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« Blago Loses Genson As Impeachment Attorney Chicago's "Vital Signs" January 2009 »

Democrats Sun Jan 18 2009

An Open Letter to the Children of the Homeland

Given all the givens, that open letter President-elect Obama wrote "to his daughters" was at best strange, and at worst ridiculous.

This may seem nit-picky, but doesn't he live with his daughters? And haven't we heard that the First Parents want to shield their young girls from overmuch media scrutiny? So how does publishing a cloying, effusive and vague letter "to his daughters," in a magazine called Parade nonetheless, make sense?

The First Family by all appearances are a model family, but enough already.

The letter itself is beautifully written but filled with meaningless cliches and purposeful ambiguities. I know it's supposed to be a proxy letter meant to actually go to ALL of America's children, but what is the point of writing a high-profile open letter without a clear purpose besides "I want children to succeed?"

I want all our children to go to schools worthy of their potential--schools that challenge them, inspire them, and instill in them a sense of wonder about the world around them. I want them to have the chance to go to college--even if their parents aren't rich. And I want them to get good jobs: jobs that pay well and give them benefits like health care, jobs that let them spend time with their own kids and retire with dignity. I want us to push the boundaries of discovery so that you'll live to see new technologies and inventions that improve our lives and make our planet cleaner and safer.

Thanks, National Dad! This is nothing that any politician wouldn't express, if not so eloquently.

If the President-elect wanted to write an open letter to the nation's children (doesn't seem so sweet when you put it that way) he should have done so. Malia and Sasha are included in that set. The obvious love of the Obama family for one another is a great national example, and we should be thankful for that. But given a choice between no eloquent open letters to family members or even more of an intrusive celebrity culture in politics, I'd nix the epistles in a minute.

 
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Kenzo ShibataAuthor Profile Page / January 19, 2009 1:56 PM

OK, Mr. President-Elect. You are not longer running for President. Tomorrow, you will be sworn in as Commander-in-Chief. Could you please let us in on what your next steps will be in regards to education policy? This isn't counter-terrorism policy, you don't have to keep it classified. Regardless of the level of constituent input you will take into consideration, we need need to know the direction you are taking.

Your letter to your daughters is ambiguous. You want good schools? Are you the first to say that? What do you mean by "schools worthy of their potential"? You've come out in favor of charters and merit pay schemes, but what does your ideal school look like? What do you want to see as far as resources, funding, community input? The campaign was a resume, where ambiguities behooved your numbers, but you are starting a job tomorrow, and the nation as your boss wants to see a full report on its desk first thing tomorrow.

You write "our children" deserve these great schools. The person you nominated as Secretary of Education oversaw the 600+ schools that were not good enough for your own children. I understand that you want the best for your children and that the Chicago Public Schools are severely underresourced, but where was the CEO to provide a "choice model" that fit your daughters' needs?

In nominating Duncan, you imply that the Chicago model of Education is good enough for the nation. Student Strip-searches, overcrowded classrooms, and a complete lack of community input are the acceptable unintended consequences of "good policy?"

President-Elect, I implore you to question the policy preferences made by Mr. Duncan and work towards the goal that all schools in the nation will be good enough for your own children.

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It's now been 11 days since the carbon monoxide leak which sent over 80 Prussing Elementary School students and staff to the hospital. While officials from Chicago Public Schools have partially answered some questions, and CPS CEO Forrest Claypool has informed that he will be visiting the school to field more questions on Nov. 16, many parents remain irate at the CPS response to date. More...

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