September 4th, 2009
05:12 PM ET
4 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. Confused

    Maybe all these scared conservative parents and politicians would rather their children NOT work hard and NOT stay in school. Then they won't have a job or an education. Then who's going to pay for their survival, or health care? Maybe they will have to go on welfare, or turn to the government? But wait, that would be socialist. Get real folks.

    September 4, 2009 05:45 pm at 5:45 pm |
  2. MaxerCat

    What I'm scared of are these delusional, misinformed and misguided citizens making such outrageous remarks because they believe this crap that the Republican party and the conservative news and radio programs that keep spreading this nonsense. I'm not at all scared about President Obama telling kids to stay in school and reap the rewards of an education.
    I don't know how these people sleep at night, oh that's right they will go to church on Sunday and pray for forgiveness and start anew on Monday
    spreading their lies....

    September 4, 2009 05:45 pm at 5:45 pm |
  3. mjm

    I read the "lesson plan" this morning and it seemed as if it were crossing a line. It wasn't a "stay in school" feel, it had more of a "press a partisan political agenda" feel to it.

    While most schools push a liberal agenda anyway, these are kids in grade school. They should be off limits.

    I know presidents have talked to schools in the past, this was different.

    I'm glad they change their "lesson plan".

    September 4, 2009 05:46 pm at 5:46 pm |
  4. JAY

    what a dumb country this is...

    September 4, 2009 05:46 pm at 5:46 pm |
  5. vic nashville , Tn

    My dear CNN I need help from you

    I want John King to display all school districts boycott Obama’s speech on his magic board
    Because I don’t want to send my daughters those school districts

    September 4, 2009 05:46 pm at 5:46 pm |
  6. Enzo - Canada

    Honestly, the Repubs in your country are making the whole nation look bush-league. What a joke! You have no idea how stupid (I don't generally use that word but it's the only word that seems appropriate) they are and are perceived to be by sane people. If these people don't smarten up (literally), they'll be the death of your country and, by extension, ours.

    September 4, 2009 05:46 pm at 5:46 pm |
  7. Bruce

    Who is Van Jones, the Green Czar and why doesn't CNN cover his background?

    September 4, 2009 05:47 pm at 5:47 pm |
  8. Martha

    I am not a native from this country but I think that is ridiculous of those parents who opposed their children from listening to their own President speech. I think there is no patriotism in this country and respect. In our country since we are little we learn to respect and love our nation and its authority. That is why there is authority. Thank you for letting me express my feelings.

    September 4, 2009 05:47 pm at 5:47 pm |
  9. Stacy (PA)

    I think it's wonderful that President Obama wants to take time to encourage our children to stay in school and get a quality education. Reagan and Bush both did it. Why is it when Obama does the same thing some parents are loosing their minds. I do believe it has something to do with race and the Rush Limbaugher's feeding on white people fears of being taken hostage by a black man. Right now Obama can agree with the Republicans and they'll probably change their stance on their agrument just as long as it's the opposite of what he says.

    Obama, you are doing a wonderful job. Keep your head up and continue changing the world for the better.

    September 4, 2009 05:48 pm at 5:48 pm |
  10. Margaret Ekwan

    The fear of the so-called conservative parents to puull their children out of school when President Obama makes his speech to school children is a racist attitude, disguised as political conservativism. George Bush made speeches and read to school children, and his communication with school children was motivated by his political views and policies behind his administration's "No Child Left behind" program. These"conservative" republican Americans did not demand to see Gorge bush's speech before he made it, and they did not even think of pulling their children out of school on the day of Bush's speech to school children! It is immature on the part of these so-called republican concervatives to show such upsurd and unfounded fear based on their assumptions that president Obama wants to misdirect school children. More appalling is when one of those stupid republican hatemonger said Obama has "Cultic" personality on CNN on Thursday on Anderson Cooper's program! Mr. Anderson Cooper, and CNN, why do you allow such childish and ignorant people on your respectable NTEWORK to insult the intelligence of other Americans? Most of your republican guests just like to shout over their opponents during discussions on CNN and I am sure there are better replicans out there who can respect your viewers' intelligence, and respect the president of the United States by not calling him derogative names that show anger and failure to accept him as president simply, may be he is not the maintstream person such republicans don't want to get to know better.

    September 4, 2009 05:48 pm at 5:48 pm |
  11. lynn

    I think parents with their school can come up with a lesson plan without the President wanting to be hands on in every persons life.

    September 4, 2009 05:49 pm at 5:49 pm |
  12. Rita

    What a sad state we are in when paranoid parents would rather poison their own kids minds by making them think that listening to the president would be bad even though the speech is designed to motivate our kids to do better in school.

    These angry parents should take a good look in the mirror as it is they who are poisening their kids minds breeding mistrust and passing on their hate.

    September 4, 2009 05:50 pm at 5:50 pm |
  13. D. Tree

    Its really sad that republicans are getting away with making such insulting remarks about our president. He deserves some respect as our democratically elected leader. Instead these people are allowed to infer he's un-American, or outright call him a Socialist. Its disgusting.

    But its also sad, because its so obvious how much pain and confusion these people are suffering from the election of our first black president.

    September 4, 2009 05:50 pm at 5:50 pm |
  14. SG

    Dear Republicans, There are more than just white people in this country. Finally, one of the non-whites is President. I sugget you get over it because while he is the first, he most certainly won't be the last. I hope my child's school has the President's address. Obviously, the current President values and appreciates education much more than the last President because he had to earn it. He wasn't born with the silver spoon in his mouth.

    September 4, 2009 05:51 pm at 5:51 pm |
  15. T'SAH from Virginia

    OMG – this is sooooo UGLY and EMBARASSING to the world.

    Everything President Obama does is taken all out of proportion!!! It was OKAY to speak about education at an NAACP event – that was okay because MAYBE in the eyes of SOME Americans, the problem exists among African American children ONLY!!! White America STAYS in school and does not have to be reminded to do so!!!

    Are these FEW so-called AMERICANS in an up roar now because they feel that a message so important about education to their children should not come from an AFRICAN AMERICAN -or even better, an African American PRESIDENT – a man who BEAT all odds and became the first HISTORICAL President of all times??

    September 4, 2009 05:51 pm at 5:51 pm |
  16. yuri

    Mostly, it is the cunning conservatives who are over-reacting to BHO's school speech. But it was not necessary for BHO to address the schools. A radio broadcast mighrt have been less troublesome.

    September 4, 2009 05:51 pm at 5:51 pm |
  17. gerryluimes

    Remeber the "killing of the electric car"? A fine and early ivention that could have gone far if "cerain Interests" had not revolted.
    We are seeing the same attitude by "certain interests" to kill good intentions by a very much involved and hard working president.
    Who is "scared' and why. Has the country gone bonkers?

    September 4, 2009 05:51 pm at 5:51 pm |
  18. Andy from CA

    Is Shanneen Barron scared of the leadership, scared of the message, or scared of the messenger? This is yet another example of an American citizen in double speak. As Conservative types are fond of saying:- "Don't let the door hit you and your kids in the butt on the way out."

    September 4, 2009 05:52 pm at 5:52 pm |
  19. Ken in NC

    I think some of what a President Obama was going to say may have been objectionable to Republican children and their Republican parents because he is so pragmatic, smart, liberal and so Black. You may note that those same Republicans and their kids had no objections to former President Bush reading to elementary school kids in Florida from an upside down school book. Just wait until some realize President Obama is left handed. They will really get off on that. They don't understand that there is no difference in a left handed and a right handed ball point pen.

    September 4, 2009 05:52 pm at 5:52 pm |
  20. jim

    Leave the children alone!

    September 4, 2009 05:52 pm at 5:52 pm |
  21. deb

    I cannot believe all the hysteria the GOP and insurance companies have caused these past few months with all of the lies and misinformation regarding Obama's so-called "socialist" agenda. It is truly pathetic and says a lot about the ignorance and stupidity of the American people. Obama is a breath of fresh air (after Bush/Cheney) and we need to GIVE HIM A CHANCE. What has happened to compassion? It's really ironic that conservatives consider themselves "Christian" but yet lack any compassion for their fellow Americans.

    September 4, 2009 05:53 pm at 5:53 pm |
  22. Tim

    People need to get a grip. Stop acting like children. Every President has spoken to school children. This is no different. You need to be afraid of the video games you are allowing your kids to play more than a speach from the President of the United States, Barack Obama. Man that has a nice ring to it, doesn't it:). You go mr Presindent. I'm voting for you again in 2012!!!!

    September 4, 2009 05:53 pm at 5:53 pm |
  23. What!?!?!?

    Who are these people who are "afraid" of this country now with Obama in the White House? Did he casually start a war to make money? Did he spy and wiretap our phones? I'm scared of all the tin foil hat people who are projecting what W did wrong on Obama who wants people to succeed. He isn't suggesting we round up people and put them in concentration camps (like Coulter), he isn't mad with power (Cheney) and he worked hard to make something of himself without a father pulling strings (W) to buy his way to the presidency. People of afraid of someone who is thoughtful, rational, curious and diplomatic? W told us what to do and people who didn't like it were arrested. GET REAL AMERICA.

    September 4, 2009 05:54 pm at 5:54 pm |
  24. oknfl

    The conservatives have finally gone off the deep end. What is scary in this country right now is the extreme right and their agenda to cause another civil war or the assasination of our first black president. Spreading hate and fear is their goal. I am an American also and I live in fear that these terrorists ( the extreme right) will suceed in destroying this country.

    September 4, 2009 05:54 pm at 5:54 pm |
  25. Mark L.

    These are idiots protesting about this. No one made a stink when George Bush visited a school during 911 and didn't stop reading a book to the kids.
    These conservative parents that call themselves "American" are being very unamerican when they oppose anything our President does.

    September 4, 2009 05:54 pm at 5:54 pm |
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