On September 8, 2009, President Obama will deliver a simple message urging schoolkids to be the best possible selves they can be--to stay in school and achieve. It's almost a tradition among presidents, Republican or Democratic, who have given similar messages. The suggested curriculum for teachers and classes who want to opt-in to the special broadcast of President Obama's speech has even been made available beforehand for parents to review, in case anyone's interested.
And this sparks a movement led by Glenn Beck and Sean Hannity to have parents keep their kids home from public school? Like my sister MOMocrats, I'm disgusted by the irrationality and appalled by the vitriol.
Parents who are lucky enough to have jobs in this economy will say, "That's ridiculous--who'd watch my kids if they stay home?"
Parents who have the sense to not watch right-wing tv will scoff. "It's the president of our country and schoolkids learn about the presidents. Big deal."
For those of us in the majority who are neutral to positive about President Obama's speech, it'd be easy enough to chalk up the day out of school as a right-wing tantrum by sore losers who can't get over their electoral loss and also want to take every opportunity to smear anything remotely Obama-related.
But this is why the boycott has me steamed: my kid goes to a public school in California. Like many other states, our state's budget is stretched thin. Public school dollars are based on attendance. In our case, when a kid's absent from school for sickness or any other reason, our school loses $47/day. Per student.
So when some people decide they're too infantile to deal with whatever problem they have with Obama using the usual electoral processes, and have to screech, stomp their feet, and shout down people in wheelchairs at town hall meetings or take their kids out of school in a snit, I. GET. MAD.
Because if this boycott becomes widespread, it amounts to a one-day systematic de-funding of your public schools and mine.
That hurts your kids and mine.
Promoted by childless right-wing white guys (Beck, Hannity) who apparently are anti-education.*
All because some grown ups acting more like babies have lost sight of the common good. Have decided that the Party of No comes before country, or anyone else. Including their neighbors. Including your kids.
So keep that in mind. The kid who sits out of public school on September 8 just took money out of the public pot that all his or her schoolmates use.
Parents who vehemently disagree with what the school curriculum teaches can ALWAYS teach their own values at home. Everyone has that right, if not obligation.
But since when did they start messing with the quality of your kid's education? All those $47/days lost to your school start adding up. Music classes or school supplies, band uniforms or special field trips that are already imperiled because of school budget cuts--and now you'll have to make up the difference, somehow, because someone wants to make a statement. It's a statement that comes at a price.
Your neighbor, your kid's friend's parent, the other people at your school are gonna do you like that?
Illuminating, isn't it?
Cynematic writes at P i l l o w b o o k.
*A commenter (below) informs me that both Hannity and Beck have children. Ew.