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The national uproar resulting from an at-best poorly executed plan for President Obama to address government school children today escalated even more rapidly than the slow-burn-to- raging-inferno of the health-care debacle. Regardless of one’s views on the Department of Education, it should be highly disconcerting that such a national initiative was launched by the highest level of educational authority – and facilitated a divisive, contentious, politically charged public-relations disaster.
When first alerted by a local principal about the letter from Education Secretary Arne Duncan, I immediately went to the website and read both letter and lesson plans, highlighting a number of “red flag” issues. I was incensed but not surprised; upset but not shocked. However, not all agree.
A black pastor on one of our local pastor councils stated, “… an all out frontal attack against President Obama is vile and racist and reflects a putrid thread of racism and racial oppression. Different is not better or worse over the short haul unless you are black and occupying the highest office in the land.”
As even liberal black columnist Clarence Page noted, however, “I don’t think race has much to do with it. Presidents Ronald Reagan in 1988 and George H.W. Bush in 1991 gave similar televised addresses, amid some criticism from Democrats about propagandizing on the taxpayers’ dime. That’s politics.”
Another pastor cautioned his congregation through his blog that, even though much of the response was because the public trust had eroded for the president, “it is essential that our children learn to respect the office of the presidency, and to pray for that leader, regardless of who is in office.” He “brought it home” later in his blog, asking, “Do you honestly think the president’s speech is the only time school children are indoctrinated?”
Duncan’s letter was clearly a violation of process, which produced opposition even from local school administrators, state and local school boards – even legislators. Dr. Daniel Huberty, superintendent of Humble Independent School District in Texas, wrote a strongly-worded letter to Duncan addressing one major reason for the backlash, even by government school officials. “As the request was sent directly to our principals and not through the proper protocol of our administrators, you have created a state of confusion.”
Huberty also admonished Duncan that, “My constituents are split on this issue, and by bifurcating the parents of our District, this is creating a truly partisan political disagreement. … I am tired of government entities putting local school boards in a position to be the bad guy.”
It seems to me that two critical points are of utmost importance as this drama in the classroom unfolds and is touched on by both the cautioning pastor and Dr. Huberty.
Just who is your local school “owned” by? The parents, the faculty, the school board, the community? What we find – again – is that every local government school is indeed a local branch of the federal government educational system, just as is your post office. The school is as linked to the “Educracy” in Washington, D.C., as any other local office of a federal agency.
Going back to my black pastor friend. He reacted to my comments on this issue by responding, “We would still be steeped in segregation if the federal government had not reluctantly intervened in public education. Today black students are receiving a second-class education due in part to racist programming over the last 80 years.” I submit that he is both wrong and right, in that order. Desegregation was the result of the judicial system applying constitutional standards to “public” schools that were now under its jurisdiction (Brown v. Board of Education, 1954) – and predated by 26 years the creation of the Department of Education.
His second point about the quality of education is inarguable, although any racism has now been imposed by a vast educational bureaucracy supported to the death by the same Democrats who black voters have re-elected overwhelmingly, as well as by weak Republicans who fall prostrate before the pressure of teachers’ union rather than adhere to their platform.
The “continuing collapse,” as author and education reform leader Bruce Shortt calls the state of government schools, is not just impacting minority students but our entire nation. The cautioning pastor’s remarks about indoctrination are exactly right, and every parent, activist and pastor who is complaining about the president’s “pep talk” to their children had better start looking deeper at just who is training up your children.
If they are in government schools, they are being fed religious and cultural pluralism, Darwinian evolution and academic experiments by educational industry profiteers and change agents – all this in far greater quantity than most parents are countering with truth.
The negative reaction to Obama is indeed because we know he has proven himself utterly untrustworthy to have the reigns of government in his hands, let alone the minds of our children.
However, don’t miss this opportunity to get to the real heart of the issue and take back the responsibility of educating the precious gifts God has entrusted to you in a manner that turns them to Him, molds their character, strengthens their minds and sets them on the right path.
You can do that by fighting the intricate web of control by leftist ideologues over the local branch of the federal school … or by removing your children from their grasp and fighting to return federal government back to its God-ordained, constitutionally defined roles – none of which includes education.