September 23, 2009

IL High School Engages in Obama Speech Indoctrination (UPDATE: Malkin Links, and Another Example)

Filed under: Education,Taxes & Government — Tom @ 1:13 pm

ObamaWorshipTOPSIDE UPDATE: Belated thanks to Michelle Malkin for linking; she has a truly troubling vid at her own post guaranteed to shake up any parent who wants their kids to grow up thinking for themselves.

Michelle also gets a hat tip for linking to a Smart Girl Nation post about a high school teacher’s state-run health care indoctrination. Go to SGN, look at the quiz, and ask yourself, “What do you think the teacher believed is the answer to Question 6? Then compare it to the truth even the apparatchik Associated Press has been forced to acknowledge.


(begin original post)

When Barack Obama made his September 8 speech to America’s schoolchildren, those of us who objected were ridiculed and accused of hypocrisy because Ronald Reagan had given a similar speech in November 1988, even though his successor had already been chosen. Obama’s defenders also conveniently “forgot” that Democrats shrilly objected to a school speech by Bush 41 in 1991, even holding hearings.

Dear Leader’s defenders said, “Hey, this isn’t politics. It’s just a pep talk with no agenda.”

Tell that to the parents of the freshman class at New Trier High School’s frosh-only Northfield Campus. On Friday, September 18, a day already cut short by a planned 12:20 p.m. dismissal, the “Leadership Team” decided to dedicate a 45-minute “extended adviser room” period, accompanied by “follow-up discussions in World History,” to “the significant messages inherent in his (Obama’s) speech.”

Parents were not informed on a timely basis as to what was going to happen, and were given no specific instructions on how to have their child opt out of the “discussions.”

A New Trier parent informed me in an e-mail that at a parent meeting on the evening of Monday, September 14 (bold is mine):

….our Principal, Jan Borja and Assistant Principal Paul Waechtler …. (did not) mention this political ploy, I mean upcoming event. Not a word! …. (Instead) they bravely waited for the cover of our computer screens to let us know their intention (via e-mail). To foist all this on us without mention of opting out only adds further insult to their maneuver.

This means that most parents probably did not learn of the district’s plans until Tuesday evening, giving them all of two business days to mount any kind of objection, thus virtually ensuring that the indoctrination enterprise would come off without a hitch.

Did I say “indoctrination”? Here’s the full text of the Obama-vapored e-mail New Trier sent to frosh parents on Tuesday, September 15 (bolds are mine):

Having watched President Obama’s Speech on Education, the Northfield Leadership Team has decided to take up the teachable moment and to discuss with our freshmen the significant messages inherent in his speech. In our attempt to educate the whole child, we talk often about responsibility, work ethic, creativity, critical thinking, problem solving, goal setting, service learning, commitment, and a safe and respectful learning environment. To hear the President of the United States acknowledge these themes in education enhances what we are teaching at the Northfield campus. We believe that the freshman year is the perfect time to begin these conversations.

On Friday of this week the freshmen will have an extended adviser room of 45 minutes. At that time President Obama’s speech will be shown and a discussion, facilitated by the adviser, will take place. We are excited about creating a safe environment where multiple perspectives can be heard. There will also be follow-up discussions in World History classes on that day.

Possible discussion questions for the students on Friday are:

  • Why do you think President Obama listed the responsibilities of teachers, parents, and the government before discussing your responsibility for your education? What does this highlight for you, the audience?
  • What are you “good at” and what do you have “to offer” your family, friends, and community?
  • What could you do here at New Trier that will help you continue to do these things well?
  • At the beginning of freshman year, it is important to start thinking about what direction your life will take. How do President Obama’s words, “write your own destiny” and “make your own future” apply to you right now?
  • In the speech, President Obama spoke of some of the steps of Effective Effort. Identify them, using direct quotations from the text to support your assertions.
  • Respond to President Obama’s final questions for you: “What’s your contribution going to be? What problems are you going to solve? What discoveries will you make? What will a president who comes here in 20 or 50 or 100 years say about what all of you did for this country?”

Thank you, in advance, for allowing us the opportunity to have these meaningful discussions. We would encourage you to continue these important conversations at home.

Jan Borja, Principal
Paul Waechtler, Assistant Principal

Another parent made the key point in her response to the e-mail that Barack Obama is, or at least should be, irrelevant to what the Leadership Team was supposedly trying to accomplish (bolds are mine):

…. it is with suspicion that I read your intentions to show President Obama’s speech. Is it the message or the messenger you wish to promote? I would agree that the message is a positive one but the messenger need not be a political figure. Why not save the valuable time of viewing the speech, spare yourselves the potential backlash from parents who have concerns regarding the political nature or “big brother” potential of the speeach itself, and focus on the message. It would be quite simple and probably more effective for the students to hear this message in a context more relevant to New Trier students. Have the teachers talk about how lucky the kids are to go to a school and live in a community that does value education. Talk about what their own role in that education might be. Such an approach would also foster a kind of school spirit and connectedness to the educational mission of New Trier.

If it is truly the message you want to impart, it would be very easy to rewrite your discussion questions without introducing Obama, or any political figure, at all. Neither he nor his speech are necessary components to this “teachable” moment you speak of.

As noted earlier, the school day ended at 12:20 p.m., meaning that a large portion of a potential half-day that could have been dedicated to real learning and skill-building was thrown away in the name of barely disguised hero worship.

The above proves that yours truly’s characterization of the speech several weeks ago as indoctrination has been in at least one case proven absolutely correct.

Another question: Who developed the classroom materials and lesson plan? When I briefly spoke with Superintendent Linda Yonke last week, she told me that it was all put together in-house. Though I have no reason to doubt her, I don’t know what would be worse — stealth “suggestions” from a state or federal Department of Education, or a group of teachers so swept away by one man they may never have even met that they would voluntarily steal 90 minutes or so of precious classroom time to promote him.

How many other schools around the country have pulled or plan to pull similar stunts? I would suggest that concerned parents get a binding promise from their school boards that it’s not going to happen — not this fall, not this school year, not ever.

In a separate e-mail I received today, the first New Trier parent makes an important larger point (links added by me):

…. the New Trier example is further proof that we simply can’t turn our backs or let our guard down when we think we have won. Other examples- ACORN – Bertha Lewis responded to Chris Wallace’s question about an “independent auditor” this past Sunday by saying that “You will have that announcement on Monday”. Not happening–we learned Tuesday that they are doing an internal “investigation” with one of their own in charge. Look also to the NEA propaganda quid pro quo story. The White House gets caught, shuffles some employees and the White House said they would review phone protocol, as if the phone was the problem and not the people on the phone!

Major theme: Obama’s Chicago-style, act-with-impunity boldness. Here’s how it goes: 1) Try to get away with as much as possible. 2) When caught, back off and PRETEND to admit the error of your ways. 3) Go right back at it with a new approach when the public attention has moved on to the new scandal de jour.

Given the Obama worship present at “the other NEA” (National Education Association), parents can’t afford to stop paying attention to what their kids are being “taught.” As has been said by generations of authoritarians, “Get ‘em while they’re young.”

Cue the Pink Floyd encore, with revised lyrics:

We don’t need no indoctrination,
We don’t need no thought control,
No forced intrusion into our classrooms,
Obama, leave our kids alone …..
Hey, Obama! Leave our kids alone!
All in all you’re just a guy who’s ruining it all.
All in all you’re just a guy who’s ruining it all.



  1. [...] Tom Blumer reports on how public school officials in Illinois are following up on President Obama’s [...]

    Pingback by Michelle Malkin » Dear Leader in the classroom — September 23, 2009 @ 2:11 pm

  2. This is absolutely unacceptable and is so obviously agenda-driven (under the guise of “leadership”). If government schools cared about “leadership,” they would demand discipline and academic excellence (as rated by the PARENTS and NOT the foxes guarding the henhouses).

    This is why the DOE & NEA want to take away the right to homeschool. There will be none of this crap going on; and regardless of who is sitting in the WH.

    Comment by Rose — September 23, 2009 @ 2:22 pm

  3. Obama….

    The constant lying.
    The childlike weakness.
    The staggering arrogance.
    The dangerous narcissism.
    The astounding incompetence.

    The Obama Buffoon wants to put as much of the private economy under government control as possible to create his nanny state utopia where he is the boy king.

    Let’s continue to stand strong against Obama in every way and get Congress out of the hands of the insane Pelosi and Reid in 2010.

    Obama is a smug, smirking, corrupt con man. Nothing more.

    Comment by Jackson — September 23, 2009 @ 3:22 pm

  4. [...] In High schools, like New Trier in Suburban Chicago – Indoctinators (formerly known as teachers) were busy with taking advantage of “teachable moments” with this: [...]

    Pingback by Obama Youth Indoctrination Continues « Sword At-The-Ready — September 23, 2009 @ 4:50 pm

  5. I am a parent who lives in Winnetka (in the school district of New Trier). I have a 3rd grader who will be a future New Trier student. I’d like to inform everyone that these type of liberal ploys are pervasive in this otherwise predominantly conservative community.

    My son attended Greeley elementary school in Winnetka in first grade. We transferred him out of that school because of the excessive and blatant liberal indoctrination in the school. For example, the Principal of the School Hugebeck changed the school mascot to a Polar Bear. You see,a Polar Bear is a symbol of global warming – a liberal cause.

    Also, if you look at the Greeley website at :

    The school is explicitly proud to mention the hiring of a board member who has run a “progressive charter school” in California. The school also promotes “Greeley Kids Give” another environmental liberal program. The school is also a strong advocate for teachers unions – making sure the unions get hefty pay increases – despite these hard economic times. The school also has a two day conference in the summer sponsored by the Winnetka Summer institute that looks at “shaping progressive practice” in Winnetka. Progressive is just another word for a liberalism.

    I transferred my child out of Greeley to escape the pervasive liberalism. So we moved him to Sacred Heart Catholic School in Winnetka.

    Sacred Heart is a complete 180 turn from Greeley. But even there liberlist indoctrination exist. My childs entire 3rd grade class watched the Obama speech to start the school year. The problem was that the school administration did not inform any parents they they were going to show the speech. In the middle of the day we pulled our child out of school as soon as we found out the speech was going to be shown. We complained to the principal.

    I felt this was a ploy to show the speech without informing parents to at least give them an opt out.

    I applaud the New Trier parents in speaking up and as a parent will reject any kind of political indoctrination in my community.

    Comment by Neil Hernandez — September 23, 2009 @ 9:42 pm

  6. I have an idea. Why don’t we recycle Bush’s or Reagan’s speech and show them at the same time as Obama’s?

    Comment by Ann Weiss — September 23, 2009 @ 10:33 pm

  7. [...] No. 2 comes from BizzyBlog via Michelle Malkin. This is from New Trier, Ill., High School. This e-mail was sent to parents [...]

    Pingback by More Indoctrination In The Classroom « The Underground Conservative — September 23, 2009 @ 11:45 pm

  8. To Mr. Hernandez,

    The Winnetka/New Trier area used to be conservative, once upon a time. Today it’s the home of any number of liberals who have moved from Evanston or Chicago, and promptly set about ‘changing’ their new community. The Emmanuel brothers (Rahm, Ezekial, Ari) grew up nearby in Wilmette, which is where David Axelrod lived too.

    Comment by Boots — September 24, 2009 @ 1:37 am

  9. [...] It’s a bit hard to make out what the kids chanting, but it is clear that they are chanting the President’s name and say that he is number one.  Go here and here to see some bits transcribed.  There was also this "study guide", clearly pushing certain political agenda on kids.  And this. [...]

    Pingback by Are you scared yet? « Conservative Liberal — September 24, 2009 @ 2:54 am

  10. [...] In Illinois, they are being taught to follow Obama unflinchingly. [...]

    Pingback by What did YOUR kids learn today? « American Elephants — September 24, 2009 @ 7:54 am

  11. [...] The views represented do not necessarily represent those of the Chicago Daily Observer.] Bizzy Blog and Michelle Malkin on the freshman campus extended advisory. Good to know there are still a few [...]

    Pingback by New Trier and our Dear Leader | Chicago Daily Observer — September 24, 2009 @ 7:58 am

  12. [...] How about when Obama made his speech to schoolkids on September 8.  Now, while I’m in agreement with Alonzo Rachel over at ZoNation on encouraging parents to let their kids to listen to the President’s speech – and then to think critically about what’s been said and why it was said and what the agenda is of the person saying it, I’m also fully in favor of parents being an informed, integral part of their kids’ education.  Unfortunately, there’s some education industry veterans who disagree and have worked very hard to turn our schools into governme…. [...]

    Pingback by Indoctrination? What Indoctrination? « The Pachyderms Are Annoyed — September 24, 2009 @ 11:20 am

  13. Is the link from SGP for health care speech “quiz” the above New Trier story?

    Comment by jtm — September 24, 2009 @ 12:09 pm

  14. [...] BizzyBlog [...]

    Pingback by Oh really? This isn’t indoctrination in the classrooms? What is? « Lake Minnetonka Liberty 2.0 — September 24, 2009 @ 1:07 pm

  15. #13, unless it’s an incredible coincidence, it’s a different school district.

    The New Trier story covered in this post is at a freshman-only campus of New Trier (IL) school district.

    SGP/SGN has to do with what is presumably a different school district’s HS senior class.

    Comment by TBlumer — September 24, 2009 @ 1:13 pm

  16. Parents, you can take control…

    Complain to admin about what’s already taken place.

    Get students on your side. Conservatism is the new counterculture. Let this blog & comments circulate on Facebook! Circulate the Giles & O’Keefe videos explaining ACORN links to Obummler.

    At upcoming Parent Nights, ask teachers their plans for mentioning Obama or covering politically sensitive topics. If they don’t give you a straight answer, complain.

    Wade into school board politics (if you dare) to demand a policy banning political speech in the public school classroom, just as religious content is banned.

    If things don’t change, YOU CAN SUE YOUR SCHOOL using the argument that exposing your children to political indoctrination constitutes emotional abuse. This has already been done in other school districts.

    Consider sending your kids to Loyola Academy. The brothers don’t do this sort of thing.

    Comment by northshoremom — September 24, 2009 @ 8:37 pm

  17. [...] last week to explore “the significant messages inherent in his speech.” Illinois writer/blogger Tom Blumer reports that “parents were not informed on a timely basis as to what was going to happen, and [...]

    Pingback by Michelle Malkin » The 3 R’s in the Age of Obama: Rappin’, revolution & radicalism — September 25, 2009 @ 3:18 am

  18. [...] [2] [...]

    Pingback by Michelle Breaks it Down — September 25, 2009 @ 9:31 am

  19. [...] BizzyBlog [...]

    Pingback by Indoctrination in the classroom, singing praise to Dear Leader! « Apostle Islands Navigator — September 25, 2009 @ 4:35 pm

  20. I am a parent who has a child in Northfield (part of the New Trier school district). This type of liberalism is pulled over parents shoulders all the time. President Obamas new Department of Education Arne Duncan used to lead the Chicago Public Schools, one of the largest school systems in the US.

    Excessive liberalism is explicitly implemented in the CPS. The CPS does such things as promote civic activism, holds free Community Organizing classes, gives extravangant projects to Unions, gives contracts for green initiatives in teh schools, gives free breakfast to everyone regardless of income, promtoes trips for “Little Obamas”, and even tolerates Obama Material published outside of their schools.

    For more exposure of this type of liberalism. See the following articles:

    The articles are leaned towards sports. It is just a tip of the iceberg of the liberalism that is pervasive in the CPS. The principal in the mm, mm, mm video has never apoligized for the content of the video , he is just unhappy that it got exposed.

    It is time to expose the excessive liberal indoctrination in schools.

    - Neilski

    Comment by Neil Hernandez — September 25, 2009 @ 10:02 pm

  21. [...] speech that had the Michelle Malkins of the world in a froth. As even some conservatives have grudgingly acknowledged, a similar sort of speech by Reagan in 1988  went unchallenged by the lot of them. As well it [...]

    Pingback by Indoctrinations | WordInEdgewise NEW — September 25, 2009 @ 10:36 pm

  22. The point made over and over by those ridiculing the parents having a problem with their children watching Obama’s speech on education was that conservative parents were making a big deal over a harmless message that simply stressed the importance of education and staying in school. I can’t figure out how such a simple message could possibly generate much discussion at all, let alone the comprehensive lesson plan to be implemented by New Trier. There are no “multiple perspectives” to be heard. Who’s going to disagree with a message that stresses the importance of education? Yes, we need to be ever vigilant–in addition to wanting to ban home schooling, it is intersting that Obama is now proposing that 3 hours be added to the school day [7:30 a.m. to 5:00 p.m.], and that school be in session every other Saturday–as well as cutting summer vacation by three weeks. His rationale for doing so is weak and does not justify such a proposal–could it be that there is a hidden agenda behind the proposal? Of course there is.

    Comment by Cynthia Reed — September 28, 2009 @ 2:13 pm

  23. #22, thx for the comment. Of course O’s name didn’t have to be involved in delivering the message, and yes, I wonder who would have said, “I’m on the side of quitting now.”

    The longer school day proposals are a sop to the teachers’ NEA, and yet another power grab by the government for control of the hearts and minds of kids. There’s plenty of time to learn already and a wealth of tools that should make it easier, yet our kids are demonstrably less knowledgeable, informed, and possessed of critical thinking skills than kids were 50 years ago.

    Comment by TBlumer — September 28, 2009 @ 3:28 pm

  24. Yeah … we don’t need no stinking education. When President Obama hired Clinton-era players, he didn’t just signal a failure to grasp the fundamental lesson of that administration: loss of trust. Take Barack Obama’s CIA director, “nice, quiet, civilized” Leon E. Panetta. Bill Clinton’s White House chief of staff. California State University – Monterey Bay’s patron saint. And, founder of the Panetta Institute for Public Policy. Leon Panetta, who flew back to Monterey at the height of the Monica Lewinsky scandal and announced to the CSU: “There has been a stalker in the White House. It was frightening.” Thanks to some rather adroit media manipulation, students heard only Panetta’s accusations, but learned nothing of Monica’s exculpatory blue dress from local KSBW TV News. Panetta controlled the school’s cable TV, from which even CNN disappeared. Fox News would never be an option. Panetta who, from his publicly-funded political institute opposed George W. Bush’s Homeland Security reorganization, and the detention of enemy combatants at Guantánamo Bay.

    When Leon Panetta denounced the “Bush Doctrine” form his Panetta Institute, located squarely on the former US Army Fort Ord, where both his so-called “think tank CSU,” and his namesake institute are located, it was Memorial Day 2002. So, Panetta told the national television audience he was located in Salinas, Calif. instead. Conspicuously absent from the CSU bookstore, and its own well-stocked tax-funded oppression studies library: any textbook by a Caucasian author. (The text, Jihad vs. McWorld, by Clinton advisor Benjamin Barber, where tribalism and globalism collide, however was allowed. The Green Movement adage: Think globally, act locally, best sums up the book, says Barber.) Panetta even used KSBW News to deflect Gary Condit’s detractors during the Chandra Levy disappearance. Remember Fox News commentator Barbara Olson? Flight 77? Perhaps not coincidentally, Panetta’s CSU opened its doors on 23 August: Italian anarchists Sacco & Vanzetti Memorial Day. Massachusetts Governor Michael Dukakis pardoned the Sicilians posthumously 23 August 1977, making the 23rd official. How the US Department of Education helped the Clintons “build a community,” and how the Western Association of Schools & Colleges conspired to accredit the “experiment,” thus granting these Alinskyites a license to steal my tuition money and your tax-dollar, is yet a story in itself.

    Saul D. Alinsky, among other things, was a clotheshorse who often donned a fedora. Louis Farrakhan always appears nattily attired. Al Capone’s official mug shot features “Big Al” in a three-piece suit. People tend to give Panetta a pass, if only because he wears a necktie. Interestingly, Panetta began his political career as a Republican. Panetta switched to the DNC because in his words, “They had a bigger tent.” Far from Illinois, Saul Alinsky passed away in 1972, in bucolic Carmel Valley, Sicilian Panetta’s fabled 17th congressional district. I ran afoul of Panetta; while out trying to appease the radical professors, hate mongers and race baiters, he’d hired to inculcate Marxist philosophy into our daily lives. Personnel may be policy, but Panetta’s curriculum was straight out of Chicago. Anyway, the far-Left’s enforcer-in-chief would surreptitiously slip into my on-campus residence and replace my showerhead with a stingy water-conserving device. In like manner, my wall-mounted fire extinguisher vanished shortly thereafter. Gone without a trace. But “social justice” and “sustainability 101” were just getting under way at this full-blown criminal enterprise, and things were about to get worse. Much worse:

    Comment by Peggy McGilligan — September 29, 2009 @ 9:32 pm

RSS feed for comments on this post.

Sorry, the comment form is closed at this time.