Wednesday, September 9, 2009

Obama-Drama: Much ado about nothing

Obama's address to students came and went without any negative impact on the children. No mass hysteria or "indoctrination" occurred. America's children didn't flood the streets shouting Marxist propaganda. All kidding aside, children were never the issue with Obama's speech - it was always about the adults. More on that in a moment, but first a recap of last night's school board meeting . . .

* During public comment, the head of the Neshaminy of the Support Staff union presented the board with another petition demanding that support workers' jobs should not be outsourced.
* A Levittown woman said that she was concerned by the sharing of specialist teachers between multiple schools and the effect it might have on events such as concerts, plays, art shows, etc. She encouraged parents to get more involved in their school's PTO to support these events.
* Dr. Muenker acknowledged that schools opened successfully in the district.
* Bill Spitz announced that detailed results of our recent PSSA scores would be discussed at the next Education Development Committee meeting (9/21).
* Ritchie Webb updated the audience on negotiations with the teachers union; basically nothing new to report as the two sides remain far apart on key issues. Board Pez Webb also announced that a 3-person ad hoc board committee was formed to evaluate our building utilization (yours truly being named committee chair).
* We expect to hear what the State's Act 1 inflationary limit will be for the next school year later this week; rumor has it the magic number will be around 2%.

A quick note about the ad hoc facilities committee . . . I have already heard rumors of a secret decision of which building(s) will be closed, and that this committee is just window dressing. WRONG! Anyone who tells you that they know the final outcome is just mongering gossip. There is no guarantee that we will even decide to close another building at this point. The best way for you to follow developments of this committee is to attend the meetings (dates tbd).

Now let's talk about President Obama's address to the students. I received nearly a dozen emails last week from parents concerned about the nature of the President's address. Most of the people writing to me were not yet aware of what was being discussed, and they simply wanted reassurance that the board would not allow the speech to be broadcast if it were about political issues such as health care reform. However some of our neighbors took a much different view about President Obama's speech. They saw it as an opportunity for Obama to indoctrinate the children into what they perceive to be a liberal agenda, and they didn't care what the subject was because Obama's very presence was potentially harmful to the children. Think I'm exaggerating? Here are a few excerpts from some of the emails I received last week:

"I am contacting you regarding the Obama speech scheduled to be broadcast to our children next week . . . If necessary, my children will not attend school on Tuesday."

"Do not further the socialistic/fascistic/communistic ideaologies of this administration."

"... this is propaganda and against the Constitution of the United States."

"This man is evil and cannot be allowed to corrupt the young innocents of our community. You must protect our children!"

"Obama is a communist and you are a communist if you allow him to spread his left wing liberal filth to the children."

"... he is intent on indoctrinating our youth into his marxist agenda just like Hitler."

So there you have it - real comments from some of your neighbors. I didn't realize that Joe McCarthy was still alive and apparently living right here in Bucks County.

I have no problem with parents wanting to know what the President was going to discuss with our students. These are political times, and parents should take an active role in understanding what is being taught to their children. And it shouldn't matter which political party our president belongs to - It was ok by me that Bush 41 spoke to kids on the evils of illegal drugs back in the early 90's, and it's ok by me that Obama talked to our children now about the importance of a good education. Unfortunately there are too many people out there who don't care about the topic because they can only focus on the politics.

I do find it ironic and somewhat amusing that conservatives and liberals criticize each other on their behavior yet they act exactly the same during moments such as this. And during such moments they provide a valuable lesson to our children on how NOT to behave as an adult.

Here endeth the lesson.


sportsfan said...

Pretty harsh comments !! That's why I don't watch or listen to politics (FOX or CNN News) and just listen to 610 WIP.

I Must Be Living in Jersey said...

If you don't like those comments then stay away from the Courier blog. The ignorance is incredible.
I run hot and cold with President Obama, and I understand not everyone will like him. But all these accusations of communism and marxism are astounding. Seriously does anyone really think this guy became president with the goal of running the country into the ground?
I applaud former first lady Laura Bush for her comments yesterday, and she is right that the office of president deserves respect.

Gabriel said...

For any parents who used those words William, they should have to show us their written comments to their children for approval. They are doing far more harm than anything President Obama could have said.

I did not vote for Obama and I disagree strongly with his major policy stands at the moment. However I respect him as our (yes OUR) president and believe he is acting in the best interests of the country. I am ashamed to call myself conservative when I read comments like the ones you posted earlier.

LivininLevittown said...

I guess i'll be the minority voice on this blog again but I dont think Obama or any president should speak to the kids. There is to much controversy. I distrust all politicians and dont think any thing good comes of it when they speak to students.

LivininLevittown said...

I didnt mean you Mr. O'connor when I said I distrusted all politicians. I know you are not like that.

Teacher said...

I thank Dr. Muenker for giving us the opportunity to show the President's speech to our students. Most of the students enjoyed it and I would even say that a couple of them felt inspired to do better. Even if just one student works harder because of what the President said, it will have been well worth the effort.

Thank you William for clarifying the building closure situation. Just as you said there are many rumors circulating that one or more buildings will close next year and that the board is not concerned how crowded it may get. Please let us not repeat what happened with Maple Point last year.

Rebecca said...

No progress with the teachers union or the support staff, and we may be looking at a 2% budget cap. Not exactly off to a fast start on next year's budget, are you? Sounds like we are in for more of the same as last year. Not sure I can take another year like that.

acs said...

Look, you people should not get your shorts in an uproar.....the things people say about Obama are actually much tamer than what the left said about Bush and Cheney as they attacked them non stop for 8 years......How soon we forget.

That is with it. This is America and name calling has been around since Adams and Jefferson. Personally I think it is fine to have a Pres address students as long as it is very non political and students have a choice in the matter. The president is a very Partisan Politician by definition especially these days and I agree with LivininLevittown it is really not appropriate in general but I wouldn't fight it. I am sure Obama is a role model for some and that is great.
Unfortunately recent presidents have dumbed it down for this generation of kids.....look who they grew up with....Clinton who introduced middle schoolers to Oral Sex and Bush that used his connections to win and then bumbled through 8 years destroying the English language and the economy. Basically two butts of late night comedians...a shame we are here now, but politicians are seen as the lowest of low. Think of all the infidelity and crimes national politicians have been caught doing recently.
Obama seemed a year ago to be something else. Alas it was just a mirage and really manufactured by the press and a guy that can speak. After watching 8 months of this, well he is jsut more of the SOS. That has a lot to do with why so many people expressed a desire to not have him speak to their kids. They don't trust him now...he is just another mortal politician and in this case out of the mainstream. Nothing more. Once again dumbing down the presidency like many before.

finance-101 said...

It was basically just a pep talk, nothing more, nothing less. If your kid was a C- student and needed a pep talk, who would you want to give it. Rate them 1 to 9 based on motivation. No politics please.

Bill Clinton
GW Bush
Gov. Ed Rendell
Principal of School
Rush Lindbaugh
Sara Palin

acs said...

Parents and Teachers are the motivators. The rest do not motivate really at all.
Obama motivates African American Kids and adults and that is Fantastic.
Maybe a Principal but that is very variable. My kids had Neshaminy principals that were basically cops. Kids were afraid of them.

sk.langhorne said...

Don't lose your conviction Rebecca. That's exactly what the NFT wants to hear. This is a waiting game and they are hoping to frustrate the parents so that they put pressure on the board to cave in. O'Connor, Webb, Spitz and the other board members must stay strong and so must you. They cannot buckle under the pressure and neither can we. Hang in there!