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. ib

    To Jeff S.; look who's talking; read your own posts. And the rest of you libs have the nerve to talk about spewing hate when that is all you have done for the past 8 yrs. YOu sure can dish it out but you can't take your own medicine. PATHETIC

    September 4, 2009 07:22 pm at 7:22 pm |
  2. Anthony

    SO it sounds like the Republicans wish for the future generations of this country to be UNEDUCATED and WITHOUT HEALTH CARE!
    I guess they need to breed the next crop of young men and women to ship off to their next War of Choice...

    This is only YEAR ONE folks.. cant wait to see how many other things these guys throw out in the next few years, all in attempts to make our president fail... its mind blowing.

    Republicans have completely turned into the party of HATE, HYPOCRISY, and IGNORANCE...

    September 4, 2009 07:23 pm at 7:23 pm |
  3. Twiana

    It is the year 2009 and time for a lot of American's to wake up. Parents need to accept the fact that some childrens focus is on obtaining a dollar "BY ANY MEANS NECESSARY". What President Obama (lets give the man his due respect) is doing is providing the students with a speech, such as the one parents give to their children, letting them know how important it is to stay in school and obtain a quality education. Are some out there afraid that his knowledge will actually reach a deaf ear and a child will change his or her life for the better? I think that what some Americans need to do take off the blinders. Barack Obama is the President of the United States of America...and that is a fact. Instead of trying to beat him, they need to join him at making our country a safe and better place for all of us to live. Let us not forget that the words that come out of his mouth on Tuesday are words that his two daughters have heard over and over again. It may be a lecture to some but it will definitely be a wake up call for others.

    September 4, 2009 07:24 pm at 7:24 pm |
  4. Lynn

    These Rethugs get more and more crazy every day.

    They see one nonexistent plot after another. Soon they will even start finding messages in Rethuglican Party speeches!

    September 4, 2009 07:24 pm at 7:24 pm |
  5. Joan D

    "My parents taught me and I taught my children that you are guilty by association. I personally do not want a man who rubbed elbows with Chicago thugs all his life talking to my grandchildren. Stay out of our business."

    So it's better to associate yourself with those that commend torture and lies?

    September 4, 2009 07:25 pm at 7:25 pm |
  6. YWK in Utah

    I find it ironic that some of those bothered by the President's speech use the argument it is indoctrinating their children toward liberalism. It is actually much more of an indoctrination of your children (toward the conservative side) to hide them from hearing what the leader of our country might say. If you keep your head in the sand (and your kids heads in the sand), then your worldview (and your kids' wordview) get very myopic.

    September 4, 2009 07:25 pm at 7:25 pm |
  7. Dave in Illinois

    The problem with Obama's speech if it mirrors the lesson plan materials available on the web is that it will focus on the President not the country.

    Take JFK's phase and modify it to "Ask not what your President can do for you, but what you can do for your President."

    Encouraging a focus on charismatic personality as opposed to national pride is the wrong message to send to our children.

    September 4, 2009 07:27 pm at 7:27 pm |
  8. My Pet Goat

    It is time to give the kool-aid drinkers who believe the Republican rhetoric a cranial sphincterectomy.

    September 4, 2009 07:29 pm at 7:29 pm |
  9. Beth

    As a Republican voter, I, too, think this is a little ridiculous. I can't stand Obama's politics. I don't like his health care plan, the cap and trade business, or anything else he is doing. However, his life story is one that should inspire young people. He wasn't born with a silver spoon in his mouth, and he now holds the highest office in the world. He worked hard and took responsibility for his future, which is something EVERYONE needs to do.

    September 4, 2009 07:30 pm at 7:30 pm |
  10. paul

    I too am afraid – afraid of the ignorance of some Americans. Their parents probably kept them out of school too. Maybe too often.
    Maybe Rush was right. He said only a frightened fool would listen to him.

    September 4, 2009 07:31 pm at 7:31 pm |
  11. annie s

    Man, conservatives are really idiots, aren't they?

    September 4, 2009 07:31 pm at 7:31 pm |
  12. paul

    I don't think the President has spoken yet. How can you condemn him before he has had a chance to speak. Please turn off your Talk Radio and think for yourselves for once.

    September 4, 2009 07:35 pm at 7:35 pm |
  13. Zach

    Sounds to me like some right wing parents are afraid their kids might like President Obama.

    September 4, 2009 07:35 pm at 7:35 pm |
  14. Dan

    People need to calm down. I do not particularly agree with many, if any, of President Obama's initiatives. However, this is the President of the United States encouraging kids to work hard and stay in school. There are people who feel threatened by this?

    September 4, 2009 07:39 pm at 7:39 pm |
  15. Tired

    I believe President Bush was indoctrinating (Pardon me! READING) to school students when he was informed of the World Trade Center attacks. I believe President Bush was doing a good thing in promoting education and visiting schools. The message does not change just because President Obama is saying it. Stop reading evil intent in anything and everything our President does. Differences of opinion do not make one evil. It makes one an American. Supposedly we live here so we CAN have differences of opinion.

    September 4, 2009 07:41 pm at 7:41 pm |
  16. Red by choice

    I watched the "I Pledge" video and just about barfed. It looked like old-style Soviet propaganda. I pledge to do all that I can such that Comrade Obama loses the next election.

    My children will not watching the speech. I don't believe that the speech will be apolitical and besides, I don't care what he says. I'm considering this a protest.

    Obama is a socialist and has shown his colors by his appointments. Tax cheats and self-proclaimed communists. What a mess.

    September 4, 2009 07:43 pm at 7:43 pm |
  17. Kris Teague

    All this anger and fear is party based!!! As parents you are vested in your children and their future. What is wrong with a President that is vested as well. We need more people like President Obama to show our children that values, taking responsiblity for themselves, staying in school, getting good grades and being involved with our community is important. What kind of message are you sending to your child by keeping them from hearing that.? We all need to roll up your sleeves and lead by example paving the way for our children and show them we how much we are invested in their wellbeing and future. Last time I checked Obama has two children, What kind of life do you think he wants for them???

    September 4, 2009 07:45 pm at 7:45 pm |
  18. ED

    Anyone who think this is NOT an attempt by Obama to indoctrinate youngsters to HIS vision of government is living in la-la land! Bet Michelle had a LOT to do with it!

    September 4, 2009 07:46 pm at 7:46 pm |
  19. Julie

    Seems during the Bush administration, he made a similar speech to school kids encouraging hard work and setting goals. And gee my kids had to suffer through listening to his "indoctrination" too. But that was from "their party" and therefore it is all good. Pathetic argument guys. Yes a president should encourage kids to stay in school, work hard, and set goals. The education department overstepped though when it added study questions to the process. Please give the teachers some credit for being able to handle follow-up discussions that are age appropriate for their classes. If more parents had these talks with their kids, we really wouldn't need leaders to tell them how important an education is for success. But parents are a whole other subject about responsibility too.

    September 4, 2009 07:46 pm at 7:46 pm |
  20. usualone

    How can the Republicans accept that some of their Presidents talked to school children but they come up with all kinds of excuses attacking President Obama's chance to chat with today's children? If everyone cut out the overtalk, it is simply that they are bigots. Everything President Obama does is wrong in their opinions. One can only conclude that that is the real reason behind their negativity. I truly hope it backfires on them. If they win in any respect, America has really lost its way. Where are the moderate Republicans. Are they too afraid to talk out? No wonder Arlen Spector left their party.

    September 4, 2009 07:49 pm at 7:49 pm |
  21. Walter

    What's the big deal. Keep your kids at home the day Obama is speaking.....or show up at school and protest........do what the others would do when Bush made an appearance in a similar venue.....

    September 4, 2009 07:49 pm at 7:49 pm |
  22. Geoffrey Stenta

    I haven't actually heard the speach, but if it urging children to get an education, then how is that bad?

    Political parties aside, a good education is extremely important not only for personal development, but also in terms of career options.

    September 4, 2009 07:50 pm at 7:50 pm |
  23. not blinded

    The messiah just wants to indoctrinate impressionable minds, you know, like the kind of soft-minded people who voted for him. As a teacher myself, I guarantee that I will not let my class be subjected to the fuhrer....to the blind followers of Obama, ask yourself about the oops that was removed..."what can I do to help the dictator...er, ah...president?"

    September 4, 2009 07:50 pm at 7:50 pm |
  24. bern

    This is just more racist stuff from "conservatives" who are upset over the race of the president. They should burn in hell for the hatred the spew. The Lord don't like ugly.

    September 4, 2009 07:51 pm at 7:51 pm |
  25. NVa Native

    Morons, the right wing is full of complete idiots. It's his freakin' job to talk to all Americans, and yes even the kids.
    Just because you bigots are so afraid of a black President you make up all kinds of wild delusional crap. Can't deal with a black President who was elected by a huge majority – leave.
    Go to Russia,Czech Repub, Uzbeceestan, Afganistan, who cares just go.

    September 4, 2009 07:51 pm at 7:51 pm |
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