Sally rides again

Posted on 04 Sep 2009 at 12:08pm

Oklahoma state Rep. Sally Kern is at it again. This time she’s weighing in on President Obama’s televised speech to school children where he’ll answer such partisan questions as “What does the president of the United States do?”

“The purpose of our government schools in a constitutional republic is not to force a captive audience to establish a bond with the president. Such an action would be appropriate for Cuba but not the United States of America,” Kern said.
Wasn’t George Bush reading to schoolchildren in a Florida public school at the time the World Trade Center was attacked?
Kern’s press release said:

“Unfortunately, it appears this event is more about indoctrination of students than education. No president, Republican or Democrat, should interrupt the educational process in this manner. President Obama is always in the news so there is ample opportunity for students to see him.”

How is learning about government interrupting the educational process? How is hearing the president not part of learning?
Kern continues:

“To many parents, it looks like children are going to be held ‘accountable’ if they don’t propagandize on behalf of the Obama administration. I’m sure those involved are well-meaning, but the appearance here is very troubling.”

Brittany Novotny, who plans to challenge Kern in next year’s election, issued a statement:
“In keeping with her tradition of making outlandish statements, Rep. Sally Kern has made a statement in opposition with President Obama’s address to students across the nation on Sept. 8. She chastises the president” and “ignores the fact that presidents have addressed schools in the past and talked with both students and parents about public policy, outreach and activism. President George W. Bush visited schools to discuss the ‘No Child Left Behind Law’ and addressed Ohio State University encouraging students to create ‘a culture of service.’

“There is no indication that the president is asking students to ‘propagandize’ on his behalf. A close reading of the teacher’s guide on the Department of Education’s Web site demonstrates the information the president will be relaying. For children through sixth grade, the lesson plan is informative and age-appropriate. … The suggested questions prepared for students during the speech do not indicate that the president’s message will be partisan in nature. Instead, the president’s speech appears to encourage students to get more involved in their community and school, which is not indoctrination of any kind.  … [Kern] chooses to ignore that community service and education outreach are both staunch American principles, which former presidents like George W. Bush have embraced and encouraged to students in the past.”

— David Taffet

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