Conversations #47 September 6, 2009

The announcement of President Obama's speech to students caused many conversations across the US and that is the topic of conversation for today's show. Sheila was visiting relatives in Alabama. Her cousin Laura, a middle school teacher in Indiana joined Lisa, Maria and Sheila for today's show.

Chat Log

11:29:17 Lisa Parisi: Hello Zoe
11:29:39 zoe: Hello everyone!
11:31:19 Lisa Parisi: Hello Kath
11:32:56 Lisa Parisi: Stream is up on ETTA.
11:35:22 Lisa Parisi: Hello Jackie
11:35:32 jackiegerstein: Hey - no audio today?
11:35:38 Lisa Parisi: On ETTA
11:36:08 Lisa Parisi: Audio on ustream today
11:37:26 Lisa Parisi: Hello Doriedance...welcome...sound is on ETTA
11:37:58 doriedance: okay thanks
11:38:26 stephanie sandifer: Our district has left the decision to the individual schools -- but they stressed that they viewed it positively as an educational opportunity
11:38:33 stephanie sandifer: which mae me happy
11:38:42 jackiegerstein: I still cannot believe that schools are not going to show a message to kids by the President of the United States.
11:38:53 stephanie sandifer: @jackie I know -- unbelievable
11:39:20 Lisa Parisi: Welcome Suzanne...sound is on ETTA
11:39:44 Lisa Parisi: Hello Andrew and Matt
11:39:57 matt montagne: hi lisa et all
11:42:00 sheila: Welcome all!
11:42:07 jackiegerstein: I am beyond shock - Schools need to re-examine and artculate the purpose of education - I thought part of it was the development of citizenship.
11:42:23 jackiegerstein: You teach young children - I agree
11:42:30 MariaK: I agree Jackie
11:42:41 GingerTPLC: Cognizant children. They're all intelligent. ;-)
11:43:09 MariaK: I was hoping that they were all intelligent.
11:43:20 jackiegerstein: Arne Duncan said on Face the Nation this morning and they are going to post the text of his speech tomorrow -
11:43:30 jackiegerstein: because of this controversy
11:43:44 zoe: This is not about content, this is about politics.
11:43:45 MariaK: yes - I heard yesterday that the text would be posted ahead of time
11:43:51 GingerTPLC: I retweeted an advert for this Conversations show and got a tweet from a mom who said that her daughter would not be participating.
11:43:59 matt montagne: is isn't surprising though ... we questioned Inconvinient Truth when teachers wanted to show that in schools
11:44:08 jackiegerstein: Becaue it is a message to the CHILDREN
11:44:17 matt montagne: Bush was an idiot though
11:44:22 jackiegerstein: LOL Matt
11:44:22 aforgrave (Andrew): How widespread is the "questioning" ?
11:44:26 zoe: perhaps people are worried that Obama will be seen as doing his job...thus getting more supporters. This is desparate measures
11:44:35 MariaK: I wish we could have voices from folks who disagree with showing it. I don't want to be an echo chamber - want to hear other voices
11:44:44 matt montagne: I shouldn't have said that
11:45:00 MariaK: too late - matt
11:45:07 GingerTPLC: @Maria, I can play that role, although it's not my belief. i like playing Devil's Advocate.
11:45:09 MariaK: do you want it in the chat log?
11:45:34 zoe: @afrograve- seems to be very little widespread media about this
11:45:43 matt montagne: but, did he ever do a speech targeted directly too students?? If he would've, schools would've watched it
11:45:45 jackiegerstein: I had one 3rd  student tell me that Obama support killing babies from their mommies' stomachs - yikes!
11:45:48 Lisa Parisi: Would anyone like to join us in skype call?
11:45:58 matt montagne: no many schools would've watched it tho ;)
11:46:13 tsakshaug: Regan gave a talk to students via cspan
11:46:24 matt montagne: like we heard on twitter, there are strong undercurrents of racism here
11:46:29 Lisa Parisi: So did Bush
11:46:30 GingerTPLC: It was difficult for me to talk about McCain during the elections, but it's vital to keep to the words of the politician and to keep teacher opinion out.
11:46:43 jackiegerstein: I believe so Matt
11:46:48 matt montagne: bush was a horrible speaker...not the most interesting guy to listen too
11:47:11 tsakshaug: agree the timing of the speech is awful
11:47:27 GingerTPLC: Would everyone be so strong about wanting to show it if it wasn't so controversial?
11:47:43 Lisa Parisi: What is controversial about it Ginger?
11:48:00 GingerTPLC: Sorry. Was made to be a controversy?
11:48:02 aforgrave (Andrew): A counterpoint, I guess -- are folks being "required" to watch/discuss/teach the address?
11:48:20 GingerTPLC: Lisa, I'm with you. We're showing it.
11:48:20 tsakshaug: it is avalable, not required here
11:48:34 GingerTPLC: But would I show it if it was GW Bush talking?
11:48:45 jackiegerstein: How many times do the students and teachers have to watch assemblies by special interest groups - without pre-screening.  I have been appalled by some of them.
11:49:00 matt montagne: @jackie ... good pt
11:49:06 GingerTPLC: Jackie, yes. I have too. Not in my school but in others.
11:49:13 tsakshaug: and fundraising stuff
11:49:18 matt montagne: @jackie - that happens with assemblies all the time
11:49:27 sheila: What is the criteria when we pre-screen?
11:49:54 matt montagne: @sheila - great point. What would the criteria be?? Who gets to decide??
11:50:03 matt montagne: Teachers should get to decide
11:50:31 matt montagne: How about "Exploration and Discovery Time" 
11:50:36 zoe: @GingerTPLC, regardless of your political belief, you probably would show it, as an educator it is our responsibility - the nations leaders is speaking to children. When else do children feel empowered, respected, listened to? spoken to? My students in Ontario will be watching and then we'll discuss the the contraversy
11:51:07 MariaK: yes Matt - that's what we call our work time - exploration
11:51:10 matt montagne: I hope folks don't prescreen Earthcast ;-)
11:51:11 GingerTPLC: yah, I'm going to call myself on my hipocracy. We may not watch it if it was Bush.
11:51:26 GingerTPLC: I guess it depends on the topic.
11:51:39 matt montagne: @Ginger...I agree, if it was bush people just wouldn't be excited. He was BORING
11:52:04 matt montagne: Obama is inspiring, even if you don't agree with his ideas
11:52:20 jackiegerstein: Again - now they are posting the text tomorrow for pre-screening AND everyone is going to find it is benign - state in school, study hard, etc.
11:52:28 jackiegerstein: sty
11:52:31 jackiegerstein: stay
11:52:32 jackiegerstein: jikes
11:52:53 GingerTPLC: No Matt, that's not it for me. I just think Bush would be pushing a war-agenda. And would want to see a good quality overview before I showed it. But it's all guess work at this point.
11:53:42 GingerTPLC: Regan's WAS extremely political with strong religious overtones.
11:53:45 matt montagne: @Gineger - If bush would've been giving a speech to children and it was about pushing a war agenda, I DEFINITELY would want kids to watch it
11:53:49 zoe: It is odd that we would even debate this - Nations leader is going to give a motivational speech to children. This really isn't about content but about the politics.Regardless of the leader - student empowerment, engagement is key
11:54:23 matt montagne: safari thing again...mac users know about it
11:54:33 GingerTPLC: So I'm having to come up with plans for at least one girl whose mom is not wanting her to watch.
11:54:47 GingerTPLC: I invited mom to come observe. Haven't heard back. She's in church.
11:54:48 jackiegerstein: I tried to find a view that supports NOT showing his speech via Twitter - couldn't find any.
11:55:20 tsakshaug: If a parent tried to opt out of a Bush/Regan speech they would have been called unamerican and other things
11:55:52 GingerTPLC: @tsakshaug: you're right.
11:56:10 Lisa Parisi:
11:56:17 jackiegerstein: It appears to be parent driven - from all news accounts
11:56:28 GingerTPLC: Maria, I have a parent, new to TPLC who is going to be pulling her kid.
11:56:30 matt montagne: I'd be more concerned about my kids hearing bad things by watching TV
11:56:54 matt montagne: is socialism bad? Is caring for people who can't care for themselves bad?
11:57:34 tsakshaug: you have an entire network-Fox News_ railing agianst this for a week or so. If people watch that they have it drummed into their heads
11:57:39 Lisa Parisi: Who's going to join us in the skype chat?
11:59:41 matt montagne: quite honestly, as the world's population continues to explode and limited natural resources are depleted, we will see more "socialist" kinds of policy. A pure free market, competition driven, "me" system will no longer work when population hits 10 billion plus
12:00:16 Lisa Parisi: That's a whole other topic Matt.  One we should address someday.
12:01:33 matt montagne: I'm much, much more concerned about healthcare, environment, foreign policy, wars, etc than I am about abortion right now. Let's prioritize
12:02:00 jackiegerstein: But what message are we giving to the kids when they are banned from seeing the President speak to them?
12:02:59 jackiegerstein: I don't believe teachers, parents, administrators are coming from a place of information but a place of emotion.  NONE have yet to read his speech.
12:03:00 GingerTPLC: Jackie, banning the president can do 2 things: Tell kids that he (or govt) is bad. or 2: that things that we ban aren't that bad. I'm very worried about the latter.
12:03:10 aforgrave (Andrew): Just browsing for some media reactions, opt out, etc -- have folks seen this?  ?
12:03:18 zoe: @jackiegersteing - I agree. Perhaps we are telling them that we do not value them
12:03:41 matt montagne: this all is a great rationale for tenure...teachers should be able to talk about contentious issues in the classroom without fear of losing their job. If they can't, then we'll end up with a watered down, vanilla curriculum and classroom experience
12:03:53 GingerTPLC: Right Lisa. We don't have to hold conversations if we disagree with a person.
12:04:10 GingerTPLC: That's a bad message to send to our future.
12:04:21 jackiegerstein: Don't we want to teach kids to be critical consumers of information?
12:04:25 GingerTPLC: Civil Discourse ought to be a class, beginning in MS.
12:04:32 jackiegerstein: Yes Ginger!
12:04:37 Lisa Parisi: Why wait until Middle school?
12:04:47 jackiegerstein: He is NOT going to talk about pro-choice
12:04:52 jackiegerstein: yikes
12:04:57 zoe: As an educator, if I were told not to show it, it would disempower me and discourage me emmensely, this is global learning, citizenship and character education  - that is mandatory in our school system. I wonder how the teacher unions have responded to this nonsense
12:04:57 GingerTPLC: Lisa, because I don't understand under-5th grade mentality or ability.
12:05:04 GingerTPLC: If it can be done before that, let's do it!
12:05:31 GingerTPLC: Good question Zoe. I wonder how NEA is responding.
12:05:37 jackiegerstein: Because Bush didn't have speeches directed at children
12:06:22 aforgrave (Andrew): Check out Obama's history WRT Father's Day -- he's got a track record BEFORE becoming president ...
12:06:35 matt montagne: I think the difference is that Obama inspires hope after 8 years of a horrible presidency...
12:06:38 tsakshaug: My Pet Goat
12:06:45 zoe: @Ginger TPLC - agreed, all students should watch - how to we begin to teach critical thinkg and conversation. My 6 and year old sons would benefit and I will be showing and discussing the speech with them at home (their school won't show it)
12:07:02 matt montagne: we listened to reagan becuase he inspired hope, regardless of whether or not you liked him
12:07:59 matt montagne: with me gotta admit he was a more inspiring orator than G Dub
12:08:14 zoe: @matt I agree - it doesn't matter your politcal belief - or how much we "are inspired" it matter how we are making our students THINKERS.
12:08:27 tsakshaug: yes he was, but rotten apples and rotten oranges
12:08:36 Lisa Parisi: Andrew, can you tell us about the Father's Day speech?
12:08:38 tsakshaug: which do you find better
12:08:44 matt montagne: @tsak - agreed
12:09:08 jackiegerstein: He is just going to focus on the importance of education!  What do people think he is going to do - push his health reform ideas on school aged children? 
12:09:14 s Giddings: I think Obama is a great orator and it will be agreat speech! I do also think he has insulted the educational community by giving us 4.5 Billion to improve education. How much are we spending a day in Afghanistan a day?
12:09:50 matt montagne: @ s gidding... good point, that is an insult big time. The wars need to end NOW
12:10:05 matt montagne: but they can't end now...not until we break our addiction with oil
12:10:52 s Giddings: Afghanistan is not about oil if we said we are going to stop poppy growth that would be a cause!
12:11:37 Lisa Parisi: Welcome Barb
12:11:42 zoe: Thanks for the chat everyone - I must go be a parent now! I hope you innovative educators DO show the speech and do discuss it openly. It may be our first class blog topic of the year! Good luck on the start up! (@zbpipe)
12:11:55 Lisa Parisi: Thanks for coming, Zoe.
12:12:15 Barb in Nebraska: Hello everyone! Glad to see the conversation is still going on.
12:12:36 zoe: Thanks Lisa, for facilitating this. Great to have International Teacher Communities.
12:13:18 aforgrave (Andrew): Father's Day -- Obama's speech challenges fathers to Step Up and take responsibility -- on YouTube "Barack Obama's Speech on Father's Day"
12:13:59 jackiegerstein: I want to yell out to the whole education field "READ HIS SPEECH" and then make an informed decision about if and how his speeck will be shown to the schools. 
12:14:31 Barb in Nebraska: question: Will the speech be on YouTube to watch later? 
12:16:30 tsakshaug: heck I even went to hear George Wallace speak once
12:16:48 Barb in Nebraska: My father, a lifelong Republican, had a goal to either meet or attend any visit of a President to our state.
12:17:39 aforgrave (Andrew): "Obama reminded the congregation of his own experience growing up without a father, saying that if he could be anything in life, he wold be a good father to his daughters."
12:18:02 jackiegerstein: Then having it in the structured classroom environment makes even better sense
12:18:19 jackiegerstein: Obama as Big Brother ; 0
12:18:38 Lisa Parisi: Is that a problem, Andrew?
12:18:49 tsakshaug: Think we watched Nixon inauguration at school
12:19:07 jackiegerstein: The students hear and see this information outside of school anyhow -so why not have these discussions in school?
12:19:36 jackiegerstein: The message we are giving kids is very scarey
12:20:00 GingerTPLC: Everything is a slippery slope. Talk about sanitizing a school culture.
12:20:01 jackiegerstein: This is not a block - preventing it is a ban!
12:20:13 GingerTPLC: It's censorship.
12:20:17 jackiegerstein: All special interest groups
12:20:24 jackiegerstein: What is education?
12:20:57 GingerTPLC: Not all kids have to spend the same amount of time learning things. Maybe those who have more time can see these things? Or is that not fair?
12:21:21 jackiegerstein: and any government offical - police officers, military, etc then should not be allowed in schools
12:22:09 matt montagne: Individual school principals are going to make that choice??
12:22:34 aforgrave (Andrew): @Lisa Parisi Obama's Father's day speech, to me, suggests his strong belief in active leadership -- same opportunity here to encourage students.  We need more leaders.
12:23:49 GingerTPLC: Have you seen the FB group, "Educators and Parents for Civil Discourse." (apparently I can't post the link.
12:24:03 Barb in Nebraska: yup, I remember the explosion, we were watching it.
12:24:08 GingerTPLC: Yike! I was in 8th grade when that shuttle exploded.
12:24:18 Barb in Nebraska: That was one of my first years teaching too
12:24:57 GingerTPLC: Together, we watched the footage of the WTC collapse. And cried together.
12:25:14 Barb in Nebraska: Hello?
12:25:18 Barb in Nebraska: :-)
12:25:31 aforgrave (Andrew): Time? How long is he gonna be on? Say 20 minutes? WHO can't affored 20 minutes --  extend to an hour or an afternoon for discussion? Talk about a teachable moment!
12:25:39 sheila: we were told not to watch the WTC
12:26:23 jackiegerstein: Facebook Group (I joined yesterday)
12:26:27 aforgrave (Andrew): Another example of keeping the "real world" outside the school walls, and keeping the "in school" activities nice and neat and simple.
12:26:37 GingerTPLC: Well, and if we don't want our kids to learn public school real life, then we ought to homeschool. Maria, there is indeed alternatives.
12:26:57 Lisa Parisi: Yes, Ginger, I agree.
12:28:35 aforgrave (Andrew): Does anyone know the source of @paulbogush tweet yesterday, "New poll - 68% of kids ages 6-18 say if they can opt out of listening to directions from the President, they can opt out of listening to teachers."   ??? Source ???
12:29:28 matt montagne: unless we think differently about schools, we'll always end up with a watered down, test driven experience...schools will never be about real work if we can't let them get involved in reak world, knotty issues
12:30:18 aforgrave (Andrew): I expect Obama's Speech to Students will speak to very specific student-important issues. Non-partisan. Non-denominational. Thoughts?
12:30:28 GingerTPLC: @Andrew, I think Paul's on a rant right now. Wouldn't quote him He's more fired up than I am about this.
12:30:37 matt montagne: students should be encouraged to explore and think about multiple seems as though we are afraid our students will learn about these different perspectives. 
12:31:31 jackiegerstein: We can quote Ann Coulter, "The students should not be listening to the President at school.  They are at school to learn things."
12:31:38 GingerTPLC: Agree Matt. This is why I'm always looking to another POV in any discussion. Some think I'm just being contrary. i'm looking for all sides.
12:31:48 aforgrave (Andrew): @GingerTPLC -- I'll contact him. What is the biggest concern for you?
12:32:00 GingerTPLC: *ugh* Jackie. I *will* quote her!!
12:32:14 jackiegerstein: LOL
12:32:44 GingerTPLC: @Andrew, My #1 concern is not allowing kids to learn how to think for themselves. 
12:33:47 jackiegerstein: and my #1 concern is the agents of education are making decisions based on emotion - prior to knowing the content of his speech. 
12:34:38 aforgrave (Andrew): Whose agenda DO we push in school? How much control do we, as educated, responsible EDUCATORS have over what we do in our classrooms for our students and our communities? How much responsibility do we have as educators? Or are we just un-thinking cogs an education-machine?
12:35:23 jackiegerstein: Now I just really angry.
12:35:27 jackiegerstein: am
12:35:46 GingerTPLC: Great question, Andrew. Good for deeper pondering.
12:35:54 Lisa Parisi:
12:35:58 jackiegerstein: Thanks
12:36:15 aforgrave (Andrew): Are folks reacting to this because THIS message is less valued than all the other "messages" kids get day-in, day-out from their schools?
12:36:44 GingerTPLC: Would LOVE to!
12:36:50 aforgrave (Andrew): @DaveC -- time zone?
12:36:57 Lisa Parisi: Thanks for coming everyone.
12:36:57 Barb in Nebraska: Thanks guys!
12:37:05 GingerTPLC: Thank you!
12:37:07 aforgrave (Andrew): Thanks folks