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. roving

    Unbelievable how dumbed down the lefties on here are.

    Come 2010 we start to get our country back. Get used to it. We dont need a communist telling our children anything

    September 4, 2009 07:52 pm at 7:52 pm |
  2. sgj

    Oh sure but its okay for these nut jobs to slip religion into school under the guise of "ID".

    Its too bad they are all hypocrites, because if they really believed it they would take any flu medicine or vacation. oh well!

    September 4, 2009 07:53 pm at 7:53 pm |
  3. NVa Native

    BTW that "national pride" above all else crap is for fascists.
    Check it out moron.

    September 4, 2009 07:54 pm at 7:54 pm |
  4. MCD, SF, CA

    The President of the United States deserves respect! The right wing nuts have dragged us into the gutter.

    What ever happened to civil discourse? Surely we, as civilized people, have evolved beyond this point?!?

    September 4, 2009 07:54 pm at 7:54 pm |
  5. not blinded

    For the last time...I have never met someone who is disgusted with Obama because he is black. There are real reasons to be afraid of what this rock star is doing to this country. Our children will pay dearly for his waste, and our country will be a long time in recovering from his wasteful ways. Obama is half white and half black. Why do you libs make everything about race instead of issues? Are you afraid of facing truth? The Republicans of the last 8 years endured way more lies and hate filled language from the left than Obama and his reich have encountered. Turnabout is fair play, but sadly now the stories are.....TRUE

    September 4, 2009 07:57 pm at 7:57 pm |
  6. Michael

    Mrs. Barron, your President is an American, elected by a majority of Americans. Just because you lack the information or the intellect to see through the shameful campaign of lies that is the GOP's last-ditch effort to preserve the financial aristocracy in America, does not make it all true.
    When has anyone EVER protested an American president giving an address to schoolchildren? Under Darth Cheney, such dissenters would be blacklisted. Or worse, invited to go bird-hunting with the Dark Lord himself.

    September 4, 2009 08:01 pm at 8:01 pm |
  7. Sarah, Northern Colorado

    The right-wing whackjobs won't shut up about healthcare being something we need to be responsible for on our own, yet when our President prepares to deliver a speech to our nation's future, advising them to stay in school so they can be responsible for their future (imagine that), the right-wing goes crazy, telling our President not to indoctrinate their kids!

    I swear, Canada is looking better and better.

    September 4, 2009 08:03 pm at 8:03 pm |
  8. Jane/Seattle

    We are witnessing an exercise in mass hysteria! Some would say that the campaign of B. Obama was an exercise in bandwagon politics at it's best and I would agree. But it worked! Now we are about to find out if the substance is going to be born or be ignored to our continuing suffering. These folks do not realize how magnificently they are being manipulated. What? Is the president going into the school to prepare tomorrow's workers to be adult terrorists, communists and socialists? (Gasp!) or encourage them about the methods for success in this changing future? HOW DARE THE Chief Executive become concerned or inspire our children as one of the first hands on Presidents I have ever seen. My hope is increasing and I will pay attention to what he shares with them. If I must correct his errors, I will. If I find it great, I will elaborate the teaching moment. Republicans and their confused followers are livng out the FEAR in their hearts. We must educate these folks. Peace

    September 4, 2009 08:04 pm at 8:04 pm |
  9. The Lady

    President Obama is going to try and teach KIDS to do what ==stay and school== and study hard. Mybe this is what is wrong with our school systems and the reason so many are dropping out of school because no one important is taking the time to tell them how important an edcuation is. My granddaughter would love to hear Presitdent Obama speech and I would love for her to hear it, I think a word of encouragement goes a long way no matter who it comes from and especially if it is the President. Parents stop teaching hate to your children, I bet if you asked the children they would love hear his speech.

    September 4, 2009 08:04 pm at 8:04 pm |
  10. Bob

    There's a HUGE attitude difference in Democratic President JFK saying "Ask not what your country can do for you, ask what you can do for your country"; and what has been asked of these children; write a letter about what you can do to help Democratic President BHO....and if you left wing, liberal, elitist, socialist, communists can't see it....that explains why you are democrats.

    September 4, 2009 08:05 pm at 8:05 pm |
  11. Oakland Tracy

    Nothing proves more the need for a dramatically improved educational system in this country than the conservative "reaction" to this speech.

    What's next? Dinosaurs and humans roamed the Earth in harmony? Our world is flat and carried through space by a giant turtle?

    President Obama has done more good for America in 8 months than George Bush II did in 8 years. I hope he addresses our schoolchildren every fall and gives them something to aspire to instead of the usual rhetoric from the peanut gallery.

    September 4, 2009 08:07 pm at 8:07 pm |
  12. Ernie in LA

    Classrooms are none of Obama's business. He has enough problems to keep him in the White House. Leave the kids to parents and teachers. Obama needs to raise his own kids and leave the others alone. What a dork.

    September 4, 2009 08:08 pm at 8:08 pm |
  13. trippingchaos

    I LOATHED President Bush, but if he had made a speech encouraging America's children to work hard in school, I would most certainly have allowed my kids to watch it.

    America, this Republican hatefest is noteworthy in that there's simply not a single thing Pres. Obama can do that the fringe conservatives don't like. If he asked all of the kids in America to bruth their teeth each night, I am sure they would find a "socialist" message in that.

    CNN and other media outlets are giving these nutjobs way too much voice. I'm sure moderate Republicans have no problem with the president urging kids to work hard at school. How about interviewing them?

    September 4, 2009 08:10 pm at 8:10 pm |
  14. Kay Mastro

    Fri.9/4/09

    I believe that Obama should stay out of each and every classroom in the USA with regard to his personal messages. It is an intrusion. He should stick to matters of the Gov't issues and not everyday education issues unless issues infringe on the people's rights under the constitution. I personally wouldn't like it if every day or at any whim my president intrudes in our classrooms. The framing of his introductory statement assumes that everyone in school is bound to think of him when thinking of personal goals.

    September 4, 2009 08:10 pm at 8:10 pm |
  15. Dyan, Minnesota

    Is this seriously what we have come to as a country? The President of the United States of America is vilified for speaking to school children? When I was a child, we were taught to respect the office of the President regardless of who currently occupied it. And helping the President went hand in hand with helping our country.

    It's called patriotism.

    September 4, 2009 08:11 pm at 8:11 pm |
  16. Cynthia - Arkansas

    I am so proud to have an intelligent, articulate President. The Republican party has been totally taken over by the lowest form of humanity. It is really shocking and sad. I don't want my grandchildren to see adults acting like uncivilized beings at town hall meetings. I don't want my grandchildren to know about prejudice and hate. People like Beck, Hannity, Rush have told this junk for so long, I think they are starting to believe it. I strongly suggest some help of mental professionals, because they have gone over the edge. It scares me to think that there are crazies out there being feed these lies everyday. It is just a matter of time before a lot of innocent people end up dead. And they are worried about the President of the United States talking to there kids about getting a good education? Shocking!

    I

    September 4, 2009 08:13 pm at 8:13 pm |
  17. Rami

    What is wrong with the republicans?
    This is beyond stupid. They complain about a president that is interested in education and making our children interested in learning. I guess educating our children will eat at the bottom line of the republican party. They need our children to be stupid to believe all the lies they are spreading.

    September 4, 2009 08:14 pm at 8:14 pm |
  18. rafael

    what a bunch of whinners ...Americans... Mr.Gram said it right
    and that includes both right and left

    September 4, 2009 08:17 pm at 8:17 pm |
  19. lechakan

    You've got to be kidding me.

    I'm an avowed progressive, yet even I, didn't have a problem when George Bush visited classrooms and delivered his various idiot speeches.

    This is just more of the Same Old/Same Old from the Scream Before They Think wing of the GOP.

    September 4, 2009 08:18 pm at 8:18 pm |
  20. Haas

    This is insane. Republicans really are the biggest racists on the face of the planet. There's only one reason they attack everything our president tries to do. They are the ugly American's other countries love to laugh at.

    September 4, 2009 08:19 pm at 8:19 pm |
  21. Jane

    The uproar is that there is a Lesson Plan.

    There should be no lesson plan to tell children what to think. If one reads the "Lesson Plan" one will note that there is no room for any child to disagree with what is being said.

    Our country was based on the foundation of freedom of speech. If children are not allowed to disagree and made to agree with everything that a "leader" tells them then the respect for the Constitution of the United States of America and the spirit of democracy is lost and therefore we are no longer a nation of the " free and the brave", the country has become something else. How sad....

    September 4, 2009 08:19 pm at 8:19 pm |
  22. CRUZAN OBAMA MAMA

    This is absolutely INSANE!!!!

    September 4, 2009 08:23 pm at 8:23 pm |
  23. CRUZAN OBAMA MAMA

    I can't get over how disrespectful these people are. No matter how hated Bush was, no one treated him like this. This behavior has to be because he is the Black POTUS!!!!

    Repubs are really showing their true colors!!!!

    September 4, 2009 08:25 pm at 8:25 pm |
  24. Chipster

    If you're all so afraid that social programs are the same as Socialism (they aren't), then why aren't you trying to end ALL of the public options: Medicare, Public Education, Medicaid, Social Security, Social Security Disability, Children's Health Insurance Programs, College Tuition Programs, Home Energy Assistance, Unemployment Insurance, Railroad Retirement, and even Veterans Benefits. These are all government social programs so let's hear the noise about ending these programs!

    After all, you don't want to continue to be a "Socialist," do you?

    September 4, 2009 08:27 pm at 8:27 pm |
  25. Farrell in Houston

    It's okay to be "endoctrinated" when the Republicans are in office.

    September 4, 2009 08:28 pm at 8:28 pm |
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