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Bev's Burner
Some's Hot, Some's Not 

By B.K. Carter

"Bev Carter is the owner/publisher of the Fort Bend Star, winner of numerous state and national awards. She has been a voice of Fort Bend's largest circulated newspaper for 30 years."


 

Are you people entirely crazy or what?......Wednesday night around 9:52 p.m. I received an e-mail from a reader who had that afternoon received a letter brought home by her child in FBISD which stated that if the parents wanted their child to watch President Obama’s speech about education, they would have to sign the permission slip included in the letter.

The letter stated that the speech would be recorded and then incorporated into social studies at a later time.

It said: “We understand that some parents may not want their child/children to view the address so we are asking that you fill out the form below granting your permission for your child to view the address. If you choose for your child not to view the address, they will be secured in a supervised location for the address and will return to class once it is complete.”

This parent was concerned that the letter had many layers of messages and asked why the students, many of whom never return permission slips to school, couldn’t opt out instead of, as the letter indicated, opting in.

I agreed with the reader and at 5:48 a.m. on Thursday, I answered her and at 5:49 a.m., I sent an e-mail to Mary Ann Simpson, FBISD’s community relations head, agreeing with the letter writer and asking the same questions as she.

Telling the parent that the child would be secured in a supervised location for the speech sounded as if the school was expecting attacks a la Dick Cheney and his famous “secure location” status during much of his vice-presidency. Many wish that he remained there to this day, but that is a whole different story.

Then at 10:27 PST (don’t even ask me why the school district is using Pacific Standard Time for press releases on its web site, unless PST stands for something else I’ve never heard), the district decided to offer all secondary school students’ parents a chance to opt out. Elementary students will receive an opt out-opt in letter which no one knows what the hell that means. I guess it is opt out at some schools and opt in at others. Just know the opt in choice will most likely yield fewer viewers. Remember FBISD has a huge drop out rate, and President Obama’s speech was supposed to cover that.

Other school districts had better sense....Stafford MSD said while they welcomed the President encouraging students to value education, they don’t believe it is appropriate to interrupt the school day. The campuses will have the option of recording, reviewing and implementing the message in social studies. “The president’s message, like presidential inaugurations and other national broadcasts, should be incorporated into a planned curriculum based ...” Stafford MSD states on their web site.

Lamar CISD will record the speech on the district’s video server, but class instruction will not be interrupted for a live speech. Each campus administrator will make the decision regarding the instruction for their grade levels.

The district’s web site says, “if any parent or student requests to be excused from the activity, campuses will honor this request and provide the opportunity to engage in another constructive opportunity.”

Katy’s ISD handling of the matter is probably the smartest. The district said: “As with a Presidential inauguration or other national broadcast event that contributes to the development of respect for our country, Katy ISD will make the President’s address part of each school’s instructional plan. Parents who do not want their child to either view or participate in lessons surrounding the President’s address should send a note to school with their child indicating their desire for their child to be excluded from the activities. Students who do not participate in the lesson will be provided other learning opportunities during this time.”

The district also pointed out that: “Each school year our students are provided opportunities to interact with elected officials in various formats including awards ceremonies, assemblies, broadcasts, and as guest speakers. These opportunities allow students to meet and hear from individuals who are directly involved in carrying out the functions of our democracy, thus enriching the educational experience.”

Parents gone wild....My problem is that nobody got real concerned when George Bush read “My Pet Goat” to Louisiana school children except when he continued reading 11 minutes after learning of the 9-11 attack on the Trade buildings.

Nobody kicked up a storm when his father George H.W. Bush addressed school children and nobody pitched a fit when Ronald Reagan addressed school children and threw in a spoken screed about taxes.

I believe the school district reacted simply because they feared the beating they were going to take by district patrons acting like loud-mouth, knuckle-dragging, Cro-Magnons which now seems to make up the majority of the Republican Party which hates Obama with a passion bordering on obsession. To say they are enraged about his speech is putting it mildly.

Hey, we are talking about the President of the United States.

What? Are they afraid that Obama might talk the school children into going to Harvard?

Either that or is the Republican Party afraid that if we educate our schoolchildren, then nobody will be left dumb enough to be a Republican. There, I’ve said it. I just wonder if these people have no shame. Our State School Board member representative, Republican Cynthia Dunbar, who home schools her own children even says, “such an address has the potential to open the door to students accepting an unconstitutional level of direct accountability to National Governing Authorities” (her capitals).
My family disagrees with me, but I think it’s also a black thing. There is no rational thought involved. They don’t just hate him because he is a Democrat, like my daughter says. I think they particularly hate him because he is black. I don’t remember this big a fit being thrown over Bill Clinton. Sure he was criticized. But the right wing lunatic fringe didn’t high jack everything he did. I have one thing to say. Yes, he is black. Yes, he won. He will be the president and running things for the next 3, possibly 7, years. Get over it.

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Contact bkcstar@earthlink.net, if you would like to express your opinions/views regarding the column. Write a SIGNED letter to the editor with valid day time phone number--name can be withheld by request.

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   Last Update:
August 05, 2009