Trusted local news leader for Prescott area communities since 1882
Fri, Feb. 21

Column: Schools set poor example with speech

In America to learn democracy and celebrate free speech, foreign exchange students at Prescott High School like Misha Anderlova won't get the opportunity next week to watch our President address the nation's schools about education while she's actually in one of our nation's schools learning about education.

Our state and local superintendents have decided that our educators can teach about past American presidents and administrations during school hours, and even teach students to stay home from school on Presidents' Day to honor the presidents of U.S. history - but they can't spend a period with our current U.S. president, in a decision that has Glenn Beck beaming.

It wouldn't be an opportunity to learn and discuss current events with the accidental potential of stimulating a mind, we're told. It would be campaigning.

(Note to superintendents: Obama is already president. His campaign is over.)

What a U.S. president, any U.S. president, needs to do is teach and motivate young people in any rare opportunity that gets them both in the same room.

The single biggest flaw of those who oppose the idea of the President of the United States addressing schoolchildren in a controlled classroom environment is their reckless underestimation of our students.

Quit for one minute assuming that young people - around whom you must only spend a fraction of your time - are vulnerable prey for brainwashing revolutionaries. Bearing that assumption already makes you less intelligent than the young people you're trying to save.

And don't get me started on double standards. Prescott High School, like Bradshaw Mountain and Chino Valley high schools, have decided that the President of the United States talking to schoolchildren is too controversial.

That's a curious about-face from the same district that supported its students' visit to the courthouse to experience a speech given by a campaigning George W. Bush in Prescott.

Obama's post-speech curriculum is optional and available mostly for teachers to frame an appropriate course of study for the students to document their own individual experience after hearing the President of the United States talk for 20 minutes about the merits of education.

Chino Valley's Duane Noggle left us genuinely asking whether a superintendent of schools is actually smarter than a fifth-grader with the comment of the year for Arizona's public education system: "If anyone is going to be part of the education process, they have to go through the appropriate channels - even the President of the United States. Our policy is that all speakers must be approved."

Welcome to America, Misha. You can probably make it back home to normalcy if you hurry.

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