September 4th, 2009
05:12 PM ET
5 years ago

Educators take heat over Obama school speech

The White House says President Obama's address next week to school children isn't a policy speech.
The White House says President Obama's address next week to school children isn't a policy speech.

(CNN) – The White House found itself on the defensive Friday over what would ordinarily be considered the most uncontroversial of events: a back-to-school speech for children.

The White House said the address, set for Tuesday, and accompanying suggested lesson plans are simply meant to encourage students to study hard and stay in school.

Many conservative parents aren't buying it. They're convinced the president is going to use the opportunity to press a partisan political agenda on impressionable young minds.

"Thinking about my kids in school having to listen to that just really upsets me," suburban Colorado mother Shanneen Barron told CNN Denver affiliate KMGH. "I'm an American. They are Americans, and I don't feel that's OK. I feel very scared to be in this country with our leadership right now." Video Watch how some parents are upset »

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Filed under: President Obama
soundoff (300 Responses)
  1. Jeff S.

    Whats socialist about telling kids to study hard and have goals. You want to talk about indoctrination? The right wing zombies who spew any propaganda that Glenn Beck, Sean Hannity or Rush Limbaugh tell them to. Wake up. Those guys are modern day Josef Goebbels and you are so blinded by Fox rhetoric you can't see it. You guys are sheep being herded in slaughter. You think the GOP cares about any of you? They dont have a answer for any of the problems that they created. They just have hate.

    September 4, 2009 05:13 pm at 5:13 pm |
  2. TONY

    For heaven's sake, what has happened to us? This is Republican nonsense at it's finest.

    September 4, 2009 05:14 pm at 5:14 pm |
  3. Sue in Colorado

    What's scary is that Shanneen Barron is a parent. Talk about a bigot!!!!

    September 4, 2009 05:15 pm at 5:15 pm |
  4. JW in JH

    In an era of stupid manufactured controversies, this is definitely one of the stupidest.

    September 4, 2009 05:15 pm at 5:15 pm |
  5. JOEDEM

    Why doesn't the entire racist Republican Party move to Cuba...You guys will be much happier there....

    September 4, 2009 05:17 pm at 5:17 pm |
  6. Ellen

    At least Republicans have gotten us off the scent of Healthcare Reform. They'll do anything to avoid the subject! God Bless the U.S.A and President Obama!

    September 4, 2009 05:17 pm at 5:17 pm |
  7. Doug

    The President is incapable of doing right in these people eyes.

    He is working twice as hard and doing twice as much as Bush veer did in his first few months (or years), but all they see is Democrat and African American, bring out heir deepest source(s) of fear and anger.

    Shameful.

    September 4, 2009 05:17 pm at 5:17 pm |
  8. Kerry J

    Fear and ignorance are alive and well in America. I thought we were over the 50s. As a parent, I think we should be more concerned about violence and drugs in the schools instead of a motivational speech by the President of the United States!

    September 4, 2009 05:17 pm at 5:17 pm |
  9. Samuel

    "I'm an American. They are Americans, and I don't feel that's OK. I feel very scared to be in this country with our leadership right now."

    Where were you women when Bush and Reagan addressed our school children? These Republicans are just disgusting.

    September 4, 2009 05:17 pm at 5:17 pm |
  10. rickymo

    racism, pure and simple.

    September 4, 2009 05:18 pm at 5:18 pm |
  11. Nero

    This just shows how important it is that Obama talk to our nations children about the importance of Education and staying in School. I have never seen such ignorance and stupidity than what is coming out of the mouths of some Republicans today! Please President Obama, tell our kids to learn so that we can erradicate the ignorance of the Republican Party in future generations!

    September 4, 2009 05:18 pm at 5:18 pm |
  12. RB in FL

    Wow, a President who wants our children to succeed and do well at school. Make goals and work towards them so AMERICA can be a better place. The outcome is maybe we can move up a notch in global education.

    But, there are those that would rather be ignorant and think that our President is going to put subliminal messages in his speech. It's time for American to GROW UP!

    September 4, 2009 05:19 pm at 5:19 pm |
  13. Lynette

    Sounds like the suburbs of Colorado are full of paranoid, uneducated wackos!

    September 4, 2009 05:19 pm at 5:19 pm |
  14. yougottabekidding

    These parents who are afraid of the President should put there kids in foster care. They are too stupid to be caring for children... What a bunch of baloneys?

    September 4, 2009 05:22 pm at 5:22 pm |
  15. PGraber

    My parents taught me and I taught my children that you are guilty by association. I personally do not want a man who rubbed elbows with Chicago thugs all his life talking to my grandchildren. Stay out of our business.

    September 4, 2009 05:22 pm at 5:22 pm |
  16. J.P.

    Even George Orwell would be shocked by the audacity of this man.

    It isn't the speech that bothers me. It's the accompanying lesson plan that causes my concern. I pledge allegiance to help NO president, left or right, rep or dem, Bush or Barack. I swore an oath to the constitution, NOT to any one president.

    Obama and statism is very quickly losing the support of a free people, and so now he focuses his attention on a young captive audience.

    If you're not alarmed by this, you obviously slept through history class.

    September 4, 2009 05:22 pm at 5:22 pm |
  17. Reagan was wrong

    I'm sorry, but you just can't take any Republicans seriously anymore. Spending more than a few seconds laughing at their latest craziness is an utter waste of time.

    They get their news ONLY from FOX "news" and they believe everything that GOP leaders say. The stuff said by GOP leadership has been continually debunked by non-partisan websites like FactCheck.org, and viewers of FOX "news" are consistently among the most misinformed people.

    These people are no longer tethered to reality, and they believe things that are simply not true. The only thing left to do is to move on without them.

    September 4, 2009 05:23 pm at 5:23 pm |
  18. marie

    Initially the president was to give a speech, and have students write letters telling how they could help the president. Then it was re-worded suggesting kids write letters pertaining to their goals. I think this is political.... what isn't when it comes to politicians. If you can win the kids, you can win the parents. After all, what mean parent could be against government controlled healthcare if their child is for it; after all, the kid wants to help the president. P.S. I voted for the president.

    September 4, 2009 05:23 pm at 5:23 pm |
  19. asdsf

    just as i thought you lefties at cnn didn't tell the whole story....the lesson was to ask kids to write about how they can help the messiah indoctrinate them into his litte cult....parents got wind of it and said hell no!! stay away from my kids!!!!

    typical cnn....cafferty's story didn't tell the whole story either!!!!

    but what else is new with cnn!!!!!!!

    September 4, 2009 05:24 pm at 5:24 pm |
  20. cm

    What I don't understand is this. When the war in Iraq first began it was televised. Students were watching it unfold on live television. Shock and Awe..remember that? People were DYING at the moment yet it was on in classrooms all across the United States. Yet, President Obama is being called to task for wanting to talk about education and gearing up for school. The right wing fanatics are insane. It's OK to televise war..but not a speech by our President!

    September 4, 2009 05:24 pm at 5:24 pm |
  21. Va 4 Obama

    WOW! What a bunch of buffoons these Conservatives are!! Where was their outrage when W. and Dick were circumventing the Constitution and spending BILLIONS of dollars and wasting American lives in Iraq and Afghanistan!! That's when they should have been "afraid". Pres. Obama is merely making a speech telling kids to study hard and stay in school. It's truly frightening how stupid some Americans are!!!!

    September 4, 2009 05:24 pm at 5:24 pm |
  22. Big D

    Paranoid right wing lunatics – a.k.a. the Republican Party.

    God forbid that children be given a message to work hard and study.

    Obama is probably the most sensitive and caring President that we've had in a while, which makes the outrageous name-calling and protesting of the of the right wing scumbags all the more transparent.

    Most of these people are hard core racists. They'd never admit it, but I grew up with these types and that is what they are.

    September 4, 2009 05:25 pm at 5:25 pm |
  23. Lisa M.

    Man oh man. this woman from colorado is so off the beam. i feel for her children. long and short of it-some white folks do not like having an africian american president. so sad.

    September 4, 2009 05:25 pm at 5:25 pm |
  24. Trang, Fremont, CA

    Wow. Talk about paranoia. Thank God Republicans are not in charge. Everything little thing makes them jump.

    September 4, 2009 05:25 pm at 5:25 pm |
  25. WL -- Georgia

    How silly!! Is there anything President Obama could do that would not be used for an excuse for his critics yelling and screaming. So much hate -- it is scary.

    September 4, 2009 05:25 pm at 5:25 pm |
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