Whether you support them or not, you can't deny that the current administration is doing some controversial things. (Before you get all defensive on me, read the definition of the word, please). People are up in arms on both sides of the issues. I think it's great...to some degree.
The great thing about our country is that we CAN disagree. But there are those (on both sides) that don't see understand that. They have this twisted world-view that tells them they can insult and assault anyone who doesn't believe them. They seem to think that their "freedom of speech" means they can be as mean they want to anyone they want.
This includes school teachers.
In November, my friend's daughter participated in a mock-election at school. Not a surprise - every school did it. During class discussion the teacher asked about the kids about the important issues in their lives. When my friend's daughter spoke up she gave her beliefs and said that she would not vote for Obama. The teacher began to bully this girl, criticizing her, insulting her, and insisting that she didn't know what she was talking about.
This was in a THIRD GRADE classroom!!
The teacher accused this child of saying what her parents told her to say...duh!! Does anyone out there really thing there were any elementary age kids who DIDN'T represent their parents' beliefs? I doubt it.
But in that third grad classroom my friend's daughter was NOT allowed free speech - she was verbally attacked by her teacher for not agreeing.
THAT, my friends, is why the president's speech today is controversial. It's not what he has to say - it's how the "guided questions" will be handled in class.
The teachers are there to instruct the children about how the government works. They have a responsibility to make sure the kids understand the roles of federal, state, and local governments. It is NOT a pulpit for them to scare their students into compliance!!
For whatever reason this administration is really bringing out the worst from both sides. It seems to be nearly impossible to find someone to disagree with without them insulting your intelligence. And THAT is why I'm not in favor of today's big address - because I don't trust the teachers (on either side of the issue) to present kids with the facts without it turning into a brow-beating.
But what to do? How do the schools deal with this? How do you make it possible for kids to listen to this address without exposing them to the possible (and very REAL) threat of extreme-belief teachers?
The Traverse City Area Public Schools, under the direction of superintendent Jim Feil, found a way. Their first day of school (today) will be a half day. All students will be dismissed at 11:30 am so they can watch the speech at home with their parents. This way they can see it, but they can also discuss it at home.
I absolutely support this decision. I don't care whether or not you agree with me, but I belief that PARENTS, not teachers, have the responsibility of shaping a child's moral, political, religious, ethical beliefs. Yes, I understand that this means there are kids who will grow up in homes where they are taught that militias are good and wearing florals with stripes is acceptable. Yes, some parents will give their kids bad advice. But it is still their right and responsibility to instruct their kids.
So I applaud TCAPS for a good decision. I wish we could respect each other enough to let other people disagree with us and not have to make this kind of decision, but since we can't, I think TCAPS is doing a good thing.