I just skimmed the text of the Obama Back-To-School Speech.
1. Holy crap that is long. Waaaay into TL;DR territory. Don’t worry, moms and dads, the only socialism your kids are going to be picking up is if they have Chairman Mao dreams in their speech-induced naps.
2. It’s pure pablum as a speech. It’s only purpose is as a PR stunt, a la landing on an aircraft carrier and declaring “mission accomplished”.
3. It is really, really dull. I am tempted to send in a note with the stepdaughter saying “Yes, my daughter has my consent to be bored out of her fucking skull by platitudes tomorrow”.
4. You’re sending your kids to a federal school system that teaches according to federal standards, staffed by a national teacher’s union and propped up with federal funds – and you’re surprised and appalled that the Headmaster wants to give a little pep talk? If you’re worried about your kids being “indoctrinated” you’ve got much bigger problems than a half-hour speech.
No argument with your opinion of the speech. I just read it too, but it is just what I thought it would be. It is the same ‘work hard’ speech given many times over the years by politicians, school boards, principals, and teachers (even parents). But what would you want any speech maker to say?
Preferably as little as possible 😉
.. is about the “federal school system” aspect.
Public schools are influenced by federal standards (usually educational minimums..) and many local teachers unions have joined the bigger umbrella national teachers union (a private organization though–not part of the federal gov’t..), but the propping up with federal funding is rather minor.
Only 8.3% of the funding for K-12 schools comes from the Fed. Government. 45% is from the States and 37% is from the local municipality government.
Federalist school system, perhaps, but not federal…
..that speech is long.
It would have been twice as good at 1/2 the length.
Otherwise–normal, non-hazardous “values” sermon about education.
Re: Only quibble..
Quibble noted. I can’t say I’m an expert. I guess all I was really trying to say is that if your kids haven’t learned to be good little worker drones in a system that tends to encourage conformity and obedience, one little speech isn’t going to make much of a difference.
I do kind of wonder what the backstage political thinking on this was. Obama seems too smart to believe this is actually going to make a difference in kids’ lives. But I can’t work out which interest group this caters to or what kind of leverage it buys him. Is it just a matter of propping up his approval rating by pandering to the “think of the children” base?
And no, I’m not so cynical that I can’t believe a politician would do something out of sheer good intentions. It’s just that like I said, Obama seems like the type who wouldn’t waste time on empty words if it were about good intentions. But maybe I don’t understand him well enough.
.. is that the politics of this speech are more geared towards carving out political space to whack around the liberal teachers unions and simultaneously to shore up the rhetoric hungry “independents” who want to hear Obama say that students need “to work hard and stuff” rather than appearing as the stereotypical liberal “oh the poor children!” type stuff.
To me–this speech is generally a kind of formalistic political busy work that doesn’t really mean all that much. I don’t see it as laying out any real policy goals–nor as any kind of indoctrination. People are just making way to much hay out of it.
Now.. the darkly cynical part of my brain wonders if this is part of some long-term rope-a-dope strategy to give another public example of how insane right-wing fringe groups are being about this stuff.. I mean, really, I am amazed that these people really think that this speech will do all this horrible stuff (as you so clearly note above!) when they already submit to a system that contains way more direct forms of control..
The reaction of the extreme right is so over the top–and the pattern of this overreaction seems to be accellerating its appearances in the media–that one might suspect that this is part of a longer term plan to get the extreme right fringe to keep over-reacting–and making it appear as if the entire “right” is this kind of retarded–and that it doesn’t really have any solid opposition to Obama’s better plans.
That’s my machiavellian take.. but I think it’s more likely that it’s just political busy-work.. “look how normal and American” I am from our liberal black president….
I just read his speech here.
It’s awesome. 😉
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