Okay, I am confused by all of the fuss about President Obama's speech to America's students. I am confused about a our local headline that read: "Should we invite Obama to our classrooms?"
Am I missing something here or are people having some sort of historical log jam that causes brain waves to dismount and flow into some abnormal recess where they won't have to think? Having the President of the United States of American talk to our children should be a good thing.
Before I launch in, I didn't vote for President Obama, but I do believe that he believes like I believe that education is the most important ingredient to add to one's life experience in order to "see beyond the present." In fact, my formulaic motto has been this (taken from strategic planning concepts): past + the future = the present. And I think that is what President Obama has tasked himself to do. He wants students to understand that school is very, very important. I don't think there is one person alive--well, maybe a couple--who doesn't believe that education is the key to personal success and the success of economic development.
From what I can gather, President Obama wants to discuss basically three things: 1) to encourage students to work hard (since when is working hard a bad thing?); 2) to encourage students to set education goals for their futures (now, there's a novel idea to set goals so you can achieve something); and 3) help student understand the importance of taking on personal responsibility for learning (student should be taught to be lifelong learners). Tell me what is wrong with these three items?
Okay, I know that there is a particularly "curriculum" that has been devised/ developed/created by the Department of Education. I realize that some of the "discussion questions" may not be what some teachers or parents would like their children to be asked. But any teacher worth his or her salt can surely devise other questions that ostensibly will encourage some critical thinking. It seems to me that for decades, teachers--me included--have attempted to inculcate critical thinking into our curricula--across the board. Truly, it cannot be that tough to create other types of discussion or assignments to be used in the classroom. I can think of dozens of ways to make President Obama's speech to students integral to classroom learning. You just have to think about it.
Now, if today's teachers could utilize holograms to "invite" presidents to their classrooms, would they invite Washington, Adams,Jackson, Lincoln, Wilson, Roosevelt, Kennedy, and other historical figures to the classroom? You bet! Who wouldn't want President Lincoln to enter their classroom to talk about a variety of issues in his time. If you remember back, there were a whole lot of people who didn't believe anything he said for almost five years. In fact, we went to war over these issues, and families were destroyed because of them. But today, I believe, we would highly encourage President Lincoln to come. Can you imagine having him come and talk about the "Gettysburg Address" and its significance to him and that time and place?
But now, President Obama--the current President of the United States, duly elected by the people--would like a few words with our children to help them understand his love of education and its importance in their lives? I personally do not think there is anything wrong with this.
President Obama talks about the "audacity of hope." All of this hoopla seems to be nothing but a "paucity of respect" for the President of the United States of America. Let's see what he says and then have the discussion--an open, respectful, and critically thought out discussion.