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Sunday, September 6, 2009

Stupid Parent Tricks: Sioux Falls Mom Endangers Children Daily... By Sending Them to School

Somehow, I don't think we'd be having this discussion if Carrie's kids' teachers invited John Thune to talk to the class.

Hello, Carrie Pederson of Sioux Falls. I'm sure you'll find this post unfair, insulting, and mean. But when you use the public airwaves to say stupid things, you must expect public criticism.

What stupid thing did you say? In reference to President Barack Obama's upcoming speech to America's schoolkids, you offered this utterly silly argument:

"I don't like the idea that he's going to speak directly to the children and we don't know what's going to be said," Sioux Falls parent Carrie Pederson said.

Um, Carrie? Do you know what happens in school? There are a bunch of scary adults called teachers who speak directly to your children every day. And you probably have less idea of what those teachers are going to say on any given day than you do of what the President plans to say Tuesday. (Quick quiz: tell me what your kids' teachers will say in school Wednesday.) At any moment, one of those teachers could start spouting off propaganda to turn your defenseless children into Darwinists or anarchists or (horrors!) docile employees who don't challenge authority.

And what sort of accountability is there for these so-called teachers? Unlike the President, teachers don't have reporters following them everywhere they go. Unlike the President, who is selected in an excruciatingly long and brutal public selection process, teachers are reviewed and hired behind closed doors by a handful of people.

What kind of a parent are you to surrender your children to these dangerous teachers? How can you get through each day knowing you've left your children unsupervised in the grip of such unchecked potential brainwashing?

Letting teachers speak directly to your children—unbelievable! unconscionable! I'll bet you're the kind of parent who lets other adults speak directly to your kids without any supervision, like Sunday school teachers, police officers, and giant corporations (how many ads for Pepsi, Coke, Nike, Hollister are your poor brainwashed children subjected to every day?). You might as well tell your kids to run with scissors while you're at it.

By the way, Carrie, David Brooks considers your concerns over the upcoming Presidential address "totally unrealistic and insane."


  1. cory, who cares what david brooks has to say?

    there is a clear difference between a teacher and an elected official. if you don't realize that, then you're the one who is ... well, i'll let you be the one who calls people names. but you get my drift.

    rob regier

  2. and what if john thune was the speaker, and he had handouts that asked the kids what they could do to help him? would you think it was "stupid" to complain? doubt it.

    thankfully, obama saw the error of his handout, and changed it. good for him.

  3. lexrex/Rob R.: Conservatives would do well to adhere more to the rational conservatism of David Brooks, who recognizes we can disagree on policy without turning a "Do your homework" speech from the President into a Communist plot.

    And yes, I do recognize the difference between the President of the United States and a teacher. If Carrie Pederson really believes that one highly publicized and scrutinized speech from President Obama can harm her children, then she must logically conclude that the mostly unsupervised teachers who have direct access to her children every day also pose a threat.

    I think it is more logical to conclude that Ms. Pederson is simply spouting irrational right-wing distraction points.

    There is also a big difference between just calling names ("You're a poopyhead!") and pointing out that specific misleading words and behavior are "totally unrealisitc and insane."

  4. david brooks is neither rational nor conservative.

    but see, you miss the point. it wasn't originally just a do-your-homework speech. the obama administration admitted to messing up the PR on this. they admitted that it was mistake to make it a help-your-president speech. that's why the uproar. and thankfully, they adjusted to the parents' complaints.

    nonetheless, your postulation you apply to ms. pederson does not make sense. why would you assume that because she's skeptical of an elected official addressing her kids that she would also be of a teacher? that's quite a leap you make for her. and it's unfair.

    it would do you well to be as rational as you say brooks is, and not turn a simple disagreement on an apparently political speech into a right-wing conspiracy.

  5. It's not a political speech, Rob. Never was. This speech was about "do your homework" from the start. Show me the text to the contrary.

    My postulation makes perfect sense. She says she's worried about letting an adult speak directly to children and not knowing what that adult will say. President Obama has made what he plans to see more public than any lesson plan from any teacher in the Sioux Falls School District (see link in original story). She frets about one brief Internet address from the President; the logic of her statement suggests that if she doesn't have a complete manuscript of her kids' teachers' planned lessons, she would offer the same objection.

    I make nothing up, Rob; I just go with the words people use and, when necessary, point out the absurdity therein.

    But hey, call Carrie, have her drop by, maybe she can clarfiy what she meant.

  6. By the way, Rob, where did I mention anything about a right-wing conspiracy on this one? Do you know something I don't? ;-)

  7. from sep. 4 bloomberg news,

    ...‘Help the President’

    The Education Department reworded one of its ideas for classroom activities on Sept. 2, the day after Greer’s comments. Earlier this week, the agency had suggested that students in pre- kindergarten through sixth grade “write letters to themselves about what they can do to help the president.” Some critics interpreted that to mean Obama wanted school children to help him push his political agenda.

    The true intent of that suggestion was “for students to write letters to themselves about how they can achieve their own goals,” Sandra Abrevaya, an Education Department spokeswoman, said yesterday in an interview. “We just adjusted the language so it was clear.”

  8. now, if thune had been giving this speech, with a follow-up question to students asking how they could help him, are you saying that you wouldn't be at least a little concerned? judging how you fly off the handle with other issues, i'm guessing you'd have yelped pretty loudly.

  9. So the White House reworded the document to make its original intent clearer. Where's the beef?

    I remember a 1992 campaign event where the GOP's Char Haar (my former French teacher at MHS!) came to the Brookings junior high and got to speak to the entire student body for 30-45 minutes. She ended her presentation with a little campaign rah-rah. She asked the kids if they were ready to help put a woman in the Senate for South Dakota. The kids dissolved into equal portions of half-hearted yeahs, exuberant smart-aleck nos, and giggling.

    Pretty hard to make the Republic (or then-incumbent Senator Daschle) fall on one ill-chosen sentence. The Obama Administration has demonstrated its sensitivity to fair play in the schools by revising its text.

    Would I have made a little hay if Senator Thune said something similar? Probably. But I wouldn't be organizing a statewide boycott that treated the Senator as if he weren't really one of our democratically elected representatives in Washington and a darned important person. If I want to criticize Senator Thune and advocate for his defeat in the next election, I can do that entirely on legitimate policy grounds, not on absurd, manufactured non-issues.

  10. And did I mention David Brooks considers your concerns about Obama talking to the kids "totally unrealistic and insane"? ;-)

  11. gee, cory, if you had just told me from the start what david brooks thought, we could've avoided this whole discussion. :-)

  12. (Reminder, kids: I don't take anonymous comments. See the comment policy: http://madvilletimes.com/policies/comments/)


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