Wednesday, September 2, 2009

News Talk Online September 3, 2009: Horrids! The President Is Going To Address The Nation's Children. Lock Them Up At Home!

The blogosphere and some news organizations are aghast and warning parents that they need to keep their children home from school on September 8. That's the day the president of the United States, they warn, will be addressing the nation's school children to advance his socialist agenda.

Oh my goodness! Here in the United States of America, the president of the United States is indoctrinating future generations. What is this great nation of ours come to anyway? How horrid!

Well, we've grabbed a copy of the letter that the secretary of education sent to the nation's principals urging them to let their students watch the president's address on September 8. It follows in its entirety with no editing. I will let you judge how horrific this is so you can decide for yourself whether or not to send your children to school.

I, for one, hope that the president is successful in stimulating children to study hard this school year. But I guess, for some, that's socialism. After all, the bulk of K-12 education in the United States is publicly funded and run by government entities - it sure smacks of socialism to me!

O.K., I'm through with my sarcasm. Here's the letter - no redactions, no edits - exactly as it was sent out:

Dear Principal:

In a recent interview with student reporter, Damon Weaver, President Obama announced that on September 8 — the first day of school for many children across America — he will deliver a national address directly to students on the importance of education. The President will challenge students to work hard, set educational goals, and take responsibility for their learning. He will also call for a shared responsibility and commitment on the part of students, parents and educators to ensure that every child in every school receives the best education possible so they can compete in the global economy for good jobs and live rewarding and productive lives as American citizens.

Since taking office, the President has repeatedly focused on education, even as the country faces two wars, the worst economic crisis since the Great Depression and major challenges on issues like energy and health care. The President believes that education is a critical part of building a new foundation for the American economy. Educated people are more active civically and better informed on issues affecting their lives, their families and their futures.

This is the first time an American president has spoken directly to the nation's school children about persisting and succeeding in school. We encourage you to use this historic moment to help your students get focused and begin the school year strong. I encourage you, your teachers, and students to join me in watching the President deliver this address on Tuesday, September 8, 2009. It will be broadcast live on the White House website 12:00 noon eastern standard time.

In advance of this address, we would like to share the following resources: a menu of classroom activities for students in grades preK-6 and for students in grades 7-12. These are ideas developed by and for teachers to help engage students and stimulate discussion on the importance of education in their lives. We are also staging a student video contest on education. Details of the video contest will be available on our website in the coming weeks.

On behalf of all Americans, I want to thank our educators who do society's most important work by preparing our children for work and for life. No other task is more critical to our economic future and our social progress. I look forward to working with you in the months and years ahead to continue improving the quality of public education we provide all of our children.


Arne Duncan


Cathleen said...

Please do explain as I am confused - or perhaps my logic is flawed. Is this suggesting, then, that this one speech is essential because the teachers in place today are not capable of instilling this very type of teaching every day? Either way, the answer doesn't look good.

FacetiousMuse said...

Ok the previous comment certainly confused me. Goodness forbid allowing children the chance to be part of history when President Obama addresses (here's the bad thing, I think) the children. How dare he, how dare the President of the United States talk to the children of this country. What is he thinking? Is he trying to encourage our country's children to be successful in school and after in life? Please tell me President Obama is not trying the country's children as though they matter, he can't do that.

How silly can some people can be. We are always telling our children that if they work hard and are good to others they can be anything they want to be. What type of message do you think it sends to children to hear some moronic people don't think children should be addressed by the president. Goodness forbid that real civics are taught in the schools, how dare schools be used in such a way to encourage and cheer our children on.

This is just, well damn silly

Anonymous said...

I'm guessing, Gary, that if Bush had done this you would've mocked those who are concerned as well, right?

This is the FIRST TIME a president has done this. And to be honest, I find it HIGHLY inappropriate. Parents, not the government, should decide when and at what age their children hear presidential addresses- be they pro-obama or anti-obama.

Why couldn't he just address the nation and send out a press release encouraging parents to watch it with their children?

Sorry Gary, but your sarcasm is not only childish, it's terribly misplaced here.

-LD McLellan

Anonymous said...

You need to read this article:

Just highlight, copy and paste into your browser.

It explains about Arne Duncan, Dir. of the Dept. of Education and offers some insights worth thinking about, Gary.

Anonymous said...

If the speech were some part of an ongoing civics program, if it were done in conjunction with a program that detailed the history of American from its inception then maybe it would be appropriate to have a specific presidential address, if not, then what is the point?
But this will not just be a matter of listening to the speech, there are a whole raft of activities that are recommended. Here's a sample:

Before the Speech
Teachers can build background knowledge about the President of the United States and his speech by reading books about presidents and Barack Obama. Teachers could motivate students by asking the following questions:
Who is the President of the United States?
What do you think it takes to be president?
To whom do you think the president is going to be speaking?
Why do you think he wants to speak to you?
What do you think he will say to you?
Teachers can ask students to imagine that they are delivering a speech to all of the students in the United States.
If you were the president, what would you tell students?
What can students do to help in our schools?
Teachers can chart ideas about what students would say.
Why is it important that we listen to the president and other elected officials, like the mayor, senators, members of congress, or the governor? Why is what they say important?

So is it totally inocuous? Or is there an attempt at some sort of indoctrination? Who knows........ well, I guess that depends on the teacher delievering the pre and post speech stuff, and the level of knowledge the children already have about their heritage.
Maybe Presidents should stick to presenting prizes and shaking hands and leave education to educators.

Anonymous said...

Gary, I wish I shared your benign view of this.

James Raymond Reese

Anonymous said...

You're aware, of course, that the DOE sent a worksheet to teachers and children will be asked:

"What do you think the president wants us to do?"
"Does the speech make you want to do anything?"
"Are we able to do what President Obama is asking of us?" ... Read More
"What would you like to tell the president?" (Why not ask the parents?)

Students will also be asked to "write letters to themselves about what they can do to help the president" and they'll be collected and redistributed at a later date by the teacher "to make students accountable to their goals". Note, they will not be asked what they can do to help their country, their fellow Americans, their families or themselves, but rather "the president".

The concern could be that Obama's teleprompter will go on the fritz and he'll wing it? Seriously, parents have the right to know what's in the curriculum - in this case, Obama's speech, and decide whether or not they want their child to participate.

Adele McConnell

Anonymous said...

Get OVER Your Hate. Hate does nothing but divide this country and blinds you to any postive Obama is doing. Shame on you nay sayers for your obstruction!!

Boaz Frankel said...

Dear President Obama

Very clever of you to start your Presidential campaign towards a 2nd term in the Whitehouse. Clever yes..but to aim your political agendas towards minors is just not appropriate. What's next ? Vote for me when you turn 18 ????

Anonymous said...

LOL Boaz Excellent point! Acorn at work

Anonymous said...

Anonymous said: "Get OVER Your Hate. Hate does nothing but divide this country and blinds you to any postive Obama is doing. Shame on you nay sayers for your obstruction!!"

This is what liberals (not progressives) do when caught: they back up, punt, and accuse those with an opposing view of being "haters."

In actuality, our country has always been divided. That's what the revolutionary war was about: dividing us from England. That's what the civil war was about (states autonomy vs. governmental controls).

Where was this call for agreement and unquestioning cohesiveness during the Bush years, eh?

To be frank, I find Obama to be the divider. He divided the races the moment he said his face didn't look like the guys on our currency; he divided our country racially the moment he refered to his grandmother as a "typical white woman" (whatever THAT means); and he has been dividing the economic classes by telling the "poor" that the "rich" owe them and thus should be penalized for success.

His health plan divides according to age and illness (Dr. Obama even went so far as to say diabetes is a preventable disease- even though type 1 diabetics have NO choice in the matter).

But he's also divided in some truly nefarious ways as well. If you, or I, "forgot" to pay taxes or took deductions off of our income tax which were illegal deductions, where would we be?

Would we be in a cushy government position, like Rangel or Geithner? Or would our asses be in jail?

Don't give me this "criticism of the President is dividing us" bullcrap!

It's YOUR man who is dividing us!

-LD McLellan

Cathleen said...

for those that think this is so wonderful... were you all for it when Bush was proposing this as well?

Cathleen said...

the above link is just a shortened version of this: "" (cut and paste entire text between the quotations into your browser