Feeling the Obama Love

, Bethany Stotts, Leave a comment

Is there an Obamania epidemic in America’s public schools? John Nolte, editor in chief at Big Hollywood, writes that 11 uncovered videos of students praising President Obama were recently “dropped in our email box;” he describes public school demonstrations of affection (psdas) for the President as an educational epidemic.

“What seemed like an aberration now appears to be a troubling pattern,” he writes.

The 11 videos, one of has since been removed from YouTube, mostly feature students from High School down through kindergarten performing rap, music videos and other performances in praise of Barack Obama. What is more disturbing is that, according some video descriptions, several assignments were designed by or required by the kids’ teachers.

For example, one video description states: “The 7th grade students followed the 2008 presidential election in several of their classes this term. Concluding the election the students were asked to make video segments based on the popular Obama music video, Yes We Can, by musician Will.i.am…” (emphasis added).

Students from Giffen Memorial Elementary (GME) wrote a pro-Obama rap performed in school on February 12, 2009; Nolte connects this video with a later performance by students who wrote a Barack Obama song “with their classmates,” but the second performance doesn’t appear to take place on school property. The blurb for the latter states: “This is a group of 5th and 6th grade students from Giffen Elementary School performing the Barack Obama song they wrote with their classmates. It is being performed at a function of the Association of Teaching Artists held at the Albany Institute of History and Art.”

It turns out that Nolte’s GME videos are just the tip of the iceberg for the Obama love shown by the City School District of Albany, which oversees this and other schools. According to the District’s Education Board minutes from January and February, the school district appears to have centrally coordinated, if not managed, a district-wide celebration of President Obama’s inauguration. “On Tuesday, January 20, 2009, the inauguration of Barack Obama will be celebrated in all of the District’s school communities,” states the former document.

An essay (pdf) by student June Criscione written for The Myers Chronicle (a publication of the Stephen & Harriet Myers Middle School) might give readers a hint as to the political flavor of these celebrations: “On Tuesday, January 20, 2009, the United States—and the world—were marked by an event of great proportions. On that day, the world had its eyes on a man who promises to bring change to the White House: Barack Obama.,” Criscione rapturously writes. She continues,

“‘A whispered chant of “O-bam-a, O-bam-a,’ filled the auditorium of Myers. The excitement was heavy in the air as we watched assorted dignitaries file into their seats at the inauguration of the 44th president of the United States of America. We were waiting for one man to walk through those doors. We clapped and cheered in unison to the thousands of people gathered around the capitol when Obama walked slowly and solemnly to his seat in the front row…

“Some people are still prejudiced against others because the color of their skin—but they are a minority. Obama is a change we can believe in…

“‘My-ers !’ Mrs. Wilkins yelled at the end of the inauguration.

‘My-ers !’ We all yelled back.

‘O-bam-a !’ called Mrs. Wilkins.

‘O-bam-a !’ we all screamed back, so hard that our throats burned.”

Mrs. Kimberly Wilkins is the Myers school principal. The next page of the newsletter features an “Obama collage” and the front page banner, designed by Ms. Robin McKenna, features a picture of Obama bookmarked by two pink hearts.

Also in February, Albany High School (AHS) students heard about the importance of President Obama’s election from a local candidate and Obama Delegate to the Democratic National Convention. For Black History Month, students there “sang the Negro National Anthem, which was followed by other musical numbers by the school’s Jazz Ensemble and Gospel Choir…In addition, Albany Common Council member and mayoral candidate Corey Ellis spoke to students about the importance of Barack Obama’s election,states the website. Then- AHS Principal Maxine Fantroy-Ford recently returned to GME for the 2009-10 year.

On a related note, Dreams from My Father was apparently required summer reading (pdf) for at least one 11th Grade Honors course in this district.

North Albany Academy (NAA) replayed clips of “President Obama’s speech about school requirements, expectations and goals” at their September 11th pre-K-thru-8th-grade-pep rally.

A few of the more disturbing videos posted at Big Hollywood are embedded below. District-wide information on this year’s inauguration activities can be seen on the district website, as can photos of the celebration.

Bethany Stotts is a staff writer at Accuracy in Academia.

It turns out that Nolte’s GME videos are just the tip of the iceberg for the Obama love shown by the City School District of Albany, which oversees this and other schools

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