Friday, September 4, 2009

Obama's Education Speech

As you have probably heard,

Educators across America found themselves at the center of a political storm this week as conservatives exploded in anger over President Obama's plans to give a speech to the country's schoolchildren.

A stunned White House insisted the address, planned for Tuesday, and accompanying suggested lesson plans are meant simply to encourage students to study hard and stay in school.

But some parents said they aren't buying it. They said they're convinced the president is going to use the opportunity to press a partisan political agenda on impressionable young minds.
What government policy is at the root of this controversy? Compulsory education, meaning laws that require children ages 5-16 (roughly) to attend school.

President Obama has every right to address any group he wants. But, he does not have the right to compel anyone to listen. The difference between this speech, and a standard evening television address, is that the audience is captive.

Aside: The location of the speech is Wakefield High School, my alma mater (class of '75). I will be attending my 35th reunion next summer.

102 comments:

Anonymous said...

I am shocked that parents would not welcome the opportunity to have the importance of education conveyed to their children by the President of the United States. The US high school graduation rate is low and the fact that barely half of our kids go on to a college degree is sad. I applaud the President for addressing the importance of studying and staying in school. I dont care what politcal party he is with and I would only object to the speech if he planned on bringing up moral topics like prayer in school, abortion etc. I think parents are missing a chance to teach their children to respect their leader. Remember, he is the Commander in Cheif, you know, the person a majority of our country decided should have that position. I think he deserves the benefit of the doubt for now. I have taught my child to show respect for everyone while allowing him to form his own opinions. Our country needs more resepct for it's leaders, unless of course they are the latest scandal headline in the news.....lets hope Obama stays clear of that. My son is 8 I would really like him to have a leader he can look up to.

Anonymous said...

Is this serious? What is wrong with this country? I could not believe this. This kind of thinking is going to ruin this country. I am at a loss for words!

Anonymous said...

Subliminal messages, propaganda, socialism, contol over your children. Wake up America. It would seem that this so called president has enough to worry about. Like the war against small businesses, the amount of white educated Americans out of work. What are the companines incentives to hire you unless you are a minority, they get tax breaks to keep them working. I think the media needs to help stop this type of reverse discrimination. History, will Obama tell the children that government control will make them slaves. He is going to tell them this is how Hitler succeeded.

Anonymous said...

Parents are right to refuse their children's participation in Obama's stay in 'school and succeed program.' After all... they've already allowed their children to find role models in juiced up sports figures and gun toating rap stars. Who needs a politician in the mix!

Anonymous said...

I wonder how much attention these critics pay to the messages their children receive from the biased media, from the corporate world, from a bigotted grandparent, or from any number of self-serving sources to which our kids are exposed everyday. Shouldn't the office of the president be given the same level of credibility we give without thought to the hundreds of agencies that inform our culture, our work, our play? No, actually, it should be given more.
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I find it troublesome that one would allow a loved one to watch 4 hours of on restricted television a day, and yet not wish to expose that loved one to the great issues of the day, delivered by a person who represents all of us, and does so thoughtfully and with craft.
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Instead of exercising "parental control" over a once-in-a-lifetime experience, we might be better by taking this opportunity to expose our children to the greatest issues of our day, and to encourage them to think critically about what they hear.
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Would it be a shame if they actually learned something in school?
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And wouldn't it be shameful if we punished our leaders for taking an interest in what's most important to us: our childern.

Anonymous said...

I want my children to hear his speech! I bet it's great.

Anonymous said...

When lesson plans come with homework for school children on telling how they are going to serve the president, this becomes worrisome. Educate yourself, you are your childs main advocate!!! Did you not see the video that was shown to some school children (without parental consent)having many pledging to be servants to President Obama???? Well I suggest you look at that before labeling concerned parents for being protective. I will not stand by and let my child be subjected to political brainwashing propagnada.

Here is the video-- It starts off warm and fuzzy and gets scarier and scarier!!

www.youtube.com/watch?v=XwG5MhVGQ6k
or look up I pledge to Obama and educate yourself!!!

Anonymous said...

If it was Bush,Chaney, or some other white american talking to our children we ould not have controversy. We have an African-American highly educated man speaking to our children about staying in school and being successful. The ones who are complaining are racists people. President Obama is doing well,it allows other students to see a real person doing wonderful things not some man that his father gave him the position, or some phony politician who is only for certain people. President Obama is blessed by God and all the racists cowards can not harm him. So get over it.

Anonymous said...

IT is funny that Reagan and Bush both did the same thing....talking to students about education. I was not a "fan" of either President but didn't mind them talking to my kids.. These conservatives will do ANYTHING to stir up the slightest thing. THey are making a mountain out of mole hills lately...such an embarrassment in this country nowadays. Whatever happened to us thinking for a change rather than spreading false rumors.

Anonymous said...

I'm all about Obama and I think he absolutely should talk to our students BUT this "I pledge to be a servant to Obama" and "write a letter to yourself about what you can do to help the president" stuff has to go. I don't think that's how Obama wants it or means it at all. I just think there are some supporters out there who have the wrong idea and it's making a mess of things. Neither side is perfect and we've got some idiots too. I'm just glad the Dept of Ed saw the light and altered the suggested lesson plans. That's why it's important to me to live in a country where people are permitted to speak out. The conservatives WERE right about that and it got fixed. So let's move on and hear what the president has to say to our kids!

Anonymous said...

CNN writes: "Many conservative parents aren't buying it." referring, of course, to the President's core message. This should surprise no one. Conservative parents because conservative parents because of a generation of dumbing down of the American education system. They do not possess the knowledge and intellectual prowess needed to make the best choices for their children. Instead, they mindlessly parrot the absurd propaganda fed to them by the right wing. They cannot see that they've been set up to be tools of a shadow minority that is hell bent on reducing Americans to mere chattel, as they redistribute the wealth of the nation from the many to the select few. Those who oppose their narrow vision are considered traitorous. The result is that their children are even more benighted than themselves.

It is sad but true, that the United States of America is quickly approaching its end. There is no way the next generation will be able to meet the challenges it will face. When that happens, the elite few, who are responsible for the slow degradation of America will have fled to safe havens where they will lead lives of luxury.

Anonymous said...

As much as I hate to say it, the speech by the President is wonderful and its great to hear that he's willing to talk to our children about staying in school and working toward goals...too bad some of their racist parents can't get past their racist ideas. The Republicans are just using their racism to escalate the issue to gain polictical attention. Sad situation but that is the way the Republican Party works...it's not conversatism, it's racism. I left the Republican Party in the early 80's for just this reason. Besides, I could NEVER be in anything involving DICK CHENEY...btw, I'm white and respect all people per God's Law and Commandments.

Anonymous said...

Always pulling that race card!!! When are you liberals going to know enough is enough!!!This has nothing to do about race. When you pull that race card then YOU turn it into a racial thing. I was a conservative leaning more toward democrat until I learned more about President Obamas views and the czars he hangs out with. You want to talk about racism and pure hate towards the european americans well just take a look a your new change!!! Your new
"shosen one". The change you wanted???

Anonymous said...

How can you criticize a speech that hasn't been given yet?

Anonymous said...

The "captive audience" argument goes out the window for two reasons:

1. In the past, presidents from both parties have made similar speeches and no one fussed. Therefore, if you use this argument, you are obviously targeting only Obama, not the speech.

2. EVERY class is a captive audience for ANY teacher, principal, guest speaker or television broadcast that is used as a venue to relay concepts and ideas to our children. If you don't like it - and you're scared that your kids don't have the mental fortitude to think for themselves - homeschool.

The trick is not to proctect your child from views you oppose but to teach them to analyze and evaluate them for themselves. As a parent you have the right/duty to mold their little minds by open discussion. That's what dinner table conversations are all about.

Don Carr said...

It is the PRESIDENT, people. One has to wonder if there would be all this vitriol if it were John Kennedy, or Franklin Roosevelt, or Abraham Lincoln, or George Washington. Any response to the idea of the President talking to school children that suggests he shouldn't do it out of some absolutely unfounded concern that he will say something other than what he has said he will is absolutely absurd. Get a LIFE, people!

Anonymous said...

Yet another great lesson to be learned from those on the right. Never, ever listen to someone you might disagree with regardless of topic or message. Arent these the same folks who want prayer in school, beleive evolution is just some silly theory?
I also find it odd that they are yelling about socialism and all that while sending their kids to a public school.
Personally I would like a new rule. If you voted for GW Bush twice, you need to be quiet for a while.

Anonymous said...

You liberals are way too brainwashed!!!

Anonymous said...

The initial lesson plan that was to accompany the speech -- set goals to help the president and then demonstrate how you achieved this goal -- smacks of Russia and China's Youth Federation. ... After the reactions started rolling in, the White House said the lesson plan was not artfully worded.... For a man who understands that words matter, President Obama suprisingly has offered up one artless idea after another.

Anonymous said...

The people who want the president's speech out of the school are the same bunch who want prayer and the pledge in. Messed up.

Anonymous said...

What a sad spectacle the American right has become. These are dark days in American history. Dark, indeed.

Anonymous said...

The furor over anything President Obama says or does is nothing more than racially-bigotted hatred of him at a personal level. The issues which they raise are obvious deflections of their ugly bigotry, not wishing that their true motives become evident.

Anonymous said...

This controversy shows how desperate the Republican Party is to score even cheap political points. Just like the hysterical accusations made by Republicans at the health care meetings, this will backfire on them.

The Democrats should be glad that their opponents have so little credibility. Bring on Obama's speech!

Anonymous said...

What has happened to freedom of speech... Especially for our president. Those who stand against letting our children hear OUR president speak reek of censorship. As for agendas being being hidden within his address, then we haven't been paying attention to our public schools. Many of the approved educational programs implemented under the previous administration reek of political agendas. Several examples include Abstinence Education, Axis of Evil, and No Child Left Behind (ie. the four R's, reading, riting, rithmatic, and republican).

As for writing a letter to the president, haven't we all at some time written a letter to the president in school. Plus, I see this as a bonus for the "Fear Mongrels", wouldn't this be an opportunity to have their brainwashed ideals passed on to the president through their children.

Grow up America! Teach free thought! Allow our children to see for themselves and make their own decisions. Obviously, we give our children TOO little credit. Do we really want them to grow up and be JUST like us?

Jon said...

"Captive," Jeffrey? Surely you jest. North Korean school children are captive - American school children, decidedly less so.

But I guess in the delusional world of libertarianism, Obama = Kim Jong Il.

God help us when the level of discourse in this supposedly enlightened blog reaches new heights of speciousness with each passing day.

Anonymous said...

I don' t like when we label ourselves as liberals or conservatives. I believe any extreme is not good for an intelligent civilization. When I see these words I see fanaticism. Regarding the President's address to our children, I think if we raised our kids well, we should not be afraid that in a few seconds of our Presidents address he might undo all good we as parents try to instill in our children. That is if we believe he means bad to our children.

Anonymous said...

I remember being so excited about the president speaking to the schools and how the teachers were too. It is becoming obvious to me that the two parties were designed to keep America fighting so that America will never come together. What a mighty force America would be if the American tax payers joined together and said 10 % tax no loop holes, that's it, there's your budget, government figure it out.That's all you got.Medicare for the poor and the old, no denials and insurance companies and pharmaceutical companies, we just aren't going to pay your high prices. We are 300 million strong united,cut out being democrat or republican and take control!Get trees out of your eyes and see the forest America, we have more power than we even realize!We should start the part of United!If government really wanted to help us,They immediately stop campaign contributions from lobbyist for state represenmtatives and senate positions and change fda laws that allow the pharmaceutical companies to charge these rediculous 1000 to 10000% mark-up on their products. Change the medicare mandates put in by congress that all equipment must be rented instead of bought and and medicare must pay full retail instead of being able to buy discount. These my friends are because our congress can be ought by lobbyists. This is why medicare is going broke, because of congress passed laws voted on. Everyone is worried about the 1.2 trillion needed to repair these terrible mistakes made by our passed lawmakers. Medicare is 34 trillion in the hole now because our government spent the money years ago to protect our country in a war that history may prove we shouldn't have even been in. Vietnam...Iraq...Wake up America!

Anonymous said...

The speech wasn't approved by Rush Limbaugh and his brainless hate filled crowd that is what! These conservatives are getting more desperate by the second. Conservatism is DEAD! This is just the thrashing of the dying beast. Obama is not a socialist, communist or any "ist" they whant to call him. He's trying to FIX the horrific mess left by Bush and the republicans. Mr President you should make it a point to visit and many schools as your schedule allows and talk to the kids about the importance of education. These republicans are so disgusting it leaves me to wonder and wonder.

Anonymous said...

Well, interesting comments all. But, I think the real bottom line is this: no other president would have been placed in such a ridiculous position; can you imagine Bush Sr., Jr, Clinton, Nixon, Eisenhower, etc. being placed in such a bind? This is, folks, your president, who addresses all sorts of venues (like all other presidents) and ought to have had the courtesy of being listened to, just like other presidents. Obama is being carefully targeted by an agenda-driven group, bent on derailing his presidency. This is not National Enquirer conspiracy pap. The 'town hall protests' et al are another nicely orchestrated bit of theater aimed at the same result. I personally have mixed feelings about Obama's performance, but he's 19 times as intelligent as the prior chief exec, and I suspect he will learn on the job like everyone else, and end up doing ok, IF WE LET HIM. However, as long as media buys into the junk being presented as real news, and as long as the right wing stay ahead of the game by premptive accusatory strikes, well, we're in for a long four years. This shouldn't even be a story, let alone a controversy. It is wholly invented, for the sole purpose of an ad hominem/straw dog attack. And, so far, as one can see from this blog, succeeding. Shame on all of us. The future looks very murky indeed.

Anonymous said...

I wonder if the those that complain about the "Captive" group complained when Reagan & Bush Sr. spoke to me. I had hope for America, but I can see the right rather polarize and destory over build. We are doomed until they go away, they are the minority and scream like little chidren when don't get their way. Hell most little chidren act more mature.

Gordon Hutton said...

Good lord, Dr. Miron is not talking about the merits of the speech. He is talking about using public schools as the venue.

And, I would wager a paycheck, that he would say the same thing with ANY president's name inserted.

(Jon, you leaped from Miron's use of the word "captive" to having all libertarians equate Obama with Kim Jong Il. And you think his arguments are specious? At least they're tenable.)

Anonymous said...

A percentage of America is made up of racist, uneducated, ego centric, Fox watching, morons. Unfortunately your country is in decline in large part due to the last eight years of republican rule.

Obama is a brilliant President that is doing his best to help all Americans. Ignore the right don't even engage them it is a waste of time. Where possible don't spend money on companies that advertise on Fox you have to choke the weeds out financially.

The majority wants what is just but a small minority is starting to steer the country towards the abyss.

Let these idiots keep their children at home. With the parents these children have they are likely going to end up working in either the housekeeping or food services industry. Children that attend will get a better view of the President's speech.

Anonymous said...

Have Americans gone mad? Are they serious? It is ok for rap music artists to go on about rape and school dropouts on the radio but not ok for a black American who has worked hard to tell kids to study hard and stay in school. To help make a better America. I am sure many other countries will sit there kids in front of the TV and tell them to listen.

This is just shocking

Anonymous said...

HOW SAD THAT THE CONSERVATIVES HAVE CHOSEN TO SHOW
THEIR TRUE COLORS. THEY ARE RACIST, THERE IS NO DOUBT
ABOUT IT. OUR PRESIDEN OBAMA IS A VERY BRIGHT AND
INTERLLIGENT PERSON. WHY THEY HAVE TARGETED HIM LEAVES
NO DOUBT THAT THEY HAVE CHOSEN THE COLOR OF HIS SKIN TO
HIS BRAINS. IT IS AMAZING HOW THEY WOULD RATHER HAVE HAD
EIGHT YEARS OF BUSH WITH VERY LITTLE DEPTH, THAN TO
HAVE THEIR CHILDREN LISTEN TO A MAN WITH SUBSTANCE AND
NOTHING BUT GOOD WILL TOWARDS THEIR CHILDREN. GOD SAVE
US FROM THESE HIPOCRITES.

Anonymous said...

How about we give teachers some credit. The lesson plans submitted are only suggestions ... teachers are smart enough to use them as they see fit.
Isn't it much better to be an informed citizen of this country? Don't bury your kid's heads in the sand like your own. Or are you just afraid their own decisions won't be the same as your?

Anonymous said...

I am literally in shock that the american people have become so ridiculous. A part of a child being educated is to expose them to a variety of different opinions,views,cultures and ideologies. Then give them the opportunity to do some critical thinking and make their own decisions. You will never educate a child by closing them off from the world and not letting them be exposed to the very things that are defining the times. If you dont know that, then you are unworthy of being parents. You are only going to raise a fragment of a person that is unable to think on their own and logically think things through. How dare Americans criticize the president of this country for wanting to reach out to children concern education, critical thinking, and how they can serve their country. A country, might I add, that they have to grow, flourish, and improve. Or atleast as parents that is what you should hope for your child. We have enough people that dont get involved and take an active interest in their country as well as enough people who are too ignorant to do it properly and effectively. Do you parents want to raise more individuals who instead of discussing the real issues and being a part of plausible solutions would rather shout, yell, and disrupt things like town hall meetings. You all are definitely on your way to raising more problems than solutions. I'm not saying that by preventing your kids from hearing the speech by the president your are going to ruin the country. However it is that mentality that will carry over to your other lifes decisions and the way you conduct yourselves as american citizens that will ruin the country. You all should really be ashamed of yourselves. And I feel sorry for your children.

Anonymous said...

The right wingnuts are so loud over every little thing lately, with so much fear mongering and rumor spreading. There is no real substance to most of what they have to say, and I am finding myself tuning them out. If they can't bring anything intelligent to the debate, then Obama must be doing things right, with no reason to put on any brakes. I am non-partisan, and like to have both sides of an issue presented so I can form an opinion. With nothing meaningful coming from the right, the only conclusion I can form is that the left is doing the right thing.

Anonymous said...

contrived controversies like this make me think the right don't really care about the people, or moving this country forward. They only want to lead on their exclusive terms (make the rich richer and tell the rest of the world what to do). I'm voting all republicans out of office at the next election and it's their own stupid fault. I can't wait until they start the door to door campaigning. Gotta find some way to make my front door extra loud when I slam it shut.

LyndaLBD said...

This nation can't afford drop outs and we have the largest number of high school drop outs than any other nation. It costs over $260,000 today, to educate and care for a child from the day they are born to the day they graduate. But if they don't graduate - that is a waste of taxpayers dollars. These children are supposed to take over the nation after we are too old to do anything more. So with so many children dropping out of school, where does that mean our nation is going? I would say it is spiraling out of control. The school age children of our nation need to hear a darn good reason for staying in school. This man - Barack Obama, is a black man giving all children hope - that yes, they too can possibly be a senator, congressman, congress woman, president, ambassador, or whatever they put their minds to becoming - a doctor, lawyer, community leader. But if we don't get the children's minds out of the gutter where the drugs and gangs are, we are going to lose the battle of ignorance and the war on poverty. Is this what parents across the nation are afraid of? That the man who is trying to say there is hope, yes, you can make something of yourself if you stay in school and work at it? Or are you wanting to see race? You are a hippocrite if all you see is RACE! If this is all you can see, then SHAME ON YOU!

pazyfe1962 said...

Listen we have always encouraged children to keep their eyes and ears open, in the end as a parent you are the one that teaches your child right from wrong. There is so much crap being thrown back and forth when your children are away from you that you as a parent are never even aware of. Come on now, keep an open mind and discuss it with your children just like any other issue you openly discuss with your children. Stop being so &^*&*&*&(&*&(*( radical and fickle with the president, and people don't expect Obama to fix the mess that Bush left behind and screwed up for 2 terms. e patient people give the man a break and time to disinfect that open wound.

n. said...

to the person who posted the youtube video.... HELLO! Obama didn't make it... it was made by independent celebreties who CHOSE to make it. Crazy person. Get over yourself.

Anonymous said...

What the President should have done ,was this- HE should have dress up like ''Bugsbunny'' nobody but his adviser's would know this,give his speech and watch as the children,teachers,parents,democracts,republicans,laugh ,cheer,applaud without any apprehension,and then after 5 minutes - remove the costume and look straight into the camera and say this-- whether i'am ''BUGSBUNNY'' or the ''PRESIDENT'' I want you to say in school...and watch all MOUTHS drop with disinterest-disgrace and disagreement, All because he's BLACK ---- remember back in the days blacks were killed,beaten,hung,enslaved and now 2009 we have a BLACK in office, the highest position any person could hold and for some folks ,they can't stomach the idea of their worst nightmare coming true...

Gaylel said...

What do you expect? the majority of people who don't want their children to hear the speech is racist. This proves that America hates blacks period. And the party I belong to is carrying this hatred and their leader who is black is not doing anything about it at all. What if people call their leader or Michelle Malkin the "N" word? I betcha people and both of them will be upset then.

Anonymous said...

My child's school has chosen not to show the broadcast. Is anyone else thinking of taking their children out of school in order to watch our preseident speak?

Anonymous said...

We did not vote for Obama, we don't call him our President, we cannot stand him, and now maybe everyone can see why. He is a dangerous man who wants to rule this country His way and bring in his Czars and take away our freedom. We all should be very aware and afraid of this man, and keep him out of our schools and away of our children altogether. He is dangerous, and he should be impeached.

Anonymous said...

This is totally ridiculous! This is not Obama, this is President Obama excuse me. If you do not want your children to listen to the speech... Keep them at home, turn off all tv's and radio's turn out the lights and hide from the boogieman. It's your child do as you please. Education is the only tool to save this nation, as you can see by even considering this topic to be in the media when there are far many more worldly issues of concern, there are alot of ignorant people that have been locked in the closet. Get over it, keep your kids at home with blinders and headsets on in front of some cartoons somewhere. That is your right. Lock them down, like the woman dragging her child thru the mall on a dog leash! Google that one. You are just raising one more that wont be able to read at the polls or will be scared to go to the polls for whatever reason. Presidents and that is what he is, have been addressing on TV in schools, churches, on thier soap boxes since the 60's. President Obama doesn't need your permission, as I said just lock your kid down. Evidentally he or she is locked down to ignorance anyway. EDUCATION AND , AND THE PLEDGE OF ALLEGIANCE SHOULD BE A KEY FACTOR DRILLED BACK IN SCHOOLS,THOSE ARE KEYS! Obama did not stop those things but he is and will address the importance of learning. Lets see which president snatched that out???? Thats when you should of been worried.. Ignorance breeds Ignorance.

Anonymous said...

Gordon and Dr. Miron, if you don't like Obama using public schools as a venue then don't you dare ask for prayer back in the schools.

Anonymous said...

He is the commander in chief. The CEO of the country, or as GW Bush liked to say the decider. Guess what, just like the CEO of any company, that means he has not only the right to promote his policies, it is his job! Thats why he was elected. We spend the last 8 years having GW policies promoted. It was his job to do that. Now it is Obama's turn.

Gordon Hutton said...

Why would I want prayer in school? I am an atheist. Even if I was religious, I still would not condone sanctioned prayer in a public place where attendance is required, such as school.

This post isn't about this particular president talking to American schoolchildren.

I have no problem with President Obama giving a speech where he tells kids to study hard and stay in school. The president has a bully pulpit and he should be allowed to use it.

The problem is using schools as a vehicle to make it happen. I didn't like it when Bush did it and I wouldn't like it if any politician, at any level, did it.

There are all sorts of paths to education. Why is compulsory education of kids ages 5-16 the best way? Why is it so difficult to open a charter school? Why is homeschooling the only other option? Why be forced to pay taxes for public education (which is usually property taxes) and pay tuition for a private school? Why can't I choose where I want my children educated, whether it is for quality or for curriculum or both?

Nearly every comment here has jumped to the conclusion that the original post was somehow anti-Obama. And then, there are a sprinkling of ridiculous comments about how terrible he is. Neither of these viewpoints are relevant to the post.

All this partisan back and forth is identical to when Bush was in office. We all seem to be incapable of civility, let alone logical thought.

Mrs. C said...

I'm a parent with children in public school and I have a reasonable expectation that the school is faithful to the scope and sequence set forth on the district website. I understand that by sending my children to these schools, that they may be exposed over the course of the day to opinions I find unpalatable.

However, I also expect that when I have an objection to ANY lesson plan at ANY time that my children can be opted out of the problematic parts.

My problem with the speech, and the reason I HAVE opted my children out of it, was the original wording on the government website about it. In one spot, it was called an "historic" speech. Why would it be "historic" if no new information were given, no new plan unveiled?

And why were these children asked to think about why we need to listen to the president? Last I checked, our governmental officials ought to be listening to US.

Now? The controversial elements of the speech seem to have been removed. Perhaps it isn't fair that Obama is criticised so heavily. Maybe he really *did* want to welcome children back to school. Maybe he didn't, and this was a trial balloon. I have been a reporter on a daily and know just a little about how the media (and thus the people) can be easily manipulated. It doesn't matter what party is doing the manipulating IMO.

But in summary, I think schools should have the choice to air the address (or not), and parents should be able to opt their children out of lessons they find objectionable for any reason.

Overall I'm agreeing with your post, Mr. Miron. Though perhaps some other day we can discuss whether children in public school are truly "captive." I am not quite sure. On the one hand, education is compulsory. On the other, I also have two little kiddos here who do not go to school but stay home and read Treasure Island and play pirates. :]

Anonymous said...

After electing its first Black President, the United States is, unfortunately, quickly falling back into its old, or perhaps, not so old racist ways. Can this be a real issue? The President of the United States wants to talk to children about the importance of education and people are actually against this. Maybe he should just go to a Black school, (yes America still has those) and give his speech. That would give the nay sayers some fodder, because obviously they are willing to grasp at anything. It is painfully obvious that no real strides were made last November. What is acary is that the image of a succesful Black man is striking fear into some elements of society, so much so that they are willing to let their children suffer for it. Shameful, shameful, shemeful.....

Anonymous said...

I think it is shameful that people are upset that our President wants to encourage kids on getting an education and the importance of it. In my observation, the people who seem to be upset, are those who are just angry for the sake of being angry. Please, before you dispute anything, get the facts and educate yourself on the issue at hand. Stop shouting nonsense just b/c you didn't vote for him.

I didn't vote for the latter President Bush but I respected him as my President. If I disagreed, it was a disagreement of his political stand on issues and how he ran this country. But...I still gave him my respect.

And please, ask yourself..what are you really upset about? I would love for my child to be able to listen to listen to our President. If you dont want to listen, dont go. But stop speaking nonsense. It's shameful and quite an embarrassment for something such as encouraging kids about an education.

Anonymous said...

God forbid we have our President speak to children about the importance of education and doing our best in school. By the way, we rank number 28 out of 40 countries in math and science. This is shameful.

Anonymous said...

As far as I can remember, the Constitution grants Americans Freedom of Speech and the President is exercising that right to convey to students to stay in school. He is also trying to impress upon them to do the best they can to help raise the educational level in this country. How dare these lawmakers practice communism and force censorship upon the impressionable minds of students, further widening the gap between the elite and the rest of the country. These lawmakers, with their radical and extremist views, are undermining our way of life with rantings of fear and misinformation. It is these same lawmakers that are trying to tell the American public what to think, which is a practice in communist regimes, to limit the American people from being able to discuss issues. Perhaps we should take a harder look at these lawmakers before their dangerous ideologies reduce the freedoms Americans have into memories.

Anonymous said...

Just the "Party of No" creating another non-issue. I guess the 22% who disagree with the president and his speech should control the rest of the countries thought process. They really make themselves look stupid - especially the representative from Florida that has 4 kids and feels Obama could possibly indoctrinate his kids with socialistic thoughts. I'm proud to say my 4 kids are capable of thinking for themselves. I wasn't surprised at all when my 9 year old saw Bill Clinton on Larry King Live and asked who he was. He then made the comarison to Clinton's ability to speak and then President George Bush - as he didn't realize a president should be articulate.....perhaps the rep from Florida isn't as well!

Jen said...

It is OUR job, as parents, to teach our children the importance of excelling academically and pursuing higher education. If parents haven't done what they should to instill the correct values in their children, will hearing it from the president change their minds? No, of course not. I am angry as he*l that Obama is using a captive audience of children to attempt to further his and the Gov.'s control over this nation. He is ALL about control and oppression. He wants to make us all slaves to the Government, and he's moving very, very rapidly to do so. It's scary, and we had better rise up in HUGE numbers, loudly, and NOW...if there's any chance of stopping him and the minority who 'follow' him from achieving their goals.
He was elected to serve Americans, not the other way around.
My children (teens) have the option of watching his speech at home if they'd like to, and we can discuss it here at home, but they will be absent on Tuesday morning, from school. I hope many, many other parents keep their kids home too. I'm keeping them home not to shield them from the speech, as they're intelligent and discerning kids who won't be 'brainwashed' by that ... ehm, president...but as a clear statement that I am strongly against that administration attempting to hold my kids captive and be fed socialist propaganda. It'll be interesting to see what the absentee numbers are across the nation on Tues. Sept. 8.

Anonymous said...

I'M ONE OF THE MILLIONS WHO VOTED FOR PRESIDENT OBAMA...I TAKE OFFENSE TO ALL YOU RETARD WHO ARE SO DISTRACTED. THE REASON WHITE EDUCATED ARE UNEMPLOYED IS ONE YOU CHOSE CHEAP LABOR DID YOU NOT THINK IF YOU SEND ALL YOUR MONEY AND BUSINESS OVER SEAS THAT IT WOULD NOT AFFECT YOU..YOU NEED TO LISTEN TO A MR OBAMA

Anonymous said...

Hmmmm, when I was in school I heard G. Bush's speech. Since I was a kid, all I knew was that he was the President of the United States and I was like, WOW, the PRESIDENT! As a kid I didn't have any political views, just respect for the man. So, as an adult, my child should have respect for the current President of the United States as well.

Derrell said...

Wake up America, we have slowly morphed into the "United States of Hypocrites". Parents who confuse empowerment with brainwashing, and so called "proud" Americans angry over a proposed health care system that will ensure EVERY American (rich & poor) has access to adequate health care. We demand that our Commander-N-Chief make the countries problems a #1 priority, but we can't step up and do our part? C'mon America, adults makes suggestions and provide answers.

Anonymous said...

If your child can be "brainwashed" by one 10-minute speech, then there's something wrong with your child rearing techniques. You've failed as a parent if your kid can be coercised so easily. I think all the uproar is ridiculous, but you can count on these parents being the same ones featured on the TV show "Intervention" 10 years from now, not realizing why of how little Johnny feel to peer pressurea and became a heroin addict.

Anonymous said...

If you really want your kids to be protected against harmful propaganda you could take care of the American Idols I love NY and flavors of love among others. They parrot evrything that the RW media says. They are outraged to see an african american that is intellectual and educated. and are blind to the Ghetto pipesmokers Negroes that play on MTV everyday. AMAZING

Anonymous said...

I was a teacher in a High school in Florida for 10 years. and believe me after the things I saw I really think most teenagers don't have any brain to wash or mind to impress for that matter... RELAX!!! Snoop dog and daddy Yankee will keep running the show in their heads!!!

Anonymous said...

I am really disappointed on the reaction about a speech which is meant to motivate our kids future. Yet when I was in school I sat and heard Bush and Clinton had no issues even if I did that is our freedom of speech coming into play. Now for those who are against the speech should more then ever listen to the speech and then explain to your kid why you disagree with it. Guess what all Parents got to step up and be a parent!!! Stop passing the bill!! God how annoying and frustrating we have to argue this when there are more pressing needs. If it were a negative speed then okay jump in arms and scream but when it is meant in a positive way??? Seriously folks wake up.. To those that state they are afraid to live in this country b/c of where we are or going, you have not lived abroad wake up ppl we have incredible rights value them b/c once gone you will regret it!!

Gordon Hutton said...

Where in the hell did all these anonymous posters come from? Was this post featured on some other website?

Anonymous said...

I am a teacher in a public school. I have permission from my administrator to view the President's speech and students choosing to not participate will have another activity provided.

It is sad however that so many people in our country have such an adverse feeling about it. With our country's (and the world's) current economic situation, education is imperative to one's success. I would hope that more people would look at this speech as a way for our youth to take to heart that setting positive goals towards their future is vital, that staying in school, whether public, private, charter, or home is crucial, that having a good relationship with their family to discuss important issues such as this is a huge part of what shapes their character.

From my understanding, the speech will be archived for later viewing. I hope parents and students that opt out of viewing it within their classroom, will choose to watch it with their parents and discuss it with open minds. I hope it will stimulate a dialog that will make a positive impact on a child's future and the future of our country.

C.L. Petty said...

I am embarrassed to be an American right now. Peoples careers were ruined when they made even a single claim that appeared to against Bush and the war. Right now, people are speaking out against President Obama as if trying to get healthcare for all and speaking to children about staying in school is sinful and evil. It seems to me that thier ignorance and position should not even be a story. Hopefully, the children of these people with limited intellect will not suffer from the same disability as thier parents and be able to think for themselves, and not end up following the script of radio and tv personalities.

Anonymous said...

So, the weeping woman is so upset that her children will be subjected to "that". She will probably keep her children home, dress them in their finest camouflage and the family can polish their AK 47s and sit around the radio and listen to the three most dangerous men in the country, Limbaugh, Beck and Hannity, spew their hatred and paranoia! Give me a break! I am afraid for our cuntry when it comes to this. Never have I seen the likes of it.

Anonymous said...

Come on how ridiculous is this debate. This is another way for those who do not like "THE PRESIDENT" to confuse and belittle MY America. Mr Obama has been an advocate for children and education. Why would this surprise anyone that he would want to address the future of this country? American children are not hostages in their schools just look at attendance and drop out rates. I personally am Glad that my child will be able to view a positive role model on TV in this age of Spongebob and reality TV.

Anonymous said...

Those who do not want their kids to hear President Obama's speech are exactly the ones that should hear it. What is wrong with telling a child to study hard and stay in school? Fox News and the religious right have done a good job of brainwashing these parents into thinking everything that President Obama does is wrong. I would think this was not racist if the same controversy had taken place during the education speech given by President Bush. Or is it only when a black man speaks about education that it is controversial? Children should stay i school and study hard and who is a better example than a very educated President from a single mother? Grow up America , the entire world is laughing at us.

Anonymous said...

What a joke! I am so tired of hearing conservatives criticize this president's efforts.
I have never seen such ignorance in my life.
Yet it was okay for their kids to listen to eight years of Bush who can't even speak proper english? Yikes....

Anonymous said...

funny the same people who are against this speech being played in school are the same people who want prayer in school.......... welcome to America... keep the rich,rich the poor,sick and all in fear

Anonymous said...

I still think there are elements in this country that are still mad that this country is being run by this man. I cant recall a time where every single thing that a presidents has done, every decision made goes up in controversy. Every speech, is a misstep etc. Doesnt seem that anything he does will be broadly accepted. I think it angers many that this calibre of man is actually not one of theirs, that they cant find skeletons etc.. I'm not saying I agree with everything he does, but the character of the man is so above board, its killing so many that this particular president presides of the nation. The passion I've seen is not just about his policies, its about ............Fill in the rest. he was the best choice for this time in the world. If they so love America the way they claim, they need to start trying to work together instead of finding fault with everything. If the past president, advisors and naysayers new all the answers the country wouldnt be in the position they are in. This man inherited a disaster, and their is no easy fix thatw ill please everyone. GET OVER IT

Anonymous said...

This is a ridiculous situation/debate.

The President of the United States is going to give a motivational speech to our students. To accompany the speech, there will be a lesson plan, or rather a way to engage the students in what they are doing. Then to complete the course of events, the students will write letters to THEMSELVES, about what they can do to help the President.

What is the problem here. If it is the lesson plan, then you are saying, let the President speak to the students but we don't care if they fall asleep during the speech. We don't care if this ends up being wasted time. Furthermore, if you are saying this is a way to push a liberal agenda, I ask how? Because the kids have to write letters to the President. INCORRECT. They would write letters to themselves, further engaging their minds educationally. Who knows what ideas could be spawned. Maybe...I will help my friends with their homework, tutor and mentor them when they are struggling in a class; I will volunteer on the weekends; I will keep in touch with my friends to make sure they are doing ok and will do my best to help them however I can...

We have reached a point in this country where students do not dare to dream. When you ask a child what they want to be when they grow-up, you hear doctor, lawyer, computer engineer. Why? Because it is all related to how much money they can make in those positions. Money drives the imagination now, and this argument and debate is further diminishing the possibility of allowing students to be creative and think/dream.

Anonymous said...

Wow!! The fact that the U.S. has changes so much from the America that I grew up in amazes me. I grew up in the 80's and 90's and I remember having to hear speeches from Reagan, while in class. Maybe I have been out of school for some time, but do we still require our children to take the pledge of allegiance to the flag? Im pretty sure that not everyone agrees with it, (if that were the case more people would give their life for their country). So what is wrong with listening to our leader, wether we agree or disagree, he is our leader. For all of those who are to quick to point out how this country is going down the wrong path and that socialism is taking over, I ask you to get educated and visit other countries like like Afghanistan and Iraq. Live like those people. See how many children dont even have the opportunity or resources to learn. Then tell me if the U.S. is such a bad country. Ignorance not socialism is what we should be worried about!

Anonymous said...

If only parents would monitor what's on their child's Ipod with the same intensity and vigor.
This faux outrage has nothing to do with the President's speech.

Mrs. C said...

Gordon: I followed over here from a CNN link. Maybe that's where the anonymous posters are from.

Again, to reiterate: It oughtn't matter the reason parents object. Tough poo if you do not like it. As the parent, I have the right to opt my children out of ANYTHING I find objectionable.

Though I must say some of the arguments are rather strange. So what if I wished my children to watch a Snoopy special on television, but not Obama's presidential address? I *seriously* fail to see the relevance.

It's about who is parenting the child. Who gets to make the decisions?

Anonymous said...

I challenge all of you that feel that you are parenting your children well, and dont need anyone else encouraging them excell in academics to think about a few things.

For starters, what about the millions of children who's parents arent parenting them well. Not every child is as fortunate as yours are to have outstanding parents. Some body elses child just may need the encouragement of the President to stay in school, achieve and excell. I know it may be a stretch for you to think about someone elses kid, but whether its your kid or not, they to will have an impact on the world we all live in. This speech may be the encouragement that some child needs to advance. Some child who perhaps has not gotten this encouragement at home. Is it your responsibility to be concerned about them? Well its debatable. However, it can only help.

After your child hears the speech, if you are so against what is being said, then I am sure that you can find a scholastic way to discuss and debate your opinions with your children.

Also for those parents that are truly concerned about the education of your child, have you thought about how schools will suffer financially just from 1 day of this mass movement to take your children out of the education arena. Schools will lose an enormous amount of money from your children not being there for 1 day which will hurt an already suffering school system.

Just a few things for you cerebral minds to consider.

Anonymous said...

My son's elementary school has elected NOT to show President Obama's adress to the schools. I sent a letter to the principal - here is what I wrote....

With all due respect I would like to address the fact that XXX Elementary will not be showing President Obama’s speech at school on Tuesday.

I have to say that I am appalled at the narrow vision many families are exhibiting in regard to the scholastic speech President Obama plans to deliver. Weather you voted for or against him, he should be viewed as an inspiration to overcome the odds and achieve greatness through education, and perseverance.

I have voted in the past both Republican and I have voted Democratic. I have not always agreed with the majority, nor have I always agreed with what past Presidents have said or done. However, I have always encouraged my children (of which I have 4 school age children – elementary, middle and high schoolers), to educate themselves by taking in all information, and formulate their own ideas and opinions.

I feel that it is my job as a parent to expose my children to opinions that differ from their own (or my own) and allow them to ask questions, listen and decide for themselves. I believe that this type of critical thinking is imperative to their well being within the real world. I feel that once they leave the shelter of our home, they need the tools to be able to decide, and agree or disagree, in many areas of their lives. I see offering children diversity as a fabulous teaching tool. Diversity is everywhere in the real world. They are going to find themselves in situations in their young adult lives (and beyond) where they are going to have to choose in regards to religion, politics, career, and relationships. It is a great injustice to them to rob them of opportunities to see and hear ideas and beliefs that may differ from their own, and allow them to develop an understanding that they have a choice, and that they can formulate an intelligent decision and decide for themselves.

Why not allow our children to view the speech, and then use it as a spring board for discussion and debate inside the classroom and at the dinner table? I feel that censoring our children from the President’s speech is a missed opportunity to teach our children, and that it sends the wrong message about freedom of speech and their right to think, debate, and make decisions based on what they see and hear.

I do not understand why so many parents are fearful of allowing their child to be exposed to an opinion or belief that may differ from their own. Wouldn’t if be more beneficial to let this situation stimulate some constructive dinner conversation where as parents we would have the opportunity to express our beliefs, and allow our child to express what he / she believes? Do you not want your children to develop the tools needed to think constructively?

I personally support showing the President’s speech in school. Weather I agree or disagree with what is said is irrelevant, as I will take this opportunity to teach my children, discuss their day with them, and allow them to grow.

Thank you for your time.

Anonymous said...

Go ahead, let students choose whether to watch the speech or not, and then participate in the activities, essays and make you tube videos as suggested by the US Department of Education. I think those who participate should work on the activities during recess for a month and then when they achieve their goals - give them a dollar and tell them that they can buy candy with it. However, before they buy the candy, they must give 50 cents of the dollar they earned for their hard work to those who chose not to participate, or did not achieve their goals, so they can buy candy too. That way the wealth is equally redistributed and everyone has an equal opportunity to buy candy. Then direct a discussion on how they feel about this, and post it on you tube and give a $1000 to those with the best video.

Gordon Hutton said...

Mrs C, thanks for the hint on where the comments might be coming from.

Also, I agree completely. The parent controls what his or her children are exposed to, not the schools.

The arguments about the intent and merit of what the president might say are truly irrelevant.

Anonymous said...

I'm not a conservative, nor a liberal, but an INDEPENDANT. Tomorrow, my son will be excused from the speech, no question about it. I also beg to differ with those that say someone like me or my husband is objecting to just a "speech". It is not "just" a speech, it is a "lesson plan". Our family obeys the law, we live quiet and peacable lives, and "give unto Ceasar what belongs to Ceaser"...ie taxes. But most certainly, our son is not for sale, nor is he up for grabs. Obama, just like every other politician these days, has shown himself to be nothing but a propaganda mouthpiece, now seeking adulation from our children.? Forget it. And yes, we have the right to choose for our boy...WE are his parents after all.
I would like to address one more thing. I've also seen more than a few using the words "patriotism, patriotic," etc., as condemnation towards those of us who are rejecting Obama's "lesson plan" directed at our children, stating that we are unpatriotic. The definition of a patriot: pa•tri•ot - a person who loves, supports, and defends his or her country and its interests with devotion. With all due respect, supporting the country is VERY DIFFERENT from supporting those that lead our country. As well, the word "patriotic" also allows for dissention against those that lead, for the good of the nation or country. Blindly following the man in charge is not patriotic, it is ignorant.

Anonymous said...

I agree that parents have the right to screen exposure to whatever they deem harmful to their kids. This includes whatever the school plans to do with the kids. What makes this discourse so disturbing is that parents deem harmful words coming from our President. I did not like President Bush's policies, nevertheless if he had something to say to my kids, I would have asked my kids to listen to what he had to say so that later in the day we could discuss the topic (like we did many times while watching the news). That's what I would have done because above all I want my kids to think and learn to analyze and discern what the true message is. The way some parents are reacting is as if the kids were going to be exposed to a drug addict. To me this is just people using this as a scapegoat because they don't agree with how the President is handling the many challenging problems we are facing today. This behavior is at the very least embarrassing.

Anonymous said...

I wish that I grew up in a nation where the Commander in Chief cared about the nation's school children just one tenth of a percent as much as President Obama. If you ever wonder, where I grew up they didn't give a damn. Yep, I grew up in a socialist country. So, saying President Obama is going to brain wash your kids with Socialist Doctrines is very insulting... to the communists around the world.

I just have one thing to say. For those who are concerned about what President Obama is about to say to your kids, why don't you watch the speech so that you can have an intelligent conversation with your kids when they get home tomorrow night. Why? Because enraging over something that you still yet to hear is not the smart thing to do. So, calm down folks and take a listen. I know that it's hard for you to do just that because you still haven't gotten over the fact that Mr. Obama is your President, but guess what? He is your President and he cares wholeheartedly about your kids and their future.

It is never wrong to listen for it is listening that make you a wise talker.

Anonymous said...

Surpessing speech is the first step toward facism. Apparently conservatives don't trust their children to think for themselves or develop their own ideas & beliefs based on their lifetime experiences.
Talk about cramming ideology down childrens' throats!
God help us!

Mrs. C said...

Hm...

It's surpressing free speech not when someone can't speak, but when I don't set my children in front of the TV to listen. Interesting. I expect you all to show up at my church next Sunday. You wouldn't want to surpress my pastor's free speech, you know.

Mrs. C said...

Whoops... I was going to put "surpessing" in quotes. I can spell "suppressing." I just didn't that time. :P

Anonymous said...

Mrs.C your pastor is the one that is praying for President Obama's death? Just to let you know, I have 12 years of Catholic School education and as far as I can remember Jesus was not even close to having those kinds of ideas regarding the people that wanted to hurt him, most likely he is revolting up there in heaven right now hearing how some people use his name in vain.
I agree parents have the right to monitor the influences their children may be subjected to. What is pathetic is the outrage of some just because the President wants to address the kids. If he were to say anything that may be damaging to the child, the parent can always do some parenting and take the opportunity to have a discussion with the child regarding what the President said. My take is that this is just a scapegoat from parents that are not happy with how the President is handling the difficult issues we are facing now.

s sebastian said...

I think it is pathetic that we live in a country full of people who don’t stand behind their President. We encourage our kids to NOT listen to their President. What is the point of electing a leader and then turning our back on him. I watched to speech to school kids and wished the President 8 years ago when I was in highschool would have given such a uplifting and encouraging speech about how important my generation is to America’s future. So many people are acting ridiculous about this speech making comments about “Socialism and Communism” which are absurd and are far from the truth. Perhaps people who make these comments should have heard that speech so they would have stayed in school long enough to know the definitions of Socialism and Communism. Personally I feel that if McCain where giving the same speech and working on the same health care plan no one would have anything to say about it. This just proves that we still live in a country full of Racism and backwards minded people. He is our President and our leader. The public voted for him so we should stand our choice. Democrat of Republican we should stand behind our President.

Jessica McFarland said...

Some of these internet discussions become very similar to talking to crazy people. Both the blogger and several comment-writers have explained that it is not a problem for their children to see a speech from the president - it IS a problem that the federal government has handed out lesson plans to go along with it, and the original wording of those lesson plans included some very sketchy language (i.e. "What can we do to help the president" instead of "what can we do to achieve our goals?") It's not about being openminded, not about hating Obama, or being unpatriotic (although I think we may have a pot-and-kettle situation here), and it is DEFINTELY not about race, so you can stop that right now. It's about a parent's fundamental right to choose what is best for their children, and not be dictated to by school or state.

Perhaps some people are missing some government classes, and a fundamental understanding of checks and balances?

Anyway, great blog, I look forward to reading more! :)

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