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. Angi's mom

    President Obama, pay no attention to those wack-o parents. They have a right to monitor their schools, but I feel sorry for their children.

    September 4, 2009 06:32 pm at 6:32 pm |
  2. Mike C.

    I had to read this twice to make sure what I read was correct.

    The man is the President of the United States, and people are denying their kids the opportunity to listen to him talk about the importance of an education and staying in school.

    Whether or not you agree with his politics, to show that lack of respect for the Office of the Presidency is about as Un-American as you can get. People like this should not be parents Un-freakin-believable!

    September 4, 2009 06:34 pm at 6:34 pm |
  3. ran

    I guess it was okay for bush 1 and Reagen.

    GOP again much to do about nothing .

    September 4, 2009 06:34 pm at 6:34 pm |
  4. Stu

    Our kids will be opting out of viewing the speech. This includes any teacher-led discussions or preaching about how great Obama is or how bad Bush was. Politics doesn't belong in the classroom. As parents, we can watch the speech will be all over the internet, decide for ourselves if it is appropriate for our children to watch, and go from there. We can discuss it as a family. No government nor liberal-leaning school district is going to force this down our throats. The responsibility to instill in our children the values of honesty, integrity, hard work, staying in school and off drugs, etc is ours and we won't surrender it.

    September 4, 2009 06:34 pm at 6:34 pm |
  5. leann

    if it was george w., we wouldn't be having this discussion. he'd be on every tv in the school. that scares me.

    September 4, 2009 06:36 pm at 6:36 pm |
  6. karkri

    And these people call themselves "educators"? Shame on these idiots trying to teach children. I'm glad I don't live in one of these "conservative" states where they are teaching the kids how to be bigots.

    Oh, may be playing Rush Limbaugh's rant in the schools would make these people (I'm ashamed to call these "people") happy!

    September 4, 2009 06:38 pm at 6:38 pm |
  7. Debbie

    So the President cant speak in school but Military Recruiters are allowed in schools!?!?

    September 4, 2009 06:38 pm at 6:38 pm |
  8. Diane

    These people are just mind-blowingly stupid.

    September 4, 2009 06:39 pm at 6:39 pm |
  9. Leah Texas

    I am glad I grew up in a time when people and kids had respect for the President of the USA - people nowadays are downright disgraceful !!!

    Shame on all of you republican hate mongerers.

    God bless the Obama Family and the USA.

    September 4, 2009 06:39 pm at 6:39 pm |
  10. francis ca

    May be all the student now are Republicans and after listening to the president Obama speech they are going to became Democrats? Am I right CNN?

    September 4, 2009 06:39 pm at 6:39 pm |
  11. Melissa

    If they showed half the outrage with Bush, Obama wouldn't have to be cleaning up this mess. In the words of the President himself.... "Spare me the phony outrage."

    September 4, 2009 06:41 pm at 6:41 pm |
  12. Jon in CA

    The Administration sent classroom assignments to the kids:

    Write an essay on "How can I help the President".

    SORRY, this is not acceptable and all the back-peddling and jawjacking from Baghdad Bob (Gibbs) does not change how I feel.

    The most DANGEROUS place anyone can get is between ME and MY CHILD.

    September 4, 2009 06:43 pm at 6:43 pm |
  13. rightsaid

    A small percentage of people don't like it because they want with all their hearts to believe that they voted correctly. For the other guy, rather than "that one".

    Their scared. Ask them why and they have no idea what the reason is.

    September 4, 2009 06:43 pm at 6:43 pm |
  14. center left

    The Republicans has hit rock bottem! The race baiting on Supereme Court Soyomeyer and now the President. This is a all time low in polictics. Vote no for Republicans.

    September 4, 2009 06:44 pm at 6:44 pm |
  15. Raj Kapoor

    This is an angry white woman, along with other trashy folks, guided by stuoid Rebulican right who are spreading this scare and demonstrating utmost stupidity/. The majority of the people elected president Obama, who is trying his utmost in the las few months, and need our support.
    Gary

    September 4, 2009 06:46 pm at 6:46 pm |
  16. lucretia floyd

    Has any asked the question? It is about telling your kids to strive to be the best they can be or is it only about the person telling them.

    Did anyone question the last two Presidents that our kids was FORCED to listen to. Did anyone give us(parents) to opt out then?

    People. If we are all doing our JOB, being GOOD Parents, not spreading HATE! our kids would not take anything from what ANYone says without having learned how to apply it to the beliefs and values taught by their PARENTS,

    Next teachers wont be able to TEACH without our permission for every subject.
    WHO loses? Our kids.

    Hatered is TAUGHT.... It doesn't come naturally!

    September 4, 2009 06:47 pm at 6:47 pm |
  17. pat c

    i am ashamed of how the racist, republican, ignorant americans are treating this president. he is the finest man with higher intelliegence than any republican out there! shame on anyone that listens to glen beck, hannity,limbaugh and especially the evil witch sarah palin that would love to see our president fail. i am proud to have him speak to my children. he is a fine example of what you can become with a good education. shame, shame on you uneducated hicks that believe any differance.

    September 4, 2009 06:50 pm at 6:50 pm |
  18. REA

    What is so scary is that this woman is a parent PICTURE THAT.

    September 4, 2009 06:50 pm at 6:50 pm |
  19. grammarian

    The reason why conservatives are upset about this type of message is simple . . . it is delivered by the first U.S. president to be a black male. At this point in American history, the conservative movement is dominated by a white trash mentality that doesn't want a pro-education message to be delivered by an intelligent black man.

    September 4, 2009 06:51 pm at 6:51 pm |
  20. Wade

    All you libs need to take your "racism" comments and shove 'em.
    Race has nothing to do with this.
    I don't care if Obama speaks about the necessity of having a good education.
    What pisses me off is the Dept. of Educations instructions to the teachers regarding the speech.
    That is what is pissing most of us off.
    Of course we all know the White House wrote those instructions.

    September 4, 2009 06:51 pm at 6:51 pm |
  21. Cheryl from MN

    Maybe these conservative racist parents should be given a copy of the speech to look over before Pres Obama speaks to ease their fears. My goodness, when Pres Bush spoke to our school children the majority of American parents that did not vote for Bush or agree with him, didn't put up this much of a stink. These "Wingnuts" like Palin, Glenn Beck, Sean Hannity and Rush Limbaugh and the rest of the right wing GOP party should just SHUT THE HECK UP! Listen, the rest of the country is just plain sick and tired of all the trouble you are stirring up. I am sick of reading about it and hearing it on the news. Please, just shut up! And when you try to spread fear among everyone about the health care reform and saying it is a socialist program, then what about social security, medicare, unemployment these are all "government-run programs" are they also socialist programs? I bet every single American that is using any one of these programs wouldn't give it up today!

    September 4, 2009 06:52 pm at 6:52 pm |
  22. mike

    I wonder if the left would have been ok with President Bush speaking to the students and then having a 'suggested' lesson plan about how President Bush inspires you? Watch the 'Pledge to Obama' video, the one that was shown in Utah. You left wing zombies truly are sheep.

    September 4, 2009 06:52 pm at 6:52 pm |
  23. Anne E.

    I want my country back - from people like Shaneen Barron.

    September 4, 2009 06:52 pm at 6:52 pm |
  24. m jeff

    The Republican party is sick and need help, stop listening to Beck and Hannity.

    September 4, 2009 06:53 pm at 6:53 pm |
  25. Barrie

    They fear it because he will appear as the intelligent, dignified statesman that he is and this will sharply contrast the bumbling image of the last President in the classroom, with that stupid look on his face while the towers fell.

    September 4, 2009 06:55 pm at 6:55 pm |
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