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.