Letter from a State School Board Member
By Nancy Matthis | Monday, September 7th, 2009 at 2:55 pm
Obama usurped the Constitutional role of state and local school boards by addressing principals and issuing lesson plans. Alert citizens throughout the country responded with a deluge of emails and phone calls to local school personnel and to school board members.
In protecting the education of our nation’s children, our state and local school boards are the first line of defense. We are privileged to share a letter sent by a member of the Alabama State School Board to Bob Riley, Governor of Alabama, Dr. Joseph B. Morton, Alabama State Superintendent of Education, and her fellow board members.
Thursday, September 3, 2009
I don’t know about other board members but I have been receiving emails and phone calls from constituents expressing concern about the President’s plans to address American schoolchildren and provide related classroom activities on Sept. 8. You can click onto www.ed.gov/admins/lead/academic/bts.html to see the original proposed lesson plans included for both age groups of students.
According to Dr. Morton’s memo to city and county school superintendents today, some aspects of the lesson plans have just been changed. I find it very disconcerting that the discussion over the President’s lesson plans has been carried out in the media with state and local school board members and state departments of education being left out of the loop. And it appears that it’s only because the media have been discussing the President’s September 8 event that the controversial lesson plans are being changed.
If the President had limited his endeavor to offering a pep talk of 3-5 minutes concerning studying hard, doing homework, and staying in school, that would be one thing. However, when he through the US Dept. of Education starts issuing lesson plans, he is setting a precedent which usurps the traditional, Constitutional role of the state and local school boards, state departments of education, and state legislatures regarding education. [emphasis mine]
Neither parents nor elected officials such as state school board members know with certainty what will be presented to the students in the classrooms of our state. Therefore, I can understand parental concerns, which may result in some of them keeping their children at home next Tuesday.
I don’t know if there is any policy to allow concerned parents to send their children to school with an opt out form, for instance, so that students will not miss a day of school. I certainly hope opt-out requests will be honored and students not ostracized or parents retaliated against for not allowing students to participate in listening to the speech and/or performing related classroom activities.
I hope that, if local school systems allow for any of the activities recommended by the US Department of Education to be implemented, no indoctrination or invasion of student privacy will occur.
I believe what may well have started as a good intention by the President is still a potentially dangerous precedent for American education.
State School Board, District 2
Betty Peters has a website, Eye on Education.