September 4th, 2009
05:12 PM ET
8 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 ยป

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

    This is the USA and Obama has been elected by the MAJORITY of the people. What's the problem? Growing I was made to watch when the president spoke. He runs the country...or do we allow these racist little gnats that are at all of the town hall meetings to take "their country back". Really people, it's time to stand against this sick "ringe" of the right wing and tell them that they live here and he IS their president as get over it!

    September 4, 2009 08:28 pm at 8:28 pm |
  2. mollygonz

    I can't believe that this argument is even taking place. I am overseas with the military in Japan and am wondering if I ever want to to come back to the states. I am just astounded that people are acting this way over the President's address to make them better people, to get them self motivated. Seriously, what is going on? Everyone should be supportive of this. He is not forcing anyone to watch it..why are people acting like he is? Be open minded for once people! We have the most caring President that we've had in a long time. Take advantage of it instead of fighting it!

    September 4, 2009 08:30 pm at 8:30 pm |
  3. DAVE

    seeing as how we are home schooling instead of subjecting my kids to all the craziness that is now public school... it will be a cold day in you know where when my kids go to public school or private school for that matter..... Where i live the illegal population is draining classrooms of financial and instructional oppurtunities that should be reserved for children who belong in this country...... So come Tues. the 8th my girls will not have to worry about this political stunt.....

    September 4, 2009 08:31 pm at 8:31 pm |
  4. Susan

    This is as insane as the lies about death panels. When I was in public school, we watched the first Gulf War on CNN – want to read into that? How about "under God" in the pledge? That's not EVEN a "subliminal message" but our little kids, of all religions, stand up and say it like zombies. Or is the problem a black man promoting education? Or is the problem that a Democrat is President?

    September 4, 2009 08:32 pm at 8:32 pm |
  5. annie against biased news

    Let's get rid of the national board of education and let schools be handled by the states!

    REMEMBER our children can't say a prayer in school but they are expected to worship obama!

    September 4, 2009 08:39 pm at 8:39 pm |
  6. Al Bluengreenenbrownenburger

    I am not bothered that the right has become a massive carnival freakshow, a torch-and-pitchfork mob that is flinging around the wildest lies they can think of. I do think, however, that they are so whacked out on their own wild hatreds that they will start becoming violent sooner or later. Right-wing terrorism is becoming more and more probable in this country.

    September 4, 2009 08:43 pm at 8:43 pm |
  7. bill

    I just read the very low ACT scores that the kids in my state scored this year, and feel that any one, and maybe they might listen to the president, that underscores the need to stay in school, study, develop good habits, and make good grades just might help.

    The Republicans and the Christian conservative right have opposed EVERYTHING, and I mean EVERYTHING that the Obama administration has attempted to do since he took office.

    Reagan, and both Bushes spoke to the school kids and the conservatives said nothing. These people do not want to be bipartisian or an any way support anything that this adminstration attempts to do. In my book, they are putting their narrow minded political morality in front of what is best for this country. They also show that they are racial bigots. I am a white southerner and these people make me sick to my stomach.

    September 4, 2009 08:44 pm at 8:44 pm |
  8. Tony in Maine

    The wingnuts have followed Beck off the rails.

    September 4, 2009 08:44 pm at 8:44 pm |
  9. Concerned

    One school district is airing it on Wednesday to allow the parents a chance to preview it on Tuesday evening. I think that is fabulous!!

    September 4, 2009 08:44 pm at 8:44 pm |
  10. Marissa

    I am so glad I quit the Republican party . How come you people had no problem with Bush going to schools. Whats wrong dont want a black man talking to your precious kids? Grow up ..... Neocons frankly make me sick.

    Bush the baby killer and his henchman Cheney that you supported. Jesus must be laughing his rear off

    September 4, 2009 08:46 pm at 8:46 pm |
  11. toohip

    I think I'm going to be sick. Shielding your kids from a speech by the President? Where are all those Republican voices stating that "he is our President, and we should respect him?"

    Words, of course, used only to deflect criticism of Bush.

    September 4, 2009 08:47 pm at 8:47 pm |
  12. Jackson

    It really saddens me that FOX news and their ilk have stooped to this level. I can't believe there are people in this country that are so stupid they would complain about this speech.

    September 4, 2009 08:48 pm at 8:48 pm |
  13. Principal AH

    As an elementary school principal, I am thankful that President Obama is taking the time to speak to school children and reiterate the message that education is important. I respect the role of the presidency and would appreciate a positive "back to school" message from any President regardless of my personal political affiliation.

    September 4, 2009 08:49 pm at 8:49 pm |
  14. truthsayer

    CNN you are carrying water for right wing hate groups and zealots, ie the GOP

    September 4, 2009 08:50 pm at 8:50 pm |
  15. linda from south dakota

    teh trouble with some americans is they are racist,,, and not comfortable with president obama,,, well its time to wake up and listen not look( at his color) he makes perfect sense and a president that wants to talk with the kids is OK,,,

    September 4, 2009 08:51 pm at 8:51 pm |

    Why should the parents of school child have objections to the President of this country speaking to any child about staying in school and finding a way to help their country and their President?? WHAT KIND OF PEOPLE ARE TRYING TO TAKE OUR COUNTRY OVER?
    I hear people on the news say they don't want the President talking to their children... WHY? I personally think it all has to do with race. No other reason. How sad that some people who have only hatered in their heart would pass it on to their children... But then I guess it was taught to them by their parents. Will this country ever change??? At this rate, probably not.... Ever...

    September 4, 2009 08:53 pm at 8:53 pm |
  17. linda from south dakota

    teh trouble with some americans is they are racist,,, and not comfortable with president obama,,, well its time to wake up and listen not look( at his color) he makes perfect sense and a president that wants to talk with the kids is OK,,, its ok to tell them to stay in school,, and get a good education,, its ok, for them to hear this,, many kids are not stupid,, they know and listen to news,,, and its true to get a good education to make something good of your life,, so whats the problem????.. people who arent ready for change,, its time to wake up and SMELL The COFFEE<<<<< meaning,, let the president talk with these kids,, and let them make up their minds,, ,,,, THEY ARE THE FURTURE

    September 4, 2009 08:54 pm at 8:54 pm |
  18. maf

    Have you Americans lost your minds????

    Since when has supporting your PRESIDENT become UNPATRIOTIC?!

    Speaking to your children about putting in real effort and taking responsibility for their own learning is an indoctrination towards being responsible, independent ADULTS, something which so many of you are not being at the moment.

    To put up such a fuss over a back-to-school chat from President Obama, shows me that you are having real trouble with CHANGE! Get over it!

    September 4, 2009 08:54 pm at 8:54 pm |
  19. Jon Krieger

    Here we go with another Obama blunder!It isn't bad enough that the liberal media foists him on us everywhere we look,now he's trying to invade our classrooms!But in a way it makes sense:schoolchildren maybe the only group of people left gullible enough to buy the horse manure he calls "progress"!

    September 4, 2009 08:55 pm at 8:55 pm |
  20. Sharon Leary

    I spent a year in Iraq.. this is exactly the same thing as the Emom's telling the "illiterate" population Iraq what to think.. HOW dare the Federal Government reach in and DICTATE what is being shown / discussed in our classrooms. The accompanying lesson plan that causes my greatest concern.

    I swore to protect and defend the Constituion, against ALL enemies for and domestic. There is an domestic enemy his name is Obama and he currenly resides at 1600 PA Ave.

    September 4, 2009 08:59 pm at 8:59 pm |
  21. Nini

    The president addressing the school children is not a problem; the president indoctrinating our children is what I have a problem with. What the White House originally was going to do was clearly a start of brain washing our youth.

    One more reminder to our President the pledged is made to our republic and constitutions and not the president, unfortunately people in Hollywood need to learn that.
    This is how you create dictatorship.

    CNN please let me know why you are not asking the president the tough questions that needs to be asked?

    September 4, 2009 08:59 pm at 8:59 pm |
  22. Grace

    It is truly sad to see our nation turns into "self-inflicted stupid nation". Lots of crazy talks from some educated and elected GOP leaders. I know for sure other countries just love to laugh at USA going downhill with these GOP nuts going nuttier daily. Our next generation will have some really stupid stories to read when they study political science in the future.

    September 4, 2009 09:00 pm at 9:00 pm |
  23. Peter

    I WISH THERE IS CURE FOR STUPIDITY!. If you don`t want your kids listening to the president keep them home and listen to your defacto leaders Rush, Hannity and Becks !!! Is the republican party a cult or what? the call themselves conservatives but they are not!! stop hiding UNDER THE BIBLE BECAUSE YOU LIE, KILL INNOCENT MEN AND WOMEN WITH FALSE WARS. YOU SUPPORT INSURANCE COMPANYS WHEN THEY SCREW THE SICK, WHEN WILL YOU UNDERSTAND THE TRICKLE DOWN THEORY NEVER WORKED AND IT WILL NEVER. ECONOMICALLY WE ARE IN BIG TROUBLE INTIATED BY YOUR STUPID REGANOMETRICS!!!!

    September 4, 2009 09:06 pm at 9:06 pm |
  24. Ricco

    ENOUGH IS ENOUGH!!!!!!!!!!!!!! This a speech to our kids about staying in school!!!! WTH is wrong with you people. If my memory is correct we got that same speech from the 1st President Bush and President Ronald Regan. So tell why is this speech from our 1st Black president so bad????????? That is the true question!!!!!!!!!!

    September 4, 2009 09:08 pm at 9:08 pm |
  25. once upon a horse

    This is just another whine from the far right against ANYTHING President Obama does......want proof? How about the whines

    Doesn't wear a tie
    Mrs Obama shouldn't wear shorts or have her bare arms out
    Took his wife out to dinner
    Took his kids with him to Europe
    Didn't get his dog from a homeless shelter
    Had a picture of himself with his feet propped up on his desk
    Bowed to a Saudi king
    Took a vacation
    Wore a White Sox jersey to the All Star game in St. Louis and not a Cardinal one
    and the list can go on and on but I would run out of room here.
    He wants to talk to children about education and the far right WHINES about that too.
    Anybody see a pattern here? I know I DO!

    September 4, 2009 09:09 pm at 9:09 pm |
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