While we are all familiar with the indoctrination that takes place in our schools at all levels of education, I want to share a few letters friends have received from their children's elementary schools regarding planned inauguration festivities. The letters speak for themselves.
I urge all parents to find out what will be happening in their children's classrooms on January 20th and to speak out against any such displays.
The argument you shouldn't hesitate to make is: did you do this for the Bush inauguration? If not, then it isn't appropriate to do this for BHO. If you did do it for Bush, then your treatment of this inauguration has to be proportionate to your treatment of the Bush inauguration.
If the school wants to use January 20th as a teaching moment about the peaceful transfer of power, then by all means, call an assembly, watch the speech, go back to respective classrooms and discuss it in the context of history and civics. Politics should be left at the entrance to the school. No child should leave the school on January 20th having any inkling who the teachers/administration voted for or how happy they are about it.
About 50% of the voters did not elect BHO. That means half of your school will not be celebrating his inauguration with the same enthusiasm as those that did. You will be alienating 50% of your student bodies and, those children, whose families did not vote for BHO, will be put in very awkward situations, fearing that they will be ostracized by classmates and teachers alike.
School administrators: temper your heated enthusiasm with a cool respect for ALL of your students.
LETTER NUMBER 1:
Dear Upper School Families,
With the inauguration now less than two weeks away, the three of us, signers of this email, have been at work planning the approach we will take to help students understand and appreciate this important event. As many of you know, throughout this election season we have devoted time in class and advisory to the election and electoral process. XXXX worked intensively with the 8th graders preparing them for the substantive mock presidential debate they staged for the entire upper school. In the days before the election, students registered to vote and then on election day all upper schoolers voted in their assigned 'precincts'.
Now, as a culmination to this historic election season and to help students appreciate the concept and ceremony of the "orderly transfer of power," we have planned activities for January 20, Inauguration Day.
In the morning the entire school will gather in the gym to watch all or part of the inauguration itself. Upper school students will watch the entire event; younger children will likely return to their classrooms after the vice president and president have taken the oath of office Following the viewing of the inauguration, we will meet in grade level teams to reflect on the highlights of the ceremony and discuss themes and important messages from our new president's inaugural address. At the end of the day, during the half hour usually devoted to study hall, we will hold our first ever Inaugural Ball in the gym. XXXX, who has pledged to wear a tuxedo to the event, will toast the new president with sparkling apple cider.
In history classes in the next batch of days, our teachers across the grade levels will review basic information about the presidency and inaugurations past and present. We intend to guide our students to a clear understanding of our country's 220 year tradition of orderly transfer of power and its roots in the U.S. Constitution. In these important days and weeks, we hope you will engage your children in conversations at home and encourage them to be assume their roles as educated and well-informed young citizens.
LETTER NUMBER 2:
As we begin our 2009 school year, we do so with new hope! As a school community we will celebrate the spirit of CHANGE! We have six days of activities planned for our students, culminating in the viewing of the inauguration of our new president on January 20, 2009. We will all be in our Multipurpose Room, watching together as Barack Obama takes the oath of office.
You will be getting more information in the next few days. Most importantly, we invite you to join your child as we view the inauguration festivities. We will open our doors at 7:00 am on January 20, 2009. We will be showing the event live on our large screen in the Multipurpose Room. Beginning at 8:10, all children will gather, and we will have a variety of events taking place: explanations by guests, singing, music performances, etc.
Our fifth grade students will be leaving for outdoor education camp following the inauguration. Parents of fifth graders will be getting detailed information of the schedule for the day including sleeping bag/suitcase drop off, etc.
Third and fourth grade students are asked to dress in "formal attire" ready for the inaugural ball at lunchtime!! This attire can be as simple as a pair of white gloves, a jacket, a bow tie. During lunch recess there will be "ball" activities for all!
Building up to our inaugural event, we will all participate in a Character/Citizenship Week. We will remember that we are all called to "think wisely", "care" and "grow". Children will be asked to bring "change" for "change" (proceeds for global projects).
There will also be a student bake sale and daily fun events during lunch recess (see flyer below for schedule)
We invite all of you to be part of this historic event. Join us on January 20th in our Multipurpose Room as we celebrate together!