Editor's Note: We have included the video of the speech from YouTube below:
Much has been written and said over the past few days regarding the President’s planned speech on September 8th to the nation’s children. In this speech, the President will talk to children about persisting and succeeding in school. Frankly I am quite surprised by the vehemence shown by some individuals toward our nation’s leader. This lack of respect for an elected official and the accompanying distrust by parents for not only what the President will say, but for the teacher’s ability to monitor a child’s education leads me to believe we have an even larger problem in our society. That problem is the ever-narrowing role and responsibility society is placing on our schools.
Schools are the best place for children to watch the President’s speech. Schools have for centuries been a place where ideas are encouraged, where critical thinking about those ideas is a natural part of the conversation, and where appropriate response and debate can flourish. Teachers in schools lead students to reach deeper, to confirm facts, and think about the circumstances surrounding the information they receive. If schools are truly learning communities, then they should be considered the first place we desire for them to hear such speeches. A parent pulling their child from school in order to keep that child from hearing the speech maligns schools and lessens the worth of the teacher.
This narrow view of education and disrespect for teachers are truly something to fear. A school is a safe place for people to examine the world from many angles and learn how to do that with rigor and enthusiasm. If that is not the case, then we relegate schools to simply a big building where one goes to pass a standardized test. Schools become a place where one needs to have a good memory, not a good mind.
Schools are a place where each generation passes on cultural and social values, traditions, morality, religion, knowledge, and skills to the next generation. What are our children learning about respect for authority when we react in such a manner? What are children learning about our generation when our distrust of one another extends to teachers and schools? At the very least, trust your child’s teacher to make this a learning experience that will enhance your child’s overall education. Trust them to turn this “teachable moment” into an event that will build upon the foundation they will need for future academic and social success, just as they do with similar situations every day.
Jeffrey P. Felix, Ed. D.
Coronado Unified School District
201 Sixth Street
Coronado, CA 92118 http://www.coronadousd.net/