By Calvin Palmer
A Texas school district that banned President Obama’s live broadcast on education from classrooms is planning to send selected students to hear former President George W. Bush give a similar message on a school day.
Arlington Independent School District, located between Dallas and Fort Worth, feared that Obama’s speech would indoctrinate schoolchildren but is more than happy to bus selected fifth graders to the Dallas Cowboys stadium, in Arlington, on September 21, to hear the former president.
Bush and his wife, Laura, will appear alongside legendary Dallas Cowboys players and north Texas business leaders in “the largest youth-education program in Super Bowl history”. Invited students will get free lunches and a t-shirt.
And hopefully first-hand experience of the adage that there is no such thing as a free lunch.
The school district’s double standards do not sit comfortably with the pastor of the Cornerstone Baptist Church in Arlington, Dwight McKissic.
“Why is it appropriate for students to hear from former President Bush but inappropriate for the current president to address students while they remain on school campuses?” McKissic asked.
“Why is President Obama’s message considered to be an intrusion on the school day, a disruptive and unplanned class activity, a message ‘not deemed appropriate’ for students to hear or a message regarded as ‘something students should not be exposed to?’ Yet it is accepted as an appropriate message for students to hear from unnamed Dallas Cowboys, business and community leaders.”
McKissic said students and the public “deserve and need to have these differences explained”. He said the double standard reveals “obvious duplicity” in the district’s decision making.
The former Mayor of Dallas, Ron Kirk, now a member of President Obama’s cabinet best summed it up when he spoke to reporters about the controversy surrounding the TV broadcast.
“I’m befuddled,” Kirk said. “There are few moments in my life when I’m embarrassed to say I’m from Texas. This is one of them.”
All of which brings to mind the Stealers Wheel lyrics: “Clowns to the left of me, jokers to the right, here I am stuck in the middle with you.”