Obama’s speech set off a firestorm among “right-wing extremist” when it was revealed the speech would ask children to, “Write letters to themselves about what they can do to help the President,” especially since it was supposed to be a speech about staying in school. It was later changed to “Write letters to themselves about how they can achieve their short-term and long-term educational goals.”
“At 12:00 p.m., Eastern Time (ET), September 8, 2009, President Barack Obama will deliver a national address to the students of America. (Please note that this is a change from the originally scheduled time.) During this special address, the president will speak directly to the nation’s children and youth about persisting and succeeding in school. The president will challenge students to work hard, set educational goals, and take responsibility for their learning.”
“The U.S. Department of Education invites students of all ages, teachers, and administrators to participate in this historic moment by watching the president deliver the address, which will be broadcast live on the White House Web site and on C-SPAN at 12:00 p.m., ET. We also encourage educators to use this moment to help students get focused and inspired to begin the new academic year. The Department of Education offers educators a menu of classroom activities-created by its teachers-in-residence, the Teaching Ambassador Fellows-to help engage students in the address and stimulate classroom discussions about the importance of education.”
Sources on the right do seem to be not convinced that this is intended as a simple speech on education.
The Christian Science Monitor observes, “Schools have used students as little lobbyists on everything from illegal immigration to gay marriage to anti-war activism, and most recently, census collection,” Michelle Malkin wrote. “Will Obama be able to resist issuing a call to youth arms to marshal help in passing his legislative agenda?”
Infowars.com reports that gubernatorial candidate Senator Randy Brogdon (R-Owasso)—State Senator of Oklahoma—expressed the concern that, “President Obama has shown time and time again that he has little regard for the Constitution or our founding principles.” Senator Brogdon asked, “is this the person we want addressing our children?” Brogdon went on to say that “President Obama seems intent on bypassing the parents to speak to the children directly, I don’t like that, it just one step too far.”
KSL.Com in Salt Lake City, Utah reported that 42% of those they polled do not want their children watching the speech. There is a mixture of reaction from the school districts in Utah. The Jordan School district released the comment, “While acknowledging the historic nature of the address, a spokesperson says Jordan School District is advising teachers that the address must tie into the curriculum if they are going to allow students to watch it.
“He’s going to talk about education–and what a great message from our nation’s leader,” said spokeswoman Melinda Colton.
At least one school district, Tempe Elementary School District No. 3 in Arizona, is not permitting parents to pull their children out of class during Obama’s speech.
“I have directed principals to have students and teachers view the president’s message on Tuesday,” Superintendent of Schools Dr. Arthur Tate Jr. said in a statement Thursday. “In some cases, where technology will not permit access to the White House Web site, DVDs will be provided to classes on subsequent days. I am not permitting parents to opt out students from viewing the president’s message, since this is a purely educational event.”
WBDO in central Florida reports that Orange and Seminole school districts will let their principals decide how to handle the Obama speech. They will honor parents requests to keep their kids away from the speech. Bill Vogel says contact your childs school or send in a note.
In Lake county the President’s speech is banned. Superintendent Susan Moxley told principals and school board memebers in an email that parents can find the speech on line and watch it with their children if they want to.
aman1995to09, a commenter to I Report blog, advises, “This may come as a shocker to those who think I’m a right wing extremist, but I say let kids listen to the upcoming speech Obama is giving to `school children, or at least give them the choice.
“In the early 90’s then president George H.W. Bush gave a speech to school kids and even write letters to him. Of coarse, Democrats reacted much like Republicans are now. I don’t see what the big deal is letting your kids listen to Obama give a speech and let them decide whether what he said is something they believe in, or something they think is a pile of crap. (By now you can tell my opinion.)
“Giving your kids the right to decide what they beleive is something they will thank you for letting you do when they grow up, being 14, I’m happy I have the right to form my own opinions. Don’t be afraid of Obama, not yet, simply chatting to your kids isn’t going to turn them into mindless Obama kool-aid drinking moonbats, it will turn them into well rounded decision makers.”
Perhaps it would help if, as part of the lesson plan, students were asked to bring a copy of their birth certificate to show what one looks like.