Fear not, dear citizens, for President Obama’s speech to public school students will not be the introduction of socialist values to public schools. Indeed, the very creation of public education did that for us all many decades ago.
And do not worry, respectable neighbors, that President Obama’s speech to students will indoctrinate young minds according to the whims of our federal government. One speech cannot outweigh the billions of dollars spent annually on federally-supported curricular materials to prepare our students to fill in the correct bubbles on federally-mandated tests. The indoctrination is well under way.
No fretting either, concerned parents, about the potential loss of freedom and liberty in our schools or society due to the President’s remarks next week. We incarcerate more people than any other country on the globe and we have (nearly) successfully handcuffed teachers to scripted classroom routines and rigid curriculum. There is nothing President Obama can say in one speech that will change this state of our freedom and liberty one way or the other.
Censorship teaches fear and extremism. Expecting that all people living in a democratic society can, and should, engage in informed and thoughtful dialogue around issues important to our local, regional, national, and global lives teaches one of the responsibilities of living in a democratic society.
If lively dialogue happens in schools and homes next week as a result of Obama’s speech, then we can all be relieved that our youth can do what’s necessary to resist indoctrination and remake freedom and liberty – and that our schools might actually be a powerful part of that educational experience.