« What's Your Bumper Sticker? | Main | Mathematics: The Language of Life? »

Representing More Than 20 Minutes

| 9 Comments

obch20

I'm deeply saddened by the reactions of many regarding the forthcoming address by the President of the United States to the students of this great nation because it represents much more than those 20 minutes.

Let me be clear. I did not vote for President Obama. I do not support a number of his agenda items. I still do not believe his actions can match his rhetoric. However, I have hope. I have hope because I believe in the United States. I believe in what we can do as one nation. I believe that all citizens should listen deeply to elected officials, engage critically with their ideas, and work diligently to ensure a better tomorrow.

It is why I cannot understand how we as a society can claim to want 21st Century students that are critical and creative thinkers that value civic responsibility, intellectual diversity, and global awareness yet fight against an opportunity to engage those habits and skills as a learning community.

We claim that we want students to be engaged citizens. We claim we want interdisciplinary thinkers. We claim we want lifelong learners that challenge ideas, work collaboratively to solve problems, and communicate effectively.

YET, we don't want our students exploring the idea of education simply because the President is the person starting the conversation and we fear the controversy.

Is this not an opportunity to engage in a unifying discussion? Is this not an opportunity for self and community reflection? Is this not an opportunity to think critically about a vital issue both locally and nationally? Is this not an opportunity to broaden awareness of issues for our students beyond their local community? Is this not an opportunity for respectfully debate, discourse, and growth?

We should be ashamed that our nation, our students, our schools have an opportunity to engage as a learning community but we would rather turn this into politics as usual. More importantly, we should be ashamed of what this moment represents: the great truth about the current US education system.

Given the reactions by communities and schools, it seems we still have too many across this country that do not want well-educated, 21st Century global citizens. Instead, we want sheltered individuals that only see what they are told to see, only hear what they are told to hear, and only do what they are told to do. We want factory-like schools producing narrow minded students built by prescribed curriculum centered on content, tests, textbooks, and singular sources of information. We want rigor in the form of more work and compliance. We want surface level thinkers that look at issues through a lens of fear and ignorance. We want a place for kids to be monitored.

That is why we are where we are with education. Our talks say one thing but our actions speak much louder about what we really want.

Today, I'm not proud to be an educator. I'm not proud to be a leader in education. Today, I'm deeply saddened for our students because they are the ones that suffer from our ignorance. They are the ones that pay for our inability to see the bigger, much more important picture.

Ryan Bretag
Coordinator of Instructional Technology
Glenbrook North High School
Blog: Metanoia

9 Comments

I so agree. I am appalled that there is any question of allowing our children to view this speech. I mean, it is historical! This is the first time that I know of that a President has spoken directly to the future of our country, the children. Maybe I should call my kids' schools and ask that they DO be allowed to watch the speech!

Well said. Thank you for your honesty. I can't believe the outrage. Why wouldn't parents want their children to listen to a speech about working hard and getting a good education?

Beautifully stated. Thank you.

Congratulations for being one of the few people who stands up for intelligence, rationality, civil discourse and open-mindedness.

I don't understand why so many people are so afraid of a man who was elected by a clear majority of the people who voted. I also don't understand why so many people who call themselves Americans favor censorship.

But what bothers me most is not the distrust of students, not the distrust ofr teachers and not the fear of what the President might say. What distresses me is the insulting level of much of the discussion.

Thank you for raising your voice and raising the level of discourse.

Come on, this President has surrounded himself with crooks, communists, Marxist, gangters, and racists. He brought this problem to himself. People do not trust him.

Well said Ryan!

Thank you for your honesty and patriotism. This is the President of the United States of America and, vote for him or not, he represents all Americans.

He is giving the opportunity to ALL students to be engaged regardless of their parents' political affiliation. This is an event of which we ALL should be proud.

I agree with your comments and thank you for articulating them so passionately and clearly.

I want to add one small point of factual clarification, though, to Teri's comment above. What Obama is doing is not so radical or unprecedented. George H.W. Bush addressed schools via a live televised address in 1991. You can read the address at the Bush Library website: http://j.mp/1YGVkG

Ryan, the country and our profession is in disarray. The president of the United States wants to stand up for what teachers are trying to accomplish. He wants to encourage students to be good students and many of our colleagues can't give him fifteen minutes to do so.

A conservative radio talk show host spreads fear in the hearts of parents and instead of bringing calmer reason to bear on the issue, we cave and run scared.

There was a time when when young people sometimes aspired to be the president of the United States. If that has changed, shame on us. If that ever is going to be the case again, educators must be the ones to lead the way.

It might go something like this. "Boys and girls, President Obama wants to talk to you today about how important your education is. Afterward we'll have a discussion about what he said. Please put away your books and give the president your attention."

Simple, huh? You'd think so. What's all the fuss about? It makes me wonder.

Thanks for the post.

Comments are now closed for this post.

Advertisement

Recent Comments

  • Dennis Richards: Ryan, the country and our profession is in disarray. The read more
  • Nathan Rein: I agree with your comments and thank you for articulating read more
  • John Gibson: Thank you for your honesty and patriotism. This is the read more
  • Stephanie Sandifer: Well said Ryan! read more
  • Richard Caldwell: Come on, this President has surrounded himself with crooks, communists, read more

Archives

Categories

Technorati

Technorati search

» Blogs that link here

Tags

#ccko9
#eci831
#ic3s21
#passiondriven
1:1
1:1 laptops
21st century
21st Century
21st Century Schools
21st Century skills
21st Century Skills
Abraham Lincoln
Accountability
accountabilty
adifference
administrator
Adolescent Literacy Panel
advice
aldonza
aleccouros
Alfie Kohn
Angela Maiers
aptitude
Arthur Benjamin
Artists
Arts
ASCD
Assessment
astronaut
Author
avatar
basketball
Beyond Discipline
Blog
blogging
blogs
boss
calculus
Capacity
Career and College Readiness
Carnegie Foundation
CEDS
Cell Phones
Challenge
Change
change
Charleston Children's Museum
Chris Anderson
CIES
class blogs
Clay Shirky
College
Colonel Eileen Collins
commenting
commitment
communication
Community
community
comparative
compassion
compensation
Comprehension
Comprhension
computers in the classroom
Constructivism
cookie
Copyright_infringement
Copyright_laws
Council of Conscience
creativity
Creativity
Creativity Conversation
Creativity Index
Cultivate
Dan Pink
death valley
Decision making
dennisar
Derailed
Disruptive Innovation
Divergent
dkuropatwa
Don Quixote
Dr. Jeff
Dr. Jeff Goldstein
Drive
dulcinea
Education
education
Education in the United States
educational change
Educational Leadership
educational leadership
educational technology leadership
Educators
effectiveness
Element
empathy
Enactivism
energy savings
Engage
Engineering
engineering
evaluation
evernote
evsc
Facebook
failure
Feedback
Festival
Film festival
firing
formative and summative assessments
Frank Smith
friendship
Future
Garr Reynolds
georgesiemens
Global
Golden Rule
Grades
green technology
heart
heart of a teacher
High school
high school
Higher Education
Higher Order Thinking Skills
hire
history
HOME
Home School Partnership
Homework
hospitals
humility
I Notice
Ian Jukes
Ideas
Identity crisis
imagination
Improvement
improvement
Indexing
influence
innovation
Innovation
innovation3
innovation3 llc
inspiration
instructional leadership
Interests
international
International Society for Technology in Education
interview
ipad
ISTE
Jayson Richardson
job
Job Readiness
John Seely Brown
K through 12
K-8
Karen Armstrong
karl fisch
kellychristopherson
Kent
leaderhhip coaching
leadershiop
Leadership
leadership
leadership development
leadership management influence
Leadership Resources
lean
learning
Learning
Learning 21st Century
legislation
Lifelong learning
Literacy
Literacy and Learning
Love
Man of La Mancha
management
math
math education
mathematics
Mathematics
mboe
Media literacy
medicine
mentoring
merit pay
mguhlin
Michael Watkins
Minds on Fire
moodle
Motivation
Movies
Multiple choice
NAESP
NASA
national educational technology plan
National Governors Association
NCESSE
Neil Rochelle
netbooks
NETS-A
Norma Rae
Nurture
Obama
one to one
online
online learning
Online Software
Originality
osu
Paradoxical Commandments
Parent Invovlement
Parent Partnership
passion
Passion Driven Classroom
Passion Education
Passion Leadership
performance
pete reilly
peter o'toole
Peter Senge
plagiarism
pln
PLN
plurk
Positive feedback
power
preconceptions
President Kennedy
principal
Principal
principal preparation
priorities
probability
Problem Solving
productivity
Professional development
publishing
read/write web
Reading
Reading Next
Reflection
reform
religion
reorganization
research
saving IT dollars
Schedules
school leadership
School Reform
schooling
science
Science
Scott McCloud
Scott McLeod
Second Life
self management
Seth Godin
Shall We Dance?
Shanghai
SIF
sir ken robinson
Sir Ken Robinson
SLC
Social Media
Social Networking
sophia loren
Standardized test
statistics
STEM
stephaniepacemarshall
stephendownes
strategy leadership
student achievement
student led conferences
suffering
summer
Switzerland
systemic change
Teacher
teacher
Teacher Professional Development
teachers
Teachers College Columbia University
teaching
Technology
technology
technology change
Technology integration
technology research
TED
TED Prize
textbooks
The First 90 Days
thin client
Thinking
Thomas Dewey
Tim Irwin
time management
Time To Act
transformation
transformative change
transitions
Tribes-We Need You To Lead Us
twitter
Twitter
Uniqueness
United States
University
University of Alabama-Birmingham
University of Kentucky
vacation
Value
vision
Vision
Wagner
walkthroughs
Web 2.0
Web Filtering
Webinar
weighting
Whole New Mind
wisdom
Wordle
workforce
World Read Aloud Day
Young People