FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail

Defenders of the Classroom

Vigilance. Without it who knows what sorts of insidious messages would slip into the curriculum of public schools throughout the country.

The prospect of President Obama encouraging students to study and stay in school terrified many on the right who believed that if their children learn to think for themselves they may eschew the likes of Rush Limbaugh and his ilk and even, in some cases, their parents. They feared that the president, being both articulate and intelligent would, in the brief time allotted, emulate the Pied Piper and lead children from the classroom into the muddy waters of socialism or fascism, depending on which commentator was believed.

Florida’s Republican Party chairman, Jim Greer, gave voice to the terrified parents.

“As the father of four children, I am absolutely appalled that taxpayer dollars are being used to spread President Obama’s socialist ideology. The idea that school children across our nation will be forced to watch the President justify his plans for government-run health care, banks, and automobile companies, increasing taxes on those who create jobs, and racking up more debt than any other President, is not only infuriating, but goes against beliefs of the majority of Americans, while bypassing American parents through an invasive abuse of power. . . .

The address scheduled for September 8, 2009, does not allow for healthy debate on the President’s agenda, but rather obligates the youngest children in our public school system to agree with our President’s initiatives or be ostracized by their teachers and classmates. . . .The Democrats have clearly lost the battle to maintain control of the message this summer, so now that school is back in session, President Obama has turned to American’s children to spread his liberal lies, indoctrinating American’s youngest children before they have a chance to decide for themselves.”

(In fairness to Mr. Greer it must be pointed out that he made his comments when he didn’t know what he was talking about. When he got around to reading the speech he said he planned to watch it.)

Mark Steyn of Canada, a political commentator and classroom defender told Rush Limbaugh that in wanting to speak to children in school Mr. Obama was like North Korean leader Kim Jong-il or Saddam Hussein in that he was creating a cult of personality albeit on a smaller scale than those two men had done. In case the Greer and Steyn messages failed to resonate with those concerned with protecting the classroom from the President, Governor Tim Pawlenty of Minnesota joined the defenders.

According to Politico the governor told the Minneapolis Star Tribune the speech could be disruptive. He worried not only about content, which was adequately addressed by Mr. Greer, but motive. The lesson plan sent to schools encouraged the students to write to the president. It first suggested that students write letters saying how they could help the president but reacting to criticism, the plan was amended to suggest the students write letters about what the President’s goals should be. Either is a subtle form of indoctrination and, as Mr. Steyn told Mr. Limbaugh, “slightly unhealthy.” The Governor told a radio show that: “There are going to be questions about-well, what are they going to do with those names and is that for the purpose of a mailing list?” The governor has put his finger on a very significant point. Although it was possible that in 18 minutes Mr. Obama would not cover all the topics anticipated by Mr. Greer, if the students write the President, Mr. Pawlenty believes the government will compile a list of names of students that it can later contact to further propagandize them. The president’s speech was not the only perceived threat to the classroom to rear its head in September.

In California Governor Schwarzenegger has been given a piece of legislation to sign that would create a “day of recognition” for former San Francisco Board of Supervisors member, Harvey Milk, who was assassinated in 1977. Under California law a “day of recognition” means that schools “conduct suitable commemorative exercises.” Randy Thomasson, president of SaveCalifornia.com, described all the problems inherent in allowing such a bill to become law saying that: “The bill is so broad it could encompass all kinds of things. Remembering the life of Harvey Milk could allow for gay pride parades on campus or mock gay weddings or cross-dressing. There is no prohibition of what the bill calls ‘suitable commemorative exercises.’ The sky’s the limit.”

Public education has been seriously threatened with the start of the new school year. We can only be grateful for the likes of Messrs. Greer, Pawlenty and Thomasson who are attempting to ensure that ideas won’t find their ways into our classrooms.

CHRISTOPHER BRAUCHLI can be e-mailed at brauchli.56@post.harvard.edu.

 

More articles by:
Weekend Edition
August 17, 2018
Friday - Sunday
Daniel Wolff
The Aretha Dialogue
Nick Pemberton
Donald Trump and the Rise of Patriotism 
Joseph Natoli
First Amendment Rights and the Court of Popular Opinion
Andrew Levine
Midterms 2018: What’s There to Hope For?
Jeffrey St. Clair
Roaming Charges: Running Out of Fools
Ajamu Baraka
Opposing Bipartisan Warmongering is Defending Human Rights of the Poor and Working Class
Paul Street
Corporate Media: the Enemy of the People
David Macaray
Trump and the Sex Tape
CJ Hopkins
Where Have All the Nazis Gone?
Daniel Falcone
The Future of NATO: an Interview With Richard Falk
Robert Hunziker
Hothouse Earth
Cesar Chelala
The Historic Responsibility of the Catholic Church
Ron Jacobs
The Barbarism of US Immigration Policy
Kenneth Surin
In Shanghai
William Camacaro - Frederick B. Mills
The Military Option Against Venezuela in the “Year of the Americas”
Nancy Kurshan
The Whole World Was Watching: Chicago ’68, Revisited
Robert Fantina
Yemeni and Palestinian Children
Alexandra Isfahani-Hammond
Orcas and Other-Than-Human Grief
Shoshana Fine – Thomas Lindemann
Migrants Deaths: European Democracies and the Right to Not Protect?
Paul Edwards
Totally Irrusianal
Thomas Knapp
Murphy’s Law: Big Tech Must Serve as Censorship Subcontractors
Mark Ashwill
More Demons Unleashed After Fulbright University Vietnam Official Drops Rhetorical Bombshells
Ralph Nader
Going Fundamental Eludes Congressional Progressives
Hans-Armin Ohlmann
My Longest Day: How World War II Ended for My Family
Matthew Funke
The Nordic Countries Aren’t Socialist
Daniel Warner
Tiger Woods, Donald Trump and Crime and Punishment
Dave Lindorff
Mainstream Media Hypocrisy on Display
Jeff Cohen
Democrats Gather in Chicago: Elite Party or Party of the People?
Victor Grossman
Stand Up With New Hope in Germany?
Christopher Brauchli
A Family Affair
Jill Richardson
Profiting From Poison
Patrick Bobilin
Moving the Margins
Alison Barros
Dear White American
Celia Bottger
If Ireland Can Reject Fossil Fuels, Your Town Can Too
Ian Scott Horst
Less Voting, More Revolution
Peter Certo
Trump Snubbed McCain, Then the Media Snubbed the Rest of Us
Dan Ritzman
Drilling ANWR: One of Our Last Links to the Wild World is in Danger
Brandon Do
The World and Palestine, Palestine and the World
Chris Wright
An Updated and Improved Marxism
Daryan Rezazad
Iran and the Doomsday Machine
Patrick Bond
Africa’s Pioneering Marxist Political Economist, Samir Amin (1931-2018)
Louis Proyect
Memoir From the Underground
Binoy Kampmark
Meaningless Titles and Liveable Cities: Melbourne Loses to Vienna
Andrew Stewart
Blackkklansman: Spike Lee Delivers a Masterpiece
Elizabeth Lennard
Alan Chadwick in the Budding Grove: Story Summary for a Documentary Film
FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail