Let’s Move! Disaster

3 Mar


I need to preface this by saying I’ve always liked the First Lady.  From the “Secret Whitey Tape” to flat out racist comments about her appearance, she’s endured a lot that nobody should have to.  I also believed if reports that she couldn’t stand Rahm Emanuel were correct, we had something in common.  With that said, the treatment of school children by people who should know better is really appalling:

Let’s Move! Disaster

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?

71 Responses to “Let’s Move! Disaster”

  1. CitizensArrest March 3, 2013 at 6:54 pm #

    To add further injury to this insult, all the buses that were used for this debacle were very late getting back to the schools that are normally served by them, in most cases to the tune of 1 1/2 hours late or more. Bus kids were stranded as parents scrambled to get them home. You’d think that at least one of the fools who put this “commercial” together would have thought to at least supply water for the kids and their teachers, but no, then they woulds have had to let them use the restrooms too.

    • BoyzDad March 4, 2013 at 6:10 pm #

      Even further injury to insult, my sons basketball team had their first playoff game and the bus never showed to pick up the team because their assigned bus was still occupied by the Let’s Move Disaster! kids and parents had to scramble to coordinate getting the team to the game, and they ended up getting their late, and they had two back-to-back games, at different schools that day!

      Clearly, the focus of polical PR was the focus, while our children lost time in the classroom, held hostage wothout food, and left there after school activies in chaos!

      …and what’s even more troubling is that there is no citywide uproar from the press or mass media outlets.

      • CJ March 10, 2013 at 8:48 pm #

        You think the media would ever paint the obama’s bad? Yea right. your dreaming. Which is why we are in the mess we are in now. Main stream media a part of the problem

      • caligirlmania March 11, 2013 at 6:07 am #

        This is an look into what we can continue to expect with this crowd.

    • Ellie Lantz March 5, 2013 at 7:22 pm #

      I hope your school district’s administrator and other officials, including teachers have the good sense to write the White House and the people in charge of this horrible event to let them know how the schools, parents, and the children were treated. It is disgraceful and you all deserve an apology at the very least.

      • Micki March 11, 2013 at 12:57 am #

        Surely you are kidding. What good would that do?

  2. Michael Fegan March 4, 2013 at 3:40 pm #

    Just another CPS, Rahm, Obama SNAFU.

  3. Jayne March 4, 2013 at 5:13 pm #

    I do not envy your trip. Your story is getting around the internet today. Hope there is no unnecessary backlash from the hard-core Obama supporters. 😦

    Good luck with the ISAT’s! 😉

  4. kishke March 4, 2013 at 8:46 pm #

    So, you still love Michelle?

  5. John W. March 5, 2013 at 1:54 am #

    If Ms. Putnam is as wise as she seems to be, she’ll clue her students in to the need to run as fast as they can when they here “…we’re the government, and we’re here to help you.”

    • CMJ March 5, 2013 at 5:30 am #

      Maybee sheel teech them how too spell to?…

      This isn’t about the Obamas. It’s about someone effing-up event coordination. Go wring their necks. This was an eggregious failure on someone’s part, and they need their ass kicked.

      • Deanna Woods March 5, 2013 at 9:02 pm #

        I agree with you. This event is not something that FLOTUS plans; it’s more like something administrators without the experience or training for it would plan. As someone who has been in teaching for almost 4 decades, I can tell you that the powers-that-be involved in Chicago were not ready to take on this project in such a magnitude and therefore shouldn’t have.

      • Ellie Lantz March 6, 2013 at 2:30 pm #

        I’m sure the Obama’s were not aware of the hideous arrangements of this event, however, they are responsible for the people hired to run such campaigns. If they want to protect their reputations then they need to make sure only the best and most caring individuals are out there to represent them, especially where the nations children are being used as props for an event.

      • voorheesmark953 March 6, 2013 at 5:16 pm #

        She is totally in control ! if it isn’t all about her she will have their heads on a platter she is an arrogant power hungry seething racist I am ashamed of this country she and her faggot husband hate white people and will soon be turning the military loose to start liquidating them that’s what communists do that’s all they do!!!

      • voorheesmark953 March 6, 2013 at 5:29 pm #

        She is totally in control ! if it isn’t all about her she will have their heads on a platter she is an arrogant power hungry seething racist I am ashamed of this country she and her faggot husband hate white people and will soon be turning the military loose to start liquidating them that’s what communists do that’s all they do!!! Obama is maneuvering to be a dictator there exist at least 46 concentration camps in this country the one in Alaska is a death

      • marytoo March 6, 2013 at 3:22 pm #

        Ellie, the Obamas never seem to be aware of anything. I can’t count the times I have heard the excuse that they did not know anything about it. Given their resources and their position and all, it looks to me like they could be a little more aware and in control of what happens on their watch.

      • Deanna Woods March 6, 2013 at 4:47 pm #

        In response to one comment stating that the Obama administration hired the organizers — that’s highly unlikely. This setup involved people not paid by the Obama administration. It has the ring of someone in education who had good intentions but not the time nor the training to put this together well. Teacher training and administrator training doesn’t include skill-building in things like this.

      • nancy March 10, 2013 at 11:03 pm #

        They were children and she couldn’t even turn to
        TALK to them…The cameras were more important..she is an IDIOT>>>!!Along with the staff that set this charade up at the expense of a lot of people!!!!

  6. Down2Earth March 5, 2013 at 2:21 am #

    It’s not fun being a prop….

  7. leuvenmom March 5, 2013 at 5:26 am #

    Thanks for being brave enough to tell it straight. That was horrific. Glad you shared it.

  8. retiredbutmissthekids March 5, 2013 at 7:35 am #

    I sent this to Diane Ravitch–would love to see it in her blog! How sad that the children could not even be provided a bottle of water, let alone lunch. How healthy is that?!

  9. sarainitaly March 5, 2013 at 2:16 pm #

    “she’s endured a lot that nobody should have to”

    Perhaps a lot of her critics were just already aware of the attitudes/bahviors that you experienced here….

    • cps299 March 5, 2013 at 2:25 pm #

      No, I don’t believe so. I don’t think making fun of somebody for being fat or stupid or ugly has anything to do with poor event coordination that was probably 60% CPS, 30% her people and 10% Secret Service.

      • Wynn Forrester March 11, 2013 at 12:53 am #

        Bottom line, it was on HER watch, so regardless of how many possible excuses that can be made, it was still her responsibility. We don’t get to take the benefits and slack of on the responsibilities of our positions. Unfortunately, all too often, people are making excuses for the 0bamas. Excuses don’t nullify facts.

    • voorheesmark953 March 5, 2013 at 5:52 pm #

      the obamas are a cia arranged marriage they are communists obama is a full throttle homosexual he is not bi-sexual those children are not even his this is nothing more than a UN occupation government UN is communist they are now training soldiers on military bases in this country to deploy (kill) against us

      • cps299 March 6, 2013 at 2:14 am #

        I rest my case

      • Tammy March 6, 2013 at 3:26 am #

        I can’t stand the Obamas, but to say those kids aren’t his is ridiculous. The oldest child looks just like him.

      • Deanna Woods March 6, 2013 at 4:55 pm #

        If you believe things like this, what did you believe about the other presidents? Fact-checking by all sorts of reliable sources don’t back up any of what you’re contending. Birtherism has been shot down by the courts and other resources from both conservatives and liberals as well, along with similar contentions that Sandy Hook was staged. In all due respect, your comment isn’t as helpful as some others. American education needs a focus on problems in order to find solutions. A single event like this doesn’t destroy America or even these children’s total education, but the mistakes made with this event can be avoided in the future if we work to understand what went wrong and how to prevent such mistakes in the future.

      • voorheesmark953 March 6, 2013 at 5:55 pm #

        That birth certificate is a complete forgery and the people who were hired to produce it have been liquidated you will soon find out the true horror that is communism this federal government is completely evil Bush was behind 9/11 his father is a pedophile and was CIA director under Ford W is also gay Obama is even worse he and his seething wife are CIA THIS IS AN OCCUPATION GOVT ADMINISTERED BY THE UN WHICH IS THE SPAWN OF THE INTERNATIONAL COMMUNIST BANKING CARTEL IN THEIR OEN DOCUMENTS THEY PLAINLY STATE IT IS THEIR GOAL TO REDUCE THE POPULATION OF THIS PLANET TO 500 MILLION

      • Michael Thomas March 11, 2013 at 2:52 pm #

        Someone needs to investigate voorheesmark953….clearly a NUTCASE with several screws loose! I can’t stand the Obamas and have a problem with BIG Government but this guy needs serious help!!!!!!

  10. ConcernedObserver312 March 5, 2013 at 3:29 pm #

    DNA Info is looking for more stories from teachers/students who were at this event. Email LSchiffman@DNAInfo.com

    • voorheesmark953 March 6, 2013 at 8:33 am #

      jdamsforallGo to hillbuzz.com he is a very staunch supporter of Hillary he is black and he is gay , if you care to know the truth regarding this present dictator occupying 1600 Pennsylvania ; go to Atlah.org; go to infowars.com; also skolnick’stepper.com

      • voorheesmark953 March 6, 2013 at 8:35 am #

        ….skolnick’s report.com…

      • voorheesmark953 March 6, 2013 at 5:41 pm #

        Obamas birth cirtificate is a complete forgery Bush was behind ,9/11 watch a video called in plane sight and also 9/11 CIA Lady you will never again doubt the towers were not brought down but jet fuel those jets were miltary and radio controlled the towers were brought down by massive thetmite charges it was a pyroclastic flow just like a volcano thatscwhy there was so much smoke!!!! That’s called pyroclasm its the burning of rock and steel Bush ordered this to be done Obama is even worse he is funding al-Qaida al-Qaida is CIA WE ARE BEING REDUCED UNDER DESPOTISM THE FED IS COMMUNIST

  11. Caroline Strasser March 5, 2013 at 4:46 pm #

    Lisa will be audited by the IRS. Or worse. Keep an eye on her, he school, and her family.

    • KBB March 8, 2013 at 6:29 am #

      March 6, 2013 at 7:46 am#

      Lisa may be knocked off execution style, just like Lieutenant Quarles Harris Jr was…or Donald Young was.

      Your comment is awaiting moderation.

      • cps299 March 8, 2013 at 3:24 pm #

        I think the fact her name isn’t Lisa may offer her some protection.

  12. Eyagee March 6, 2013 at 2:59 pm #

    We need a ‘like this post’ button AS WELL AS ‘don’t like what happened to people in this posts” button 🙂

  13. conner43 March 6, 2013 at 7:32 pm #

    This post should be mailed to all school administrators. If asked to participate in an ‘event’, they should politely refuse. At last count, MO had 27 handmaidens, why didn’t a few of them coordinate this fiasco ? Then again, since most of them were hired for their ‘diversity’, maybe they did.
    I too, have seen Big Mo in person, I guess it was before she became ‘stunning’. Whoever said those with enough time and money can’t buy whatever they want ?

  14. Faye Fazekas March 7, 2013 at 2:35 pm #

    Are there no pics of this horrific
    event, or did they not allow cameras
    either? I happen to believe this story,
    but many people have problems with
    accepting the fact that Michelle
    Obama is capable of this or the story
    referencing her taking veterans from
    Walter Reed Hospital, using them as
    photo props, instead of her just going
    to the hospital. The pics posted show
    amputees, but none seemed be be
    on IVs. I would like to answer these
    doubters with proof.

  15. Louise Brenn March 7, 2013 at 3:03 pm #

    Another thought. See how easily you, parents and children were rounded up for the governments propaganda. Sad that people can be so easily rounded up. Beware, this has happened before in past history.

    • Wynn Forrester March 11, 2013 at 12:57 am #

      My thoughts exactly. Very disconcerting.

  16. Jim Coggins March 10, 2013 at 8:43 pm #

    they got just what they voted for…too bad they had low/ no information to go on…

    • Vonnise Cobb March 10, 2013 at 10:34 pm #

      Jim Coggins, this site needs a ‘like’ button. I feel the same way that you do. Except, they DID have ‘information to go on’ before they voted for this debacle. They just refused to hear and see it. It gives me great pleasure to see them reap what they sowed now.

  17. A Shelton March 10, 2013 at 8:46 pm #

    Hmmm…this is in Chicago, home of the Democratic party? Didn’t most of these same teachers (unions) and these students’ parents vote for the Obamas? And now you’re seeing reality? Too bad, it’s too late, and we are stuck with them for another four years.

  18. Sarandipity March 10, 2013 at 8:48 pm #

    And this is the woman this administration wants to dictate what our kids eat or don’t eat in school?? There is absolutely no reason for this, children should not be forced to be a political (and hypocritical) backdrop, ever. I am not an admirer of Mrs. Obama, and this just confirmed that my instincts about her are correct.

  19. Carolyn VanZorge March 10, 2013 at 9:01 pm #

    why did the nitwit parents even allow their children to participate in this?? and btw – i am assuming that the children missed a day of school lessons in order to be “used” by wig-head moochie

  20. P. Breneman March 10, 2013 at 9:29 pm #

    Mrs. Obama should be ashamed of herself for putting all of these studends , teachers and chaperones thru such a nightmare just to make herself look good and to keep people bamboozled into thinking that her husband is what this country needs. where was her interest in what these children needed? SHAME ON YOU!!

  21. LorBear March 10, 2013 at 10:33 pm #

    Wow. Seems like a pretty crappy day was had by all. Just a question, though. When you signed up for this event, did it say anywhere that lunch would be provided? Isn’t that a question you should have asked, being that you’re in charge of 25-30 10 year old children? Did it occur to anyone that when the event said “do not bring food”, that meant that food should not have been brought into the event? Why didn’t anyone think of brown bagging it? I’m not attacking you, but as a parent of a 6 year old, I would expect the TEACHER to have ALL the information PRIOR to going to the event. As a parent, I feel the TEACHER is responsible for my child on a field trip. Easy as it may be to blame the event, or the FLOTUS, you cannot absolve yourself from responsibility. As far as how the event was run, or the fact that the T-shirts were not the proper size, etc., that is a problem with the event, not the teacher. Let’s try to put responsibility where it belongs. We have enough problems right now in this country with leaders not taking responsibility for their own actions. Let’s not show our students that passing the blame is acceptable behavior.

    • Leah March 13, 2013 at 10:59 pm #

      We did bring brown bag lunches. We left them on the bus as requested. That was the problem. The buses were kept at US Cellular Field until called, ten at a time. Our bus, along with our lunches, arrived at 4 p.m.
      Btw, you might want to get your keyboard fixed, it looks like your caps button is broken.

  22. Urban Mom March 10, 2013 at 11:04 pm #

    $20 says that Ms. Putnam does not get a “proficient” rating on her next observation evaluation. Another $20 says the CTU will not help her when she gets axed by her school.

    • cps299 March 10, 2013 at 11:24 pm #

      Yes, because CTU is just so buddy buddy with the Democratic party in Chicago and Rahm Emanuel. As for her evaluation, this is exactly why tenure is important.

    • JK March 12, 2013 at 7:26 pm #

      I applaud her for speaking up. She may come and work in our school. We need more educators who are willing to speak the truth.

  23. McMaster K March 11, 2013 at 12:45 am #

    Cut the crap with “Michelle Obama didn’t arrange this”. Of course she didn’t . But with her “vast expertise” of children and her emphasis on them, she missed some pretty serious flaws when they met to review the event, and during the rehearsal phase (you know there were a minimum of 2 rehearsals). to the person naïve enough to post “where did it say they would be provided lunch?” – Read the letter. No food or drink allowed. The Dog and Pony shows for this administration are turning the Presidency into American Idol meets X Factor and Wipeout. Let’s bring up the Sequester. NO MORE WHITE HOUSE TOURS. But let’s plan a grand Gala for Michelle Obama’s 50th Birthday. AMERICA – WAKE THE HELL UP.

  24. danny March 11, 2013 at 2:53 am #

    Now that these teachers have seen what kind of a person the first lady is, has thier opinion of her changed? Do they see that she is not a good person. Both her and the president use people without thier regard to them as people.

  25. KC March 11, 2013 at 3:00 am #

    This was a practice run for when FEMA camps are in place. The obamas are the most evil people on this planet. I pray for the day that scumbag is impeached!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  26. Doc Kimble March 11, 2013 at 5:38 am #

    The War on Poverty is over. Poverty won. Surrender immediately or things will go very badly for you. You are being watched 24/7. Line up in the street immediately in single file. NO TALKING ! You will be given orders that you must follow to the letter. Failure to follow orders will not be taken lightly. You have your instructions. No exceptions!
    Michelle Obama is now in charge.
    That is all.

  27. Joe Mellon March 11, 2013 at 1:16 pm #

    And now you know,,,and knowing is half the battle…GI JOE!!!

  28. Char Girardi March 11, 2013 at 3:42 pm #

    FLOTUS NOT respsonsible???? I’m calling BS! SHE decides the stage for her appearances, NOT some assistant. She just pulled on YOUR children what her husband did with the “child backdrop” he used for his “anti-gun” law. Seriously? Get your heads on straight! She USED YOUR CHILDREN for a program she doesn’t even PARTAKE in! It’s all a fake. She HAS to do create a healthy program as FLOTUS for children. She just USED yours!

    • Cathy Sarah March 11, 2013 at 11:58 pm #

      She has anywhere from 15 to almost 30 AIDES and ASSISTANTS. Not one of of them could have made sure the children had a bottle of water (specifically since the instructions told the teachers “do not bring food or drink.” Just what the heck do they do all day? Someone was in charge of this event.
      If you’re going to USE kids for your propaganda, don’t ABUSE them as well.

  29. Linda Palmiter March 11, 2013 at 10:57 pm #

    Proof positive the Dept of Common Sense has been closed due to budget constraints!

  30. QueenWemo April 3, 2013 at 6:44 pm #

    Honestly people, give her a break! If the kids were hungry they should’ve just eaten cake!

  31. Fraudcop May 14, 2013 at 12:05 am #

    Not to worry, the first lady is healing nicely from injuries to her arm patting herself on the back over the success of this momentus get together with the kids of Chicago.


  1. Let The Testing Begin! | District 299: The Inside Scoop on CPS - March 4, 2013

    […] Let’s Move! Disaster Leah Putnam 5th Grade Teacher via CPS Chatter: 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. […]

  2. Michelle Obama’s public school disaster - March 4, 2013

    […] teacher named Leah Putnam wrote an account of the “Let’s Move!” ordeal at a forum for Chicago public school teachers – posted, I gather, by a different blog author, who professes themselves an admirer of Mrs. […]

  3. Let’s Active! | threedonia.com - March 4, 2013

    […] Putnam’s complete take down is here. Go read the whole […]

  4. Michelle Obama’s public school disaster | Undivided US - March 4, 2013

    […] teacher named Leah Putnam wrote an account of the “Let’s Move!” ordeal at a forum for Chicago public school teachers – posted, I gather, by a different blog author, who professes themselves an admirer of Mrs. […]

  5. Gardening with Michelle ... - March 5, 2013

    […] my pretties!" http://washingtonexaminer.com/article/2523170 Let’s Move! Disaster https://cps299.wordpress.com/2013/03/…move-disaster/ By Leah Putnam 5th Grade Teacher Chicago Public Schools If you are a parent, imagine that you […]

  6. Michelle Obama’s public school disaster | 168ops.org - March 5, 2013

    […] teacher named Leah Putnam wrote an account of the “Let’s Move!” ordeal at a forum for Chicago public school teachers – posted, I gather, by a different blog author, who professes themselves an admirer of Mrs. […]

  7. The Sunday ‘Report;’ 03/10/2013; Part 3 | Justincase505's Blog - March 10, 2013

    […] CPS Chatter — “a forum  of CPS parents and teachers” — has Putnam’s full tongue-lashing. […]

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: