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. truthsayer

    This is the most ridiculous and offensive statement by Republicans yet. Have these people no shame

    September 4, 2009 05:55 pm at 5:55 pm |
  2. Jake in Michigan

    She feels very scared to be in this country right now? Oh give me a break. Just because you don't agree with his policies you don't need to resort to crazy-talk. Was she scared during the last 8 years? Because we actually did have a president during that time that thought he was King George. People should relax on the hyper-polarized political crap. I am so sick of this. Can't we just improve the way our policies work, work together as citizens and find solutions? Why is it always Us vs Them?

    September 4, 2009 05:55 pm at 5:55 pm |
  3. Yay!

    Ridiculous. It's the President of the US giving a speech! They just don't like that an African American man is telling their inbred children to stay in school. Get over it!

    September 4, 2009 05:56 pm at 5:56 pm |
  4. Drama

    The unnecessary drama from "conservatives" is really beyond the pale. I have never seen anything like it.

    And please, enough with the hypocritical projection. It is more than obvious Greer/Beck/Pawlenty and their followers are using "the opportunity to press a partisan political agenda." The feigned outrage over every little thing is getting ridiculous.

    September 4, 2009 05:56 pm at 5:56 pm |
  5. pat

    If your guy does it, it's okay, but if their guy does it, it isn't? We have one President, and he's President for four years, for all of us. What kind of hysteria is being whipped up, and why?

    September 4, 2009 05:57 pm at 5:57 pm |
  6. jr

    What does Ms. Barron perceive President Obama and his administration to be? Non-American? She needs to keep her children IN school and far, far away from the FOX tee-vee machine.

    September 4, 2009 05:57 pm at 5:57 pm |
  7. Tim

    Get a grip people. You should be more afraid of the movies you let your kids watch, the music you let them listen to and the video games you buy them than the President's speech. All presidents have addressed school children. This is no difference. You go President Barack Obama!!! Man that has a nice ring to it. Can't wait to vote for you again in 2012!!!!

    Obama/Clinton 2012

    September 4, 2009 05:58 pm at 5:58 pm |
  8. Matt - Denver

    I see part of the President's job as being a coach and cheerleader. When the Mr. Obama demonstrates some leadership for our nation’s youth, he gets beat up for it. I suspect that many of the same people who are against his address to our schools would chastise the president if he were to keep quiet on academic responsibility. Many citizens, including some of our leaders, can’t help but show their foolishness by opening their mouths. Mr. President, please keep up the good work. I want my 10th grader to hear what you have to say.

    September 4, 2009 05:59 pm at 5:59 pm |
  9. James

    This is blatant racism at its core. Joe Biden wouldn't have this problem. This isn't about the message.

    Some of White America still object to our President's color. They cannot accept that a Black man is in the highest office in the land and their jealousy coupled with paranoia is eating away at them. Of course they don't want him talking to their kids because the kids might actually respect the President of the US and see behind their parent’s veil of bigotry.

    I'll bet these same parents have no objection to the sexist music videos, addictive video games and violent movies that face they're kids every day. But yet, one speech by our President is going to hypnotize our kids and turn them into socialist? Give the kids a little more credit.

    September 4, 2009 06:01 pm at 6:01 pm |
  10. Matt - Denver

    I see part of the President's job as being a coach and cheerleader. When Mr. Obama demonstrates some leadership for our nation’s youth, he gets beat up for it. I suspect that many of the same people who are against his address to our schools would chastise the president if he were to keep quiet on academic responsibility. Many citizens, including some of our leaders, can’t help but show their foolishness by opening their mouths. Mr. President, please keep up the good work. I want my 10th grader to hear what you have to say.

    September 4, 2009 06:01 pm at 6:01 pm |
  11. Alex

    "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."

    -

    Isn't President Obama also an American? Maybe I'm mistaken. The uproar over this speech is just pathetic. I guess it's bad that our president encourage the students of our country to do their best. And we wonder why our students are miles behind other students of the world.

    September 4, 2009 06:01 pm at 6:01 pm |
  12. Jason from Florida

    Give me a break! Can someone please tell me why Republicans are complaining again? I am so sick of those people who are so ignorant about the issues and all they can do is act like children. I can say two answers: First, President Obama is an African American Male so they don't trust him. Second, President Obama is a Democrat and the GOP has done a great job over the past 20 years smearing the credibility of Democratics.

    Our poor children have to be subject to their ignorant parents. Kids should have the option to experience their own lives and form their own options about things in this world. I have two small boys and I encourage them to learn as much as possible without brainwashing them or shielding them from other people's views.

    Americans, the bad thing about this whole issue with people like Shanneen Barron, is their children are brainwashed and learn to hate. Who should be the parent? The one who sees no color, or political view? or the one who shields their kids from reality and prevents formation of individual options?

    September 4, 2009 06:02 pm at 6:02 pm |
  13. Kel

    He's telling kids to work hard and stay in school. He'll most likely address drop-out rates and how we should take steps to prevent it and decrease the number of students who quit school.

    What's the big deal? He's not creating a cult here people. And if you believe that you are one paranoid person. The people helping push these rumors of instilling certain idealogies in children is ridiculous (cough, cough Republican leaders). Stop lying to people and use fear to make headway politically. Come Tuesday, this will be a non-story because Obama is just telling kids "stay in school". Anyone against that is stupid.

    Get your pants out of a wad and get over yourselves.

    September 4, 2009 06:02 pm at 6:02 pm |
  14. Anne

    Unbelievable. Ignorance, stupidity, and racist tendencies are fueling these lunatics.

    What do they think, that Obama isn't American? I know, I know, that's exactly what they think. But come on, how stupid do you have to be to buy that crap?

    Come to think of it, maybe the conservatives should keep their kids out of school for the event. That way all the democrat's kids will get the lesson on how to succeed while the idiot's kids get to follow in their parent's ignorant footsteps.

    September 4, 2009 06:03 pm at 6:03 pm |
  15. carlos, that one

    Mr. President, please go ahead and give the speech to teach those evil CONServatives, religious nuts and the repugnant reptiles that they should have taken responsibility for their children long time ago to avoid unwanted pregnancies, drop outs, and shooting at schools and other public places.

    CONServatives, they are at the lowest level of society and should stay there......nobody needs them, a disgrace to this country, just look at their family values C-street dwellers, they all should be tested for..............

    September 4, 2009 06:04 pm at 6:04 pm |
  16. Bertha Ragas-O'Neal

    The negative reaction to the president's outreach to our children is disgraceful. I feel that it is fueled by republicans (many of whom are politicians) who, in order to regain political power, are following history and appealing to the racists in this country. Republicans twist everything that the president is trying to do to bring about improvement in this country, into something ugly. They don't believe their on hype. It is just a way to spark the racist and hateful reaction of those who are prone to that kind of thought anyway. They are unintelligent enough to not recognize that they are being manipulated to maintain the status quo and fight against their own interest in defense of their racist posture. As a retired teacher and a citizen of this country, I have never witnessed such a reaction to a president speaking to school children. Although President Bush faced a lot of anger and opposition, the opposition was to his policies, not his general being. You may notice many even refuse to refer to our president as President Obama. They simply refer to him as Obama or use his full name emphasizing his middle name.

    As someone who was raised and loved by his white relatives, our president may not be as quick to recognize the racist reaction to nearly everything he does. It may also be very painful for him to acknowledge. But as the presidential vote indicated, the majority of us want change and we must fight for it and not let it be stopped by people whose interests are served by keeping things the way they are and by people who are so blinded by their own racism as to fight against their own interest. This is not our president's fight alone. In the long run we will all benefit (except those large corporations who are raking in huge profits at the expense of the general population of this country and those politicians who are getting the crumbs from these profits). Actually they will probably also benefit because would become citizens of a stronger and healthier country.

    September 4, 2009 06:04 pm at 6:04 pm |
  17. Concerned in North Carolina

    In my opinion, the uproar should be over the complete and utter lack of respect for the office of the PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES! I was always aware of the right wing lunatic fringe, but never did I realize just how HORRIBLE AND IGNORANT these people are!!! What they are teaxching their children by behaving in this fashion should warrant a visit from child protective services – I doubt CNN will post this as they are becoming increasingly right of center, but one can always hope.....

    September 4, 2009 06:04 pm at 6:04 pm |
  18. Deuce

    Is Barack Obama's Idea to turn Kids, against their own parents?

    September 4, 2009 06:04 pm at 6:04 pm |
  19. republicans hate america

    yep same conservatives that find no problem with prayer in school. you phonies are what is ruining this country.

    September 4, 2009 06:05 pm at 6:05 pm |
  20. Moonbeam

    "Yea, I am very scared, really, really scared that my children might just for change hear something intelligent! "

    September 4, 2009 06:07 pm at 6:07 pm |
  21. Greg

    If Bush had done this they wouldn't be making a fuss.

    September 4, 2009 06:07 pm at 6:07 pm |
  22. Dee

    OK Repugs! Let's put down the crack pipes! Can we say paranoid schizophrenic party!!!! Can we get some more state funded mental hospitals to house these people?? Be afraid, be very afraid. The Pres of the US is going to give our kids a pep talk about studying hard and staying in school. How dare that socialist agenda pushing President! ROFLMAO!

    September 4, 2009 06:09 pm at 6:09 pm |
  23. c

    The right are truly wingnuts. The president has every right to talk to our children and send them a positive, encouraging message. What are people so 'scared' about. They need to look deep inside themselves and figure out their own fear and anger!!! I hope the president displays leadership on healthcare and on the other litany of issues that are weighing down our country. I say forget compromising with the right who only want to see the distruction of Obama. They could care less about the country and its problems. Obama, please just lead and forget compromising. You have control of the house and senate to get stuff passed. Just do it!!

    September 4, 2009 06:11 pm at 6:11 pm |
  24. more immorality from the GOP

    Has anyone seen this video? If not, HOW do you KNOW what it's going to say? Stop speculating and assuming the ridiculous.

    This demonization and bearing false witness against the president to lower his approval ratings has got to stop.

    The GOP's actions should be brought into account. What they're doing is a witch hunt. It is racism. It is anti-Christian. It is evil.

    September 4, 2009 06:12 pm at 6:12 pm |
  25. Scott

    I give up, this country deserves exactly what it gets. I do not understand how anyone can look at this as an attempt to push a political agenda to the apparantly unable to think for themselves youth of America. If you taught your kids well they should be able to make rational decisions on ther own, perhaps that is what you are scared of.

    September 4, 2009 06:13 pm at 6:13 pm |
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