Reagan Rebuts the Obama School Talk
Reagan's three-decade-old opinions on academic freedom would make an apt response to Obama's planned speech to the schoolchildren.
September 7, 2009 - 12:01 am
On September 8, President Barack Obama, whose education experience includes working with former Weather Underground terrorist William Ayers to reform teaching, will address the most pliable citizens of his public school empire with a live cable-cast speech on values and education. This unusual effort of a president to bypass parental discretion and go directly to our children has set off alarm bells among parents.
If the president really wanted to make an impression on America’s children, why not go on TV in prime time or on the internet? So parents and children could voluntarily watch together and then discuss the president’s ideas at home?
Instead, the Education Department released a curriculum guide for members of the NEA (a crucial field force in the “Obama for America” election effort) to instruct children to “write letters to themselves about what they can do to help the president.”
The letters were to be collected by the union members and redistributed at a later date to “make students accountable” to their goals as President Obama’s loyal helpers. After a public outcry, the White House amended the line, removing the reference to the president.
Imagine, for a moment, if our open-minded public schools were to permit an opposition response to the Obama school talk and that we could enlist former President Ronald Reagan to deliver the rebuttal.
This single paragraph, from Reagan’s letter to the editor of his alma mater’s school paper, might do nicely:
Personally, I believe in academic freedom but oppose limiting it to any one segment of academe. The teacher who interprets it as covering only the teacher’s right to teach is ignoring the student’s academic freedom and the right of parents to have some say as to what their children are learning. Then there is the academic freedom of those who finance the whole operation and have some beliefs about the kind of schooling they wish to make available with their contributions — all these are entitled to some share of academic freedom (letter to the editor of PEGASUS, Eureka, Illinois, March 31, 1971).