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Obama talks to our kids next week -- are you fuming mad or thrilled to pieces?


AP Photo/Charles Dharapak

Live Video Sparks Controversy

President Obama is streaming live from Virginia to talk to our kids about education next week. This is the first time a U.S. President has directly addressed children in the schools.  The Charlotte Observer reports CMS Superintendant  Dr. Peter Gorman has asked all schools to watch the short presentation and have teachers follow up with a prepared guide written by the White House in conjunction with the Department of Education. Two separate guides have been created geared toward grades preK-6 and another for grades 7-12.

Pundits and parents on both side of the aisle have reacted, with some worried about the message being sent, and others applauding the President for bringing education to the forefront and inspiring our children.
 
Schools and politics
Religion and politics are topics that most would agree can be highly controversial.  Public schools across the nation have effectively eliminated any discussion about religion from our schools, so why not politics? One might argue that each election year children across the country learn about the election and the candidates, but the bottom line is that this is an instruction in the process, and does not allow any one candidate to get their message across.  Perhaps the best forum to educate our children on topics that are religious or political in nature is in religion or civics class.
Many applaud President Obama’s initiative, and point out that the speech is expected to encourage our children to work hard and value education. While these are values shared by most and are easy to rally around, the fact that these ideas are coming from a U.S. President, rather than from a school superintendant, the Secretary of Education, or perhaps a highly esteemed professor, makes them indisputably political.
 
Parental Role
An underlying issue that concerns many is that this speech offers no chance for parents or teachers for that matter to view advanced copies of the text, as is usually the case when other controversial topics are brought into our school system such as sex ed. In this unique case, school systems have been given explicit directions on what  to discuss with our kids before and after the video, but is much less specific when it comes to the actual content.  
 

Perhaps a public service announcement, or a pre-taped video, would’ve been more a more agreeable format. This would’ve given schools and teachers the chance to incorporate the viewing into their own schedules, and offered parents a chance to view it together with their children in order to incorporate their own family values into the mix.

Comments

  • Alba Larranaga 4 years ago

    I believe that you are on the right track when you point out that a Presidential speech, together with a study guide prepared by Presidential Assistants and the Dept. of Education, make this issue a political one that has no place in our educational system.

    This points out to the problems caused by the creation of a Federal Dept. of Education in the late 70's. The Department of Education holds the power of the purse strings, therefore, it is very hard for local authorities to resist its demands or "suggestions"; local control of the Education process is diminished in the process.

    We never get something for nothing and we are finding out now that federal dollars come with strings attached.

    I would hope that this is learning experience for parents, teachers and administrators alike.

  • CW 4 years ago

    I recall hearing a Presidential speech directed at children in public schools when I was in middle school in 1991. Then President George W. Bush gave the speech. Not only were we instructed to write about it and discuss it, we were also instructed to write him a letter. What's the difference?

  • John from Ft Mill 4 years ago

    This is simple. The President's paid political staffers worked with the US DOE on the post speech questions. That in and of itself makes this speech political. The fact that there is no advance copy also leads parents to think there may be an agenda at play here. The President provides advance copies of all speeches to the press; how come none has been provided here??

    Too many questions with no legitimate answers to justify the actions thus far. My kids will be at home or opting out of the activity.

  • AmericanbyChoice 4 years ago

    No President in history has beamed himself directly into our children's schools as President Obama is about to do. Previous Presidents have used the airwaves to comment on children's issues or have provided public service announcements. The U.S. Department of Education preK-6 plan asks: How can you help the President ? How has he inspired you? Does anyone think it plausible for a child to say: "I do not want to help this President because I do not like his policies" or ask: "How can I defeat his agenda to negate the nobility of America ?" Of course children will not ask these questions. This is nothing more than an "inartful" attempt at presenting Mr. Obama's agenda. These "educational" techniques are in the best tradition of Authoritarian Statism, Collectivism, Communism or Fascism. As a proud naturalized American I denounce this unconstitutional event & reject the use of my tax dollars to indoctrinate children.

  • CW 4 years ago

    Oh, I get it... Afraid your kids will be brainwashed.

    How simple are the thoughts of man...

  • Common Sense 4 years ago

    CW, it's apparently not hard to brainwash people. Millions voted for Obama. Given the lack of substance in any of his other speeches, I wouldn't want to waste an hour of tax-payer funded education to hear the drivel that will be broadcast.

  • Greg 4 years ago

    Indoctrination worked for Hitler, why not Obama?

  • JSmith 4 years ago

    CW says:
    "I recall hearing a Presidential speech directed at children in public schools when I was in middle school in 1991. Then President George W. Bush gave the speech. Not only were we instructed to write about it and discuss it, we were also instructed to write him a letter. What's the difference?"

    No difference at all, except we hope to learn from our experiences and not make the same mistakes twice. Democrats protested then. Republicans protest now. It was wrong then. It's wrong now.

  • DK 4 years ago

    Kid: But, mommy, my friends said President Obama just told them to stay in school and word hard!? Why did I have to stay home?
    Mommy: That's not the presidents job to tell you that
    Kid: But
    Mommy: No buts! It's over! Now eat your dinner...
    Silence
    Kid: Mommy? How does a person get to be president?
    Mommy: Well, he stays in school, works hard, .....
    Kid: But you ju...
    Mommy: I said no buts! Eat!
    ?????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????

  • CW 4 years ago

    "Common Sense" (and I use that name loosely)

    Millions voted for Bush...were they too brainwashed? How about the thousands who voted for Nader or any other candidate?

    If you have raised your children to be so weak-minded that a few comments from someone you disagree with for whatever reason, can sway them. You, as a parent, are the problem.

  • DK 4 years ago

    Kid: But, mommy, my friends said President Obama just told them to stay in school and word hard!? Why did I have to stay home?
    Mommy: That's not the presidents job to tell you that
    Kid: But
    Mommy: No buts! It's over! Now eat your dinner...
    Silence
    Kid: Mommy? How does a person get to be president?
    Mommy: Well, he stays in school, works hard, .....
    Kid: But you ju...
    Mommy: I said no buts! Eat!
    ?????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????

  • DK 4 years ago

    So sorry. I'm not sure why my post appeared twice.

  • Donna, Education Examiner 4 years ago

    Kids in public schools have already been been given a thorough and liberal indoctrination, so what's the fuss? Why are people just now realizing that this is happening?

  • swi 4 years ago

    why shouldnt he talk to our kids. He made it to the highest level in our country, President of the United States of America, by staying in school and working hard. He is one of the best examples we have of where education can take you. And he's talking to the kids directly, that makes them feel part of the process. I dont know about your kids, but that will be our discussion over the dinner table. If he says something I'm not happy about,I'll explain to them why,which will further discussion and remind them what a free speech society is all about.

  • Jean B 4 years ago

    Wasn't Bush reading the school children in a classroom when a secret service agent whispered in his ear that the Towers had been hit on 9/11?

    Didn't Reagan also speak to children.. and other Presidents?

    What kind of message are we sending to our children by acting horrified that the man holding the highest office in the land is going to take the time to give them some words of encouragement to stay in school and better themselves?

    Only Republican Presidents should be respected and listened to?
    Democratic Presidents are not "valid" ??

    Or is it that black Presidents should not be respected?

    Have we gone mad? My relatives from other countries laugh at us.

  • Cate 4 years ago

    Pres. Reagan spoke to the kids in school, said pretty much the same things as Obama plans to say, but then went on to explain tax policies. Pres. G Bush Snr. also spoke directly to the kids in school. All the presidents in my long memory have gone into schools to speak with the kids and where was Pres. G.W Bush when he was informed of the 9/11 attacks? What sort of President would not tell the kids to stay in school and work hard?

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