Tuesday, September 08, 2009

Obama on school

I can't believe the controversy that's surrounded Obama's planned speech today about school. It's bat-shit crazy. If I felt certain that smart people always won the day and that dumb people who take their kids out of school because they think the President of the United States is indoctrinating our children, I would have no concern over it whatsoever. However, I know that sometimes dumb people win out, especially if they're loud enough. Sigh.

I just read the speech and it's really good, and I hope that kids do listen to it and take much of it to heart. The main message is that it takes hard work to succeed, a message that I think is important to any of us. He also connects the lessons of school to future work:
Every single one of you has something you’re good at. Every single one of you has something to offer. And you have a responsibility to yourself to discover what that is. That’s the opportunity an education can provide.
Maybe you could be a good writer – maybe even good enough to write a book or articles in a newspaper – but you might not know it until you write a paper for your English class. Maybe you could be an innovator or an inventor – maybe even good enough to come up with the next iPhone or a new medicine or vaccine – but you might not know it until you do a project for your science class. Maybe you could be a mayor or a Senator or a Supreme Court Justice, but you might not know that until you join student government or the debate team.
I love the "if you want to be x, then do x in school" logic of this and other sections of his speech. If my kids don't see it in school today, we're going to watch it together later. Kids need to be inspired and the President, any president, regardless of party, is inspirational to kids. What kid doesn't think they might be President some day? I feel a twinge of sadness that this whole thing has become a controversy, fueled by ignorance and hatred. What a small-minded country we've become.