When she is not defending her celebrity climb or building her legacy, the nation’s self-appointed First Food Czarina has re-taken to the American roads and fawning MSM airwaves, on our dime, to take far better care of us and our children than we could ever do by removing that pesky free choice option.
While the news of Michelle Obama’s success in interloping into our mouths and stomachs has been greatly exaggerated, she doubles down on her “anti-obesity” (see: people control) self-promoting campaign.
What better way to make 6000 of Chicago’s public school children eat less than to hold them up for several hours without food or drink while attending a Michelle Obama rally?
A very courageous fifth teacher in the Chicago Public Schools has written a scathing critique of the almost comical misery she and her students endured when they participated in a massive February 28 event kicking off Michelle Obama’s Let’s Move! Active Schools campaign.
The First Lady’s campaign is an effort to improve (and in some cases, bring back) physical education in American schools. White House officials called the event “a groundbreaking, earth-shattering, awesomely-inspiring day.”
Lisa Putnam and her fifth grades most certainly did not experience the event the same way, however. According to Putnam, the event at Chicago’s McCormick Place (the largest convention center in North America) was an unmitigated catastrophe.
In her devastating piece, Putnam explains that she was initially enthusiastic about her and her students’ participation in the kickoff of the Let’s Move! campaign — not least because it offered a chance to let off steam before a grueling battery of standardized tests next week.
However, that enthusiasm waned almost immediately.
Most of the 90-minute trip to the convention center was spent sitting behind all the other busses full of kids staffers had shipped in as props.
As per the request of Michelle Obama and her massive support staff, none of the children brought any food or drinks.
After standing in line for a security check that went reasonably well, it was time to stand in line for t-shirts.
Next was an hour-long line. Students waited to take the various places organizers had planned for them around a stage where they would see the first lady and some famous athletes, including Bo Jackson.
The kids apparently had to stand suring this staged event (adding to the standing they did while waiting in various lines leading upto it)…
When Michelle Obama finally came out, she didn’t face the children.
“She was facing the media,” reports Putnam.
What followed was a bunch of exercising. Recall, though, that the kids were instructed not to bring any food.
“They were dropping like flies,” explains Putnam. “Most of my students were sitting on the ground by the time [pop star] Jordin Sparks started singing.”
“Around 1:30 pm the concert was over,” Putnam relates. “Everyone was corralled back into the very large room we started in and went back to where we were originally waiting. They began calling buses, starting with 1-10. Imagine my thinking when I looked down at my wrist band and saw ‘bus 291.’”
Putnam says she and her students waited some two and a half hours for their bus.
“My students continually came up to me to tell me that they were hungry and ask why this was happening. We teachers feel responsible for our students and there was nothing we could do but wait. We were at the mercy of this poorly run event.”
Ms. Leah Putnam’s full letter below the fold. But how about a little dancing, huh?
By Leah Putnam
5th Grade Teacher
Chicago Public Schools
If you are a parent, imagine that you take your child on a trip and they are very excited. Now imagine they have to wait on a bus and stand in straight lines for three hours straight. Then imagine after one hour of “fun” that they have to sit around and wait for three more hours that bus to pick them up. Oh, did I mention that are not allowed to have a morsel of food the entire time? Now, multiply that by 25 to 35. Sounds fun right?! That’s a little bit what the day was like for CPS students, parents and teachers at the Let’s Move! Campaign.
When offered the chance to participate in the Let’s Move! campaign, I thought it would be a lot of fun and jumped at the chance. After all, my students have been working very hard to prepare for next week’s ISAT test and deserved a to let loose a little. Had I known what this event entailed, I would have definitely taken a pass.
The day began with the buses picking us up from our school. As we arrived at McCormick Place, we passed bus after bus after bus, full of students. Our bus took its place at the end of that line, and we waited for over 45 minutes to reach our destination. I thought the 90 total minutes in a school bus full of children would be the extent of my stress, but I was a bit naive at this point.
As we entered McCormick place we were ushered immediately to metal detectors and our bags were searched. We didn’t bring food or drink as was requested, so the security check went by flawlessly. Then we waited in another line, this time for t-shirts. When my 10 year old students received their XL men’s t-shirts, I did my best to tell them with a straight face that the shirts would shrink and the girls could maybe wear them as a dress.
We were moved to a location in a large concrete room with thousands of children. We were told to keep our students in three straight quiet lines. The students stood there for almost an hour. Then, the students were ushered into a giant room with a stage and told they had to be very quiet, that there was a “surprise in there for them.” 6,000 kids quiet? Good luck guy. As the students went into the room, they were all assigned to stand in different areas. The students framed the stage on three sides and the media was seated on the four side of the rectangular square. As the commercial, I mean event, began each athlete was introduced. They all had a 1-2 minute motivational speech that was so cheesy that none of the athletes really seemed to connect with the students and the messages did not resonate. It seemed like one giant Nike advertisement. Finally, the first lady came out. Although she was stunning and her message was powerful, her back was to the children. She was facing the media. I couldn’t help wondering, who is this event really for? Then I realized my students were just a backdrop to this campaign/commercial.
Finally, the exercise program began. I enjoyed watching Bo Jackson trying to keep up with the squat twists and Rahm Emanuel’s teeny tiny t-shirt. My students were not enjoying it at all. Not because they are not fit, because it was 1 pm (2 hours past their usual lunch time). They were dropping like flies, most of my students were sitting on the ground by the time Jordin Sparks started singing.
Around 1:30 pm the concert was over, everyone was corralled back into the very large room we started in and went back to where we were originally waiting. They began calling buses, starting with 1-10. Imagine my thinking when I looked down at my wrist band and saw “bus 291.” The next two and a half hours broke my heart as my students continually came up to me to tell me that they were hungry and ask why this was happening. We teachers feel responsible for our students and there was nothing we could do but wait. We were at the mercy of this poorly run event. Some students entertained themselves by making their t-shirts into a ball and throwing them around, some laid down on the ground miserably. My pregnant coworker was dehydrated and hadn’t eaten in 10 hours. It was mentally and physically exhausting for every teacher, parent and student stuck at McCormick Place. Many of the parent chaperones had to make various arrangements for their younger students that they could no longer pick up from school. Many of our students are responsible for their younger siblings and our school had to make arrangements for these children. Some of those parents had worked the night before, and had to go back to work when we returned. The after school programs we teach were either cancelled or taken over by other teachers.
At 3:52 we finally departed from McCormick Place, exhausted, deflated, and hungry. This event was clearly not about the children, because their needs were not put first. Politics and big business before children; was this event an eerie foreshadowing of what is to come for education in Chicago?
Well, I guess nobody had an “Obama phone” to call for a pizza and 2 liter bottle of Mt. Dew…