I pledge a leeches

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For those of you with kids in public schools, you already know that this fall semester brought with it a new unfunded mandate to classrooms everywhere: reciting the pledge of allegiance. As with most ill-conceived legislative action, this half-baked law comes with a swirl of unintended consquences, some of which are reported in today's News and Observer story by Todd Silberman.

A new state law requiring schools to schedule time each day for students to recite the pledge has revived a tradition right out of a Norman Rockwell painting. But some schools are scrambling to complete that picture by finding flags for every classroom, and some students are questioning the value of a daily repetition as an act of patriotism. Teachers in some schools were unprepared for the change and unsure of what directions to give students.

"We've been pledging to the flag even without the flags," said Tom Humble, principal of Raleigh Charter High School, whose students began saying the pledge on the first day of classes, Aug. 16.

Humble said some teachers had put up pictures of the flag, and at least one downloaded an image onto his computer. The school ordered flags and hardware, at a cost of $623, for each of the school's 30 classrooms.

Hmmm. Let's see now. North Carolina has 2333 public schools. Assuming a low estimate of $500 per school, that rolls up to $1,169,000 to be spent on American flags. In an environment where some schools don't even have basic technology for learning, this seems pretty damn stupid.

Silberman did some good interviewing for the story and even found a few bright students who actually said what they think. Here's my favorite.

I'm a camp counselor, and I say it every day when we raise and lower the flag. But in a public school, it seems like a colossal waste of resources and time. This is a law that it seems to me was passed with the intent of elected representatives gaining political capital.'

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This kid's smarter than all the patriotic panderers in the North Carolina legislature put together.


A -

My wife had to buy a flag for her classroom, because the school didn't have any. The school has on order 60 flags...She'll find out the total cost next week. Also, did you know that a new state law requires that the American and State flags must be displayed in all classrooms. So, you may actually be looking at $1000 per school on flags.

It's a good thing that the school doesn't have anything better to spend on...Like text books (my wife's class doesn't have enough, so they have to share) or computers (my wife's classroom has two PCs (to support 20 kids AND herself) or school supplies (we spend about $750 to $1000 a year).

Thomas S. Brock



What have YOU done today to make the world a better place?

I hope she'll write this up

or get you do do it.

I wonder how many flag companies had an invisible hand in this stupid legislation.

Isn't it nice to get confirmation

that you were on track?

As for flags, I wonder how much money the flag production industry gave to the legislature. Also, I wonder if they will be made in China, like so many flags these days. If we had a New Deal, the legislature would have provided funding to turn an old textile mill into a flag producer. It would have created North Carolina jobs, like the old CCC, at a time when we have none.

Jesus Swept ticked me off. Too short. I loved the characters and then POOF it was over.

Oh, but Robert...

That would make sense! So of course we can't do that. :P

I just read the article

There are some damn bright students in your neck of the woods. Oh My! There are too many good quotes to pick a favorite.

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Vote Democratic! The ass you save may be your own.

Fayetteville Online says it

Fayetteville Online says it better than I ever could:

As a new term begins, some schools and even some school systems are scurrying around, trying to buy, beg or scrounge enough U.S. and North Carolina flags to have a set displayed in every classroom during the ritual recitation of the Pledge of Allegiance.

Ritual? Since when?

Since the General Assembly, in its infinite wisdom, concluded that it isn’t enough to let schools display, and students salute, the flag, or even to “encourage” them to do so, as state law has for some time. No. Flag display must be mandatory, and time for recitation of the pledge must become part of the schools’ routine.

In fact, it is now required that instructional time be set aside for educating students “on the meaning and historical origins of the flag and the Pledge of Allegiance.”

So it has come to pass that students are saluting classroom flags, flags on the other side of brick walls, pictures of flags, flags televised from the school office to classroom monitors and even, in one instance, a computer-generated flag.

And the recitation time is scrupulously set aside at public schools, charter schools, the N.C. School of the Arts and the N.C. School of Science and Mathematics.


It’s not about flags and recitations. It’s about scoring bragging points by pretending that young people need statutes written in order to know how they feel about their homeland. How patriotic is that?

It's a beautiful editorial . . . don't miss it.

But Wait....isn't the pledge a lie!

One nation, under God, Indivisible, with liberty and justice for all.....

Perhaps this line should be edited and add: Indivisible, unless it's politically beneficial....liberty and justice for all who can afford it!

No matter that patriotism is too often the refuge of scoundrels. Dissent, rebellion, and all-around hell-raising remain the true duty of patriots.