EDUCATION: It's NOT Hazardous, but try telling that to many "pro-family" but seemingly "anti-education" individuals around this country.
I'm already behind on blog entries and I didn't want to get even more detracted from important entries that need to be made pertaining to some changes with work, a new calling at church, and did I say "changes" at work? That's putting it mildly. However, it looks like I have to still put off those necessary entries for this one, due to something that has been really putting me in a tizzy in the last few days: The complete level of hysteria over our nation's President making a speech to our nation's school children on Tuesday, September 8th. Apparently, many people have forgotten that even if you don't agree with someone on political matters, that they can equally make valuable non-partisan messages with only positive intentions. Here is what I sent to various school officials and media outlets:
As a fellow educator (I am a teacher for a neighboring district) and Queen Creek Unified District parent, I am so saddened, disappointed and plain outraged that QCUSD will NOT be airing our President's positive and non-partisan message about EDUCATION. I am not just saying this because I'm a registered Democrat. My registered Republican husband is just as disappointed and stands behind me and echoes every word. Obviously he and many others on both sides of the political spectrum have enough sense to see the non-partisan value in the President's message.
This is something I cannot say for the choice made by QCUSD, where I've always valued for the high standards of education my children receive. However, this decision by QCUSD does not reflect those same high educational standards. When the President announced he would speak to the school-age children in America about education and staying in school, it was inherent that all children could choose to watch this broadcast or not. The parents of these children could instruct their children to watch or not. But it appears in the Queen Creek Unified School District this choice is not available. Why couldn't they have offered a two-room solution—those who want to watch go to the library, those who don’t go to the cafeteria?
What bothers me also, is the district has not posted anything about this unenlightened decision on their website. To my knowledge, they haven't published this information anywhere. How many parents are going to be sending their children to school on Tuesday, thinking their children will have the opportunity to listen to their President speak, and will find out, after the school day is over, that their child didn’t participate as millions of other school-age children in this nation have?
Yes, there is the Internet. Yes, my own children (and thankfully, my 60+ students in the district I teach for) will still see Barack Obama encourage kids to stay in school, study hard, and make the most of their educational opportunities. They won’t miss out in the long run the blessing that our President is investing in our children’s educations and talking to them about the value of it.
But the underlying message that the President’s speech is somehow wrong, bad, evil, indoctrinating, even brainwashing, is what really has me in a lather. The underlying message that if you don’t agree with Obama’s politics, it’s okay to ignore this very worthy message. And further, that you don’t have to give him the respect that elected officials deserve in this nation, whether you agree with his health care reforms or not.
It is possible to disagree with someone about political things but agree with them about others. I think of the Senate friendship between Orrin Hatch (R-UT) and the late Ted Kennedy (D-Mass). Their political differences were as different as Siberian winters and Phoenix summers. However, they had enough integrity, class, and sense, to agree to disagree and still see the commonalities that enabled them to respect each other and form a long standing friendship. That same class and sense and integrity is not seen in this decision made by the Queen Creek Unified School District, or for that matter, any school district in this nation that is ignorantly making the same decision.
Bottom Line: If you send your kid to school, you obviously care that he or she is getting a publicly funded education. You care that your child is learning to read, write, do math, science, the arts, etc. So when your President decides to reiterate your own message to your children to stay in school and learn the information given to them by their teachers, it may be wise to actually support this worthy message, even if you disagree with him on other issues. And to teach your children that elected officials deserve our respect.
I am not ashamed to live in the Queen Creek School District, due to the education and high values my children receive here. But I am ashamed of the message QCUSD is sending to the bright students and hard-working school teachers and staff who make their living here. It is plain sad that in this state of Arizona with such a low standard of education as reflected by our #50 ranking, that such a message of denying a pro-educational speech is made. Talk about ironic!
Jill Henrichsen Queen Creek, AZ