Closed doors at the White House
By Beverly M. Klimkowsky
Apparently, following the proper channels is not an effective means of securing a White House visit. For the second year in a row, my colleagues and I tried to arrange a field trip for our Prince George’s County second-graders. We applied six months in advance through the office of Rep. Donna F. Edwards (D-Md.). We were told that the office could not assure us of a visit, but that we would be notified two weeks before the visit.
Two years in a row, we have been notified that we would be unable to bring our students to the White House. This year, we will be visiting the Capitol instead.
Obviously, tremendous changes have occurred in our world since presidents opened the White House to anyone who wanted to come and greet them. The White House still needs to offer hospitality to world leaders and policymakers, but it should also be more open to schoolchildren so they can learn the importance of being active participants in our democracy. Certainly, they are more important visitors than actors, musicians and sports stars.
The election of President Obama enabled me to stand before my African American students and tell them, unequivocally, that they could become anything they wanted to be. Too bad we cannot show them where the president lives or that following the rules is a way to achieve a goal.
The writer teaches at Thomas G. Pullen Arts Focus School.
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