view. Every question was a propagandistic one, implicitly asserting the relevance and importance of Obama's speech, and undermining any attempt by students to carefully think about what was being said/not said.

September 3, 2009 12:56 PM  
Anonymous Mairead said...

A comment from 'Chamelion' at CommonDreams:

"Nothing new here for me. Used to do the same when I was kid in eastern europe and the beloved leader would have a televised address. All pupils were supposed to listen take notes and then be able to answer questions from the teachers about the speech."

September 4, 2009 6:40 AM  

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