Wednesday, September 09, 2009

President Obama's Speech and Gifted Students

I'm reading: President Obama's Speech and Gifted StudentsTweet this!

I love this snippet from Chicago Sun-Times columnist Neil Steinberg in this morning's paper.

His children's school did not share President Obama's speech and the superintendent (whom he did not name, but I am tempted to) send home a letter rationalizing the school's lack of coverage.

Neil writes:
Perhaps sensing that any individual excuse was completely ridiculous, he offered three:

1. "Instructional time is very precious." Since when? Don't they still blow days at a time, cramming for and then administering standardized tests? Every school in America burns hours with hygiene filmstrips and boredom. But Barack Obama appears, and suddenly they're all too busy to look up for 18 minutes.

2. "Are we committing ourselves to an annual speech from the president of the United States, whomever that person might be?"

Yeah, because that's one of the big perils facing American education -- the school year being eaten up by an intruding president.

Any parent of a child suffering from giftedness recognizes the sausage-maker's mentality behind that ploy, the if-we-let-one-president-speak-we-have-to-let-them-all blowoff. "Gosh, we know your kid's already mastered calculus, but if we let him take classes at the junior high, we'd have to do that for every student bored out of his mind in math, and the logistics would be bothersome."

3. "The speech can either be recorded or accessed on the Internet for viewing at home." True! But you can also study geometry online at home. Heck, you can do your entire school year at home, and that's looking like a more and more attractive idea. School is supposed to be a safe public space where kids can be challenged, and who better to challenge them than the president?

My boys did not see the speech at school. I did not receive a note about this from any teachers or administrators (though as I write I realize I didn't dig through any backpacks, so maybe there was a note?).

Did you child's teacher show President Obama's speech?


Evenspor said...

This whole thing is pretty ridiculous.

Kimberly/Mom in the City said...

NYC public school students started school today, so everyone missed it. We watched it at home though. The President did a great job.

Jeanne said...

My 6th grader saw it ("he said the same stuff you would say about staying in school and working hard. He just took a lot longer to say it.")

My 9th grader did not but his social studies teacher said they might watch it on Friday.

Hollee Temple said...

My (gifted) second grader didn't see it -- or at least didn't remember. My preschooler knows that George Washington was the first president and the "new guy" is "A-Rock-A-Rama." Maybe it's much ado about ...

KimiSutra said...

our small suburban school showed it but only to grades 3 and up. my daughter ended up being ill that day and I'm kinda irked that it could be ASSumed the reason she stayed home was in anyway related to the president's speech.

2KoP said...

I'm thinking we're a little beyond filmstrips, but I can't even count the number of hours wasted watching movies in school. Many hours. Surely 18 minutes of the President wouldn't have impinged too terribly on their learning time.