The White House issued an advisory Wednesday that President Barack Obama will be speaking live to the nation’s school children at noon on Tuesday, September 8th in an address that can be streamed directly into the schools. The President’s speech about the importance of education was reportedly planned for weeks, but in recent days a national backlash has erupted that includes a call to boycott the schools that decide to air the speech by keeping students home on the day of the broadcast.
Locally, opponents are urging parents to keep their children home or otherwise ensure that they will not be required to see the speech or participate in the accompanying classroom activities created by the U. S. Department of Education.
A message posted on the federal department’s website and reportedly sent to principals nationwide, offers links to the suggested classroom activities for students in Pre-K through grade 12, to be used following the airing of the President’s 15-20 minute speech. Some of the activities were recently amended in reaction to the backlash. Of the speech itself, the website says the President will “speak directly to the nation’s children and youth about persisting and succeeding in school. The president will challenge students to work hard, set educational goals, and take responsibility for their learning.”
Bill Reinhard, spokesman for the Maryland State Department of Education, told The Dagger that the classroom lessons came entirely from the federal government and that the state was “not involved”, leaving local school districts scrambling to make decisions over whether and how students will participate in the event. Teri Kranefeld, Manager of Communications for Harford County Public Schools said school officials were meeting later today (Thursday) to discuss a response.
Tony Passaro, of the Bel Air Tea Party Coalition, sent out a strongly worded email early Thursday to his contact list, calling for a nationwide boycott of schools unless they agreed not to air the broadcast. Passaro’s email calls the speech and related activities “an invasion of our school systems for the sole purpose of propaganda for Obama” adding:
THIS IS A TEST BY THE ADMINISTRATION AND THE NATIONAL EDUCATION ASSOCIATION, AND ALL THOSE THAT WANT TO SEE AMERICA FUNDAMENTALLY CHANGED. IF WE DO NOT STAND OUR GROUND AND LET THEM KNOW WE ABSOLUTELY WILL NOT ALLOW THIS, HOW DO WE KNOW THAT THE NEXT TIME OBAMA DECIDES TO INVADE THE SCHOOL SYSTEM, HE WON’T BE ASKING OUR CHILDREN TO SPY ON US, THEIR PARENTS? WE DON’T! HE HAS ALREADY ASKED FELLOW AMERICANS TO SPY ON EACH OTHER AND THERE IS NOTHING BENEATH HIM AND HIS THUGS.
But Passaro told The Dagger in a phone interview that he is not personally making the decision for parents to boycott local schools, rather he is leaving it up to parents to spread the word about the speech and to reach consensus about what would constitute acceptable school policies regarding student participation.
Here is the full text of Passaro’s letter:
BE ADVISED AMERICA, ONCE AGAIN WE ARE BEING ASSAULTED.
TIME TO FIGHT BACK.
MY THOUGHTS ON OBAMA’S INTENTIONS TO USE OUR SCHOOLS TO PUSH HIS POLITICAL AGENDA!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
SCHOOLS ARE FUNDED IN THESE UNITED STYATES ON THE NUMBER OF STUDENTS WHO ARE IN ATTENDANCE ON ANY GIVEN DAY. HAVING SAID THAT, MONEY SEEMS TO TALK LOUDER THAN PRINCIPLE.
AS A PATRIOTIC CITIZEN OF THIS NATION, NOT AS A MEMBER OF ANY GROUP, EXCEPT THE AMERICAN PEOPLE, I CALL FOR A NATIONWIDE BOYCOTT OF THE PUBLIC SCHOOL SYSTEMS ACROSS THIS COUNTRY UNLESS THE STATE BOARDS OF EDUCATION AGREE NOT TO AIR THIS BROADCAST. THEY MUST PUBLICLY ANNOUNCE THAT THEY WILL NOT AIR THIS.
MANY OF OUR SCHOOLS HAVE DECIDED TO MAKE THIS VOLUNTARY AND ALLOW PARENTS THE OPTION OF NOT HAVING THEIR CHILDREN VIEW THIS. I SAY THAT IS NOT GOOD ENOUGH.
WHY SHOULD THOSE THAT SEEK TO DESTROY THIS NATION SUBVERT OUR CHILDREN.
WHY SHOULD OBAMA BE ALLOWED TO FURTHER HIS AGENDA AT TAXPAYER EXPENSE?
SCHOOL IS NOT A PLACE FOR PROPAGANDA, IT IS SUPPOSED TO BE FOR LEARNING. NOT FOR LEARNING THE OBAMA AGENDA OR LEARNING TO PLEDGE ALLEGIANCE TO OBAMA. THIS IS ABSOLUTELY GOING TOO FAR.
THERE IS NOTHING THIS INSANE MAN AND HIS ANTI-AMERICAN MOVEMENT WON’T DO TO OVERTHROW OUR FORM OF GOVERNMENT. NOR NO LOWS THEY WON’T STOOP TO, TO ACCOMPLISH THEIR GOALS.
WE, AS AMERICANS, CAN NOT ALLOW THIS INVASION OF OUR SCHOOL SYSTEMS FOR THE SOLE PURPOSE OF PROPAGANDA FOR OBAMA.
THIS IS A TEST BY THE ADMINISTRATION AND THE NATIONAL EDUCATION ASSOCIATION, AND ALL THOSE THAT WANT TO SEE AMERICA FUNDAMENTALLY CHANGED. IF WE DO NOT STAND OUR GROUND AND LET THEM KNOW WE ABSOLUTELY WILL NOT ALLOW THIS, HOW DO WE KNOW THAT THE NEXT TIME OBAMA DECIDES TO INVADE THE SCHOOL SYSTEM, HE WON’T BE ASKING OUR CHILDREN TO SPY ON US, THEIR PARENTS? WE DON’T! HE HAS ALREADY ASKED FELLOW AMERICANS TO SPY ON EACHOTHER AND THERE IS NOTHING BENEATH HIM AND HIS THUGS.
THIS IS THE STRONGEST NON-VIOLENT MESSAGE THAT WE CAN SEND AND I THINK THAT SINCE THE ALMIGHTY DOLLAR SEEMS TO BE SO WORSHIPPED IN OUR CORRUPT GOVERNMENTAL SYSTEM, TAKING A FEW DOLLARS AWAY MIGHT MAKE A FEW HAVE A CHANGE OF MIND. (NOT HEART AS NOONE WHO WORKS TO DESTROY THIS COUNTRY HAS ONE OF THOSE).
Bel Air Tea Party Coalition
Passaro also offered this sample note to a school principal, for parents interested “in protecting your children from Obama’s socialist mass indoctrination” by excusing students from viewing the speech or participating in related activities:
For those of you that need it, ‘
Here is a sample letter that you may find of interest in protecting your children from Obama’s socialist mass indoctrination attempt that is scheduled to occur on September 8th, and a link to the site is provided below:
Dear Principal ____________ :
Please excuse _____Child’s Name__________ from class Tuesday, September 8, 2009 at 12:00 noon eastern standard time for the duration of the speech that will be broadcast live on the White House website www.whitehouse.gov.
Furthermore ____Child’s Name___________ does NOT have my permission to participate in any efforts “to help engage students and stimulate discussion on the importance of education in their lives” or any “student video contest on education” activities. (Quotes are from Secretary Arne Duncan’s letter to School Principals).
Challenging my child to work hard, set educational goals, and take responsibility for my child’s learning is MY RESPONSIBILITY as a parent. I DO NOT CEDE this responsibility to President Obama, or anyone else – now or ever.
A Responsible Parent
Here is the website with MUCH MORE INFORMATION on what is happening behind the scenes in regards to this insidious attempt to undermine parental authority:
Bel Air Tea Party Coalition
Delegate Rick Impallaria sent out an email of his own saying he is trying to get answers from local school systems about their plans involving the speech, telling parents he would support their decision to keep their children home from school next Tuesday “100%”. Citing the short notice about the impending speech and the lack of information about its content, Impallaria says “parents have the right to boycott what we fear as the start of the indoctrination of our children without the opportunity to review the material.”
Here is Impallaria’s email:
Pres. Obama’s Address to School Children on Sept. 8, 2009
With the news having broken yesterday about Pres. Obama’s address to school children, I am attempting to get several questions answered by the Baltimore and the Harford County Public Schools. Are they using the address? Will parents have the right to keep their children out of school for it, if they desire? Will their children have the right to a non-absence in this instance? Has this addition to the curriculum been approved by the School Board and the PTA? Has a curriculum outline been sent home to parents?
I am particularly concerned because of the short notice and the very little time for gathering information about the address, and for allowing for public reaction to this plan, especially since Monday is the Labor Day holiday, and the address is the following day.
According to the office of the Baltimore County Superintendent of Schools, if you do not want your child to participate, you need only notify the school principal, and your child will have an alternate activity available during the address. However, rather than stigmatize my child by having him pulled out of class, I would just keep him home that day (I do have two children in public school).
The Harford County Public Schools are meeting this afternoon at 4:15 pm (Sept. 3) to discuss this event, and no information is available yet.
If you, as a parent, choose not to send your child to school for Pres. Obama’s address, I want you to know I support you 100%.
If teachers have the right to strike, parents have the right to boycott what we fear as the start of the indoctrination of our children without the opportunity to review the material.
You can look at the White House’s concept of this address by going to http://www.whitehouse.gov/blog/My-Education-My-Future/
It includes a link to the U. S. Dept. of Education lesson plans.
Nationwide, some parents don’t want their kids participating in the Obama presentation:
Please feel free to forward this information to anyone you know is interested.
Delegate, District 7
Harford County Public Schools sent a mass Alert Now phone call out to parents on Thursday evening with a message saying the speech would not be broadcast live in school on Tuesday, but leaving open the possibility that the speech might be used in the classroom at a later date. Here is the text of the accompanying News Flash posted on the school system’s website:
We have received many inquiries from parents, students, staff and community as to whether Harford County Public Schools (HCPS) will provide access to view President Barack Obama’s national address to students, which will be broadcast live on the White House website, as well as C-SPAN, at noon, Tuesday, September 8.
HCPS instructional guidelines prevent us from streaming the live broadcast of the presidential address in schools. The guidelines establish that all videos and broadcasts must be previewed for instructional and curricular value. In addition, the viewing must include pre-viewing, during viewing, and post-viewing activities. Due to the live nature of this address, there is insufficient time for instructional preparation.
We recognize that there are students and families interested in viewing this event. We are providing the links for your convenience in order to allow parents to engage in meaningful dialogue with their children.
With respect to potential future classroom use of the address, a determination regarding the appropriateness and direct instructional value will be made as a result of a collaborative effort among the teacher, the principal, and the Department of Curriculum and Instruction.
Del. Impallaria also issued a new letter this morning with some updated information:
Pres. Obama Address to Schoolchildren – Additional Info
HARFORD COUNTY PUBLIC SCHOOLS
I just received this information from the Harford County Public Schools. At the conclusion of this afternoon’s meeting, they decided that they would not be showing the address live. It is the policy that videos etc. not be shown live. They must be previewed by teachers, principals, and the Dept. of Curriculum and Instruction; material must have instructional value relating to existing curriculum.
HCPS will provide this information on their website www.hcps.org, and they will also provide a link to the C-SPAN website where parents can view the President’s address with their children.
For further information, contact Terri Kranefeld, HCPS Communications Manager, 410-588-5203.
BALTIMORE COUNTY PUBLIC SCHOOLS
The BCPS Superintendent’s Bulletin (vol. X, no. 16) states that, “Viewing the address with students is not mandatory. Teachers may choose to connect this current event to instruction. … Teachers should make the instructional decision that best meets the needs of their students. Meaningful experiences related to President Obama’s address will have the same qualities as meaningful instruction: rigorous, engaging, and purposeful acquisitioin and processing of knowledge.”
Questions should be addressed to the BCPS Coordinator for Social Studies, Mr. Rex Shepard, 410-887-4017.
I hope parents find this information helpful.
Delegate, District 7