The Department of Ed's Teaching Ambassador Fellows group has put out a pre-K-6th grade "Menu of Classroom Activities" for teachers across the country to follow before, during and after the President's statement:
--Before the speech, build students' background knowledge of President Barack Obama by reading books about him and other U.S. Presidents. Ask students, "Why do you think he wants to speak to you?"
--Ask students what they can do to help in schools?
--Think about why it is "important that we listen to the President and other elected officials"?
--During the speech, teachers can ask students "to write down key ideas or phrases that are important or personally meaningful," and "younger children can draw pictures and write as appropriate."
--Students "could think about the following: What is the President trying to tell me? What is the President asking me to do? What new ideas and actions is the President challenging me to think about?" In addition, "students might think about: What specific job is he asking me to do?"
--"Teachers could ask students to share the ideas they recorded...to discuss main ideas from the speech, i.e. citizenship, personal responsibility, civic duty."
--Finally, "Students could discuss their responses to the following questions: What do you think the President wants us to do? Does the speech make you want to do anything? Are we able to do what President Obama is asking of us? What would you like to tell the government?"
I know what I would like to tell the government: leave our kids alone.
I don't need the government teaching my children anything about what "personal responsibility" means--a subject especially out-of-line coming from a President proposing $9 trillion in deficit spending for the next decade.
I don't need the government teaching my child its own definition of "citizenship" because I believe being a member of our family is exponentially more important than being a community citizen.
I don't need the government to explain what civic duty is, especially because the President and I differ significantly in our opinions of what civic duty, personal responsibility and citizenship all mean.
Parents, prepare yourselves--your kids are going to be made a captive audience to this forced nonsense. I suggest you plan your own civics lesson to teach your children when they get home from school on September 8. Teach them that "civic duty" does not mean doing whatever the President wants you to do, but instead, being strong-minded enough to stick to your principles and formulate your own thoughts about the role government should play in our lives.
Teach them that "citizenship" means something more than living within the geographical borders of the country and paying taxes; it means caring for and looking after your neighbor because it's the moral and right thing to do, not because the government told you to.
And teach them that personal responsibility is self-reliance and independence--ideas that can only grow to their fullest potential when a person maintains his liberty.
Do not begin to relinquish your rights and responsibilities as parents to the government. This massive abuse of government power--reaching into our kids' classrooms--is unacceptable. We've watched as prayer and religion have been tossed out the schoolhouse doors, but big-government influence continues to be ushered in. It's unacceptable--and the best way we can fight back is to take pride in the America we believe in and empower our children to carry on its legacy.