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. francis ca

    Way to go Mr. President. I don't see anything wrong with the president give the speech to students,why are some people so scared for the truth and the right things?

    September 4, 2009 06:13 pm at 6:13 pm |
  2. Paul Ross

    Shanneen Barron's comment that "I feel very scared to be in this country with our leadership right now," reflects the ignorance in the greatest nation in the world regarding a President who is simply promoting education. I keep up with the news (both political sides) regularly and most of the anti-Obama sentiment is built on baseless fear and (yes I said it...) racism.

    So far,no one can articulate clearly why they don't agree with our President sharing a few minutes on the value of education...at least without another baseless accusation. It's sad that people like Shaneen Barron fail to see this for what it really is without the myopic, political perspective that many special interests are promoting.

    September 4, 2009 06:14 pm at 6:14 pm |
  3. CNN = Moveon.org

    Anything the President of the United States says is political in some form or another. He is the top politician in the country. You would have to be blind to not see that anything a President says and does is taken as political. I hope many parents keep their kids home that day. Bush would have been criticized as well, by Democrats, if he had done this. There is a definite double standard.

    September 4, 2009 06:16 pm at 6:16 pm |
  4. Dan

    I don't understand how anyone who was here for the nightmare of the second Bush administration could feel fearful of the Obama administration. Were these people paying attention during the Bush abuses? Are they paying attention now? Obviously, there is some sort of breakdown somewhere...

    September 4, 2009 06:16 pm at 6:16 pm |
  5. mark

    the woman from colorado needs to go find the fabled "death squad" and get her out of our misery.

    September 4, 2009 06:16 pm at 6:16 pm |
  6. renee in colorado

    Not everyone in Colorado is wearing tin foil hats out of fear of mind control.

    You crazy conservatives better start protesting the different parents that volunteer in the classroom, they might encourage your child to learn to read. And then there are the organized assemblies where they bring in someone who may read stories or teach the kids about reptiles. They might encourage your children to do something too.

    You people are batty.

    September 4, 2009 06:17 pm at 6:17 pm |
  7. Bonnie in Seattle

    I am sooooooooooo over the far right! What is wrong with these people? How can encouraging children to stay in school, study hard and be upright citizens be political.

    For once will you people leave it alone?! What is wrong with you?

    September 4, 2009 06:18 pm at 6:18 pm |
  8. calvin

    our kids should hear a speech from the country leader. this is how we start the next leaders do what right now all you democrats and right side shut up.

    September 4, 2009 06:19 pm at 6:19 pm |
  9. CO

    Just another attempt by Republican parents to undermine President Obama's legitimacy– now in the eyes of their children.

    September 4, 2009 06:20 pm at 6:20 pm |
  10. Brie

    Tony...I have to agree with you. What happened to the day when the president was simply the leader of our country. Not matter what party he was affliated with, when he spoke it was time for everyone to listen. People should realize that whether you like it or not he is the President of the United States, and whatever he does in his term will have an impact on all of us. It is important for our children to here him speak regardless of what he is saying. Do you really think he would get into justifying his stand on any political issue while addressing children? If that is what people truly believe instead of just being bigots, then you should be sterilized.

    September 4, 2009 06:22 pm at 6:22 pm |
  11. Jen

    this is all stupid.. what is wrong with someone saying somethign to students to encourage them in education? Would it be so different if it was a Celebrity from Hollywood, or maybe Hail the Queen? Or even an ex president? whats the difference. If anyone wants to offer it why refuse it? Wake up!! Tired of Republicans Scare tatics!!!!!!! Tired of Republicans Period anymore!! People do your research before you back a certain person!!

    September 4, 2009 06:23 pm at 6:23 pm |
  12. Chell

    To all those parents who don't want their kids to here The President of THE UNITED STATES speech , shame on y'all ! . This country will never move forward until the old guards die off. Young people this is your moment to tell the old guards "WE WANT A CHANGE".Enough is enough .

    Chell
    Dallas Tx.

    September 4, 2009 06:24 pm at 6:24 pm |
  13. Jim in Indiana

    I would think that cnn would have the guts to show this for what it is. The typical lunatic reaction of hateful republicans for anything this President has or will do. Come on cnn grow a pair.

    September 4, 2009 06:25 pm at 6:25 pm |
  14. francis ca

    It worries me to know that some of this students are not told the trueth, can you imaging what kind of a life they will grow up to, when someone tells them at this stage, what is right is wrong and what is wrong is right. we can do better than this American. Some people will do anything and I mean anything to make sure they are only ones making money. American will never become better if we keep leaving some Americans behind.

    September 4, 2009 06:25 pm at 6:25 pm |
  15. nichelle page

    why are we discussing this issue. Stop and think how ridiculous this is and how it sounds. The people in the world need to pull together and work together. instead we are pulling apart and fighting amongst each other. When we as adults act this way how do you think our children are going to act. I myself would love for President Obama to speak to my 2 boys for encouragement. I don't think he have any intentions, for what?

    September 4, 2009 06:26 pm at 6:26 pm |
  16. catmom

    Once again we have a group of vocal fear mongering right wingers trying to prevent normal Americans from hearing from the duly elected President. Why is their "right" more important than my right or the right of my child to hear a message from the President of the United States?Who is indoctrinate who ? It seems Republicans/conservatives/right wingers and Obama haters are the ones trying to indoctrinate people. They are the ones trying to scare the American people. They are the ones we should be afraid of because they get crazier and crazier by the day.

    If you don't want your child to hear a message from the President of the United States fine, keep them home who really cares, but don't impose your unreasonable feelings or beliefs on me or my child.We have no desire to be ignorant or afraid.

    September 4, 2009 06:26 pm at 6:26 pm |
  17. Mark

    Wake up America. Read the book 1984 and realize that the quthor was only 25 years off.

    September 4, 2009 06:26 pm at 6:26 pm |
  18. Mike in MN

    What's next? On Labor Day is Obama going deliver a talk to all employees accross America? Force employers to have their employees gather around a TV and listen to Obama give a speech to be the best worker they can be and to join a labor union? Maybe make us all write a letter on how we can help Obama reform America into his own image?
    It could start,
    Dear Beloved Leader:

    Stop with the propoganda. Our kids are off limits.

    September 4, 2009 06:27 pm at 6:27 pm |
  19. Deuce

    Obama's version for Adolfs Mein Kampf..

    September 4, 2009 06:28 pm at 6:28 pm |
  20. Independent

    We are in desperate need of another serious political party the repubs are certainly NOT it

    September 4, 2009 06:29 pm at 6:29 pm |
  21. Jamey

    How would you feel if Cheney spoke to your children. Obama is opening this up, more than likely the democrats will not win in 2012, and a more conservative leaning party is in office. DO YOU WANT THEM SPEAKING TO YOUR KIDS ALSO? it goes both ways folks, just as the conservatives learned about bush abusing the power of the political office and setting new precedents, now obama abuses the same power streams and is setting new precedents and beyond... where does it stop...

    Independent Party 2012.

    September 4, 2009 06:30 pm at 6:30 pm |
  22. Bonnie

    What is happening is that racism has finally reared it's ugly head, and is in rare form. It has always been here, but in the shadows, God forbid, someone be labled a racist, but with a black President, Oh my God, all hell has broke loose. People have lost their minds, You allowed Bush to screw you for eight years, nothing said, no protests, no tea baggers, none of that. This man does not want to brainwash your children, and take over the world, you ignorant people. If you are so determined not to acknowledge him as President of the United States, move your ignorant a-- to another country, or deal with it, it is what it is

    September 4, 2009 06:30 pm at 6:30 pm |
  23. Lorry

    I can't believe how utterly rediculous the people of the Republican party have become. This kind of hate really makes me ashamed to be an American. President Obama is our President and if he addresses our children about the benefits of studying hard and staying in school, how can that be a bad thing? Maybe the ignorant people who say they will choose to keep their kids home that day, or not allow them to listen to our President, are afraid that their children will actually become smarter than them, and actually learn that there is a whole new world out there, which is bigger than the tiny, small minds that their parents have. I wish that they could hear how ignorant and stupid they really are when they make such remarks. They should really just be honest and say that they can't stand that the country elected a black President. I am a middle aged, white woman and I was beyond proud when we elected President Obama.

    September 4, 2009 06:30 pm at 6:30 pm |
  24. JL in Wa State

    This is basically the adult version of putting your fingers in your ears, closing your eyes and yelling na na na na na na na. Is that what it's come to? I disagree with you, I didn't vote for you, therefore I do not acknowledge you exist. I will not listen to anything you have to say and I will not cooperate I will simply disregard you, do what I want and obstruct any effort you might make. Yes what a fine lesson to teach children.

    September 4, 2009 06:31 pm at 6:31 pm |
  25. MJ

    The speech was changed from the original version – including the hand-outs. Personally, I would like to think that parents instill values, goals, and achievements.

    September 4, 2009 06:31 pm at 6:31 pm |
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