Do you care if your kids hear Obama’s speech at school?

I got a call on Thursday from a mom friend who was in full outrage. She’s making her plans to keep her kids out of school on Tuesday so they are not forced to listen to President Obama’s planned podcast to school children about education.

She was told by her school she could send in a letter stating that she didn’t want her kids to participate and they wouldn’t have to listen. But she’s afraid of reprisals within the school system. Also one of her children has an African-American teacher who she is afraid of offending.

So she’s planning to keep them home sick and no one will know exactly why.  Although she’s hoping one-half of public school children won’t show and that will send a message.

If you have no idea what my friend is talking about here’s the background on the story:

According to the Department of Education:

“At 12:00 p.m., Eastern Time (ET), September 8, 2009, President Barack Obama will deliver a national address to the students of America. (Please note that this is a change from the originally scheduled time.) During this special address, the president will speak directly to the nation’s children and youth about persisting and succeeding in school. The president will challenge students to work hard, set educational goals, and take responsibility for their learning.”

“The U.S. Department of Education invites students of all ages, teachers, and administrators to participate in this historic moment by watching the president deliver the address, which will be broadcast live on the White House Web site (http://www.whitehouse.gov/live/) and on C-SPAN at 12:00 p.m., ET. We also encourage educators to use this moment to help students get focused and inspired to begin the new academic year. The Department of Education offers educators a menu of classroom activities-created by its teachers-in-residence, the Teaching Ambassador Fellows-to help engage students in the address and stimulate classroom discussions about the importance of education.”

I’m not sure why the Department of Education is calling it historic, when according to The Dallas Morning News President George H.W. Bush gave a speech to school children during one of his terms. (Maybe they mean the technology?)

But as Jay Bookman explained yesterday folks are upset about this:

But as the Christian Science Monitor points out, the right is all aflutter:

“Schools have used students as little lobbyists on everything from illegal immigration to gay marriage to anti-war activism, and most recently, [c]ensus collection,” (Michelle) Malkin wrote. “Will Obama be able to resist issuing a call to youth arms to marshal help in passing his legislative agenda?”

Meanwhile, the conservative radio host Dana Loesch has launched a campaign urging parents to keep their children home on the day of Obama’s speech. In an email urging against the “Socialist Indoctrination of Americas children,” [sic] Loesch explains that Americans must not “mind our Ps and Qs and blindly follow their directives”:

“That’s not the manner of governance upon which this country was founded – it is quite the opposite; even the hobbyist Constitutional aficionado appreciates this. So yes, keep your kids home on September 8th and teach them that the power of America rests in the hands of its people, no one else.”

My girlfriend hadn’t heard that cry to keep kids out of school. She thought she came up with it herself.

What do you think: Is there questionable intent by President Obama or just a pep talk at the beginning of the school year? Will you keep your kids out of school? Will you ask that your child not participate? Do you fear reprisals at that school or if that note is put in your child’s permanent record?

The speech will be shown on the link at Noon on Tuesday.

836 comments Add your comment

Debbie

September 4th, 2009
10:07 am

I understand why this Mom is keeping her children away from being required to listen to this dribble. Why would she want her children to be subjected to a President that wants to talk to the “no one fails, no one has to except responsibility for their actions” generation about working hard and working toward success. Oh the atrocity of it all! This is just another example of the scare tactics from the Republican sheep-like masses that refuse to let anything a Democrat proposes succeed. No matter how good and positive it is.

Peadawg

September 4th, 2009
10:07 am

“Why is it such an issue that Obama wants to do the same thing?”

Because of the underlining reasons that he is doing this speech. He’s trying to pass his agenda through our children, which isn’t right.

Phil

September 4th, 2009
10:08 am

To Phil’a A Fool: Guess I hit a nerve. LOL!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!..

scott

September 4th, 2009
10:08 am

This is much ado about nothing. Some people are just going to oppose anything this President does not matter what. Hint – the election is over, your side lost, get over it and help the country, not tear it apart.

Both Presidents George Bush and Ronald Reagan both gave speeches aimed specifically at students that were nationally televised. In 1989, Bush delivered a televised anti-drug speech, and Reagan’s 1986 commencement speech and Q&A session was “beamed over public television into 171 school districts,” according to the L.A. Times.

Somehow I do not remember the uproar and need for permission slips and parents talking about keeping their kids home from school, oh that’s right these were republican Presidents.

ATL06

September 4th, 2009
10:09 am

Wow I am more and more amazed everyday. The speech hasn’t even taken place yet but it has been bashed already. Anything that anybody can do to encourage kids to stay in school is a great idea to me. I will encourage my son to listen and discuss with him how he feels about what was said. People have different views on many different things not everyone will agree on everything but even if I don’t agree with you I will give you the respect that you deserve and hear what you have to say. Any parent who fears offending a teacher by pulling a child out of class during the speech is a rascist in my eyes. If there is something that I don’t want my child to participate I could give a damn how a teacher feels black or white.

marcus bales

September 4th, 2009
10:10 am

You don’t want your children to hear the President of the United States talking about the importance of education-my God!!! What is wrong with you people!!!

Just one more comment-it is obvious from the lack of proper grammar that many of you really don’t underwstand the importance of education and as the old song said,” We don’t need no education-hey, teachers, leave these kids alone!!

Sad for American-sadder for these children.

Jeff in Roswell

September 4th, 2009
10:11 am

Come on JJ. Brainwashing? You guys are sickening. Are you implying that you have absolutely no influence on your child? How many years away are most of these kids from voting? Obama will be long gone before then. Do you people actually think that your children are going to come home and INFLUENCE you on your political leaning? Are you going to change your ideas on your political views, just because Obama may or may not have told your children to support the current healthcare debate? COME ON! SNAP OUT OF IT! GET A HOLD OF YOURSELVES! Paranoia will Destroya.

Nabil

September 4th, 2009
10:12 am

I keep asking myself if people who object to a Presidential address are simple minded people easily manipulated by right wing shock-jocks and clergy or if they are just racists who object to a n****r talking to their children. I think it is the latter. Whether the White House releases the speech or not, it will still be delivered by a n***r. But then I think perhaps they are just lame brained, after all, so many right wing loonies must have inadequate medical care coverage and yet they oppose reform on the industry and on taxes. Hell, perhaps it is both, these people could be racist and stupid.

reservoirDAWG

September 4th, 2009
10:12 am

NO child should ever hear Obama. He stands for the wrong principles.

reservoirDAWG

September 4th, 2009
10:13 am

Nabil, you are brainwashed by the left liberal loonies. It is the LLL.

Boodles

September 4th, 2009
10:13 am

Phil, you’re right when you said – “what makes you think these adults you speak of can raelly (sic) make intelligent decisions?” You are correct that they can not make intelligent decisions – after all, more than half of them voted for Obama.

Phil

September 4th, 2009
10:14 am

“People have different views on many different things not everyone will agree on everything but even if I don’t agree with you I will give you the RESPECT that you deserve and hear what you have to say.”

What an awesome statement and wonderful thing to teach kids; RESPECT. I wonder is this the kinder and gentler nation that Bush, Sr. was speaking about? Somehow, I think not.

Peadawg

September 4th, 2009
10:14 am

“o many right wing loonies must have inadequate medical care coverage and yet they oppose reform on the industry and on taxes”

No it’s that most of us DO have health care and DON”T WANT TO PAY FOR YOURS AS WELL!!!

Phil

September 4th, 2009
10:16 am

Hey Boodles, I don’t think the aduls you were speaking of voted for President Obama (that is what he is and what his title is)

dee

September 4th, 2009
10:16 am

What is wrong with our society ? President Obama wants to talk to our children about staying in school, taking advantage of their education. What is wrong with that ? ABSOLUTLEY NOTHING ! What is really wrong, is the people that think something is wrong, with someone talking to their kids about staying in school. Unfortunatley, alot of people can not get past that the president is black. It comes down to racism. I have a 9 year old son who actually admires Prseident Obama. So if President Obama wants to send a message to him to stay in scool, he has my support. Thank You Obama, and God Bless you for trying.
Dee

EW

September 4th, 2009
10:16 am

Let’s be honest. This isn’t about the kids at all. As usual, the parents have made the debate about THEIR OWN beliefs. It doesn’t matter if Obama was giving a speech on how to be a Republican. Their would still be an “agenda”. (I can hear it now “oh he’s just using reverse psychology to make them really want to be a socialist”). Do you really, I mean honestly, think Obama is going to give a speech to the kids about Healthcare Reform? Half of the voting population doesn’t even understand the complexity of this issue. Get over yourselves and realize that their are positive role models out there for your kids, even if their beliefs aren’t exactly in line with your own.

Mom to 2

September 4th, 2009
10:16 am

I think it’s fine that the president speak to school children IF his message relates to encouraging them to work hard, take advantage of opportunities presented to them, stay in school, stay off drugs etc. I do NOT think it’s OK to press political issues with them. It’s entirely appropriate for him to talk about how he’s been so successful but it’s not appropriate to use children to influence parent’s political views.

EW

September 4th, 2009
10:17 am

damn **there would**

Ayn Rand Was Right

September 4th, 2009
10:17 am

jct and JATL…W (the dummy as you so eloquently call him) did not address your children in school, his daddy addressed school children in 1991. What were your children doing when you supposedly thought they were respectfully listening to the POTUS?

My ex-husband is Cuban…raised under the regime of Castro. He has been here nine years and still struggles not to blindly accept call to action from our leaders. Everyday he must consciously use his free will, because from birth he was indocterinated that everything was for the good of the country and you must do as you are told by the leader. If your family has a farm, you may go hungry, because this is not your food to eat, you must provide for others as the government sees fit. If you follow the rules and say what you are told to say, maybe the ruler will favor you and your family can eat well, if not…

Thankfully he shares his stories with our son, and so I trust he will never follow blindly for the good of anyone but himself and his family. If more people would take responsiblity for their families (extended and otherwise), less people would need the government machine to support them.

Regarding the expenses of insurance…I find it interesting that people will bankrupt themselves trying to pay insurance premiums in the case that catastrophe may happen. If you are paying more to an insurance company than you would pay to your doctors, you have been duped. Those that have company sponsored health care, look at how much of your paycheck is being taken each pay period to cover your insurance, and ask how big of a risk they are taking on you.

Outsider

September 4th, 2009
10:19 am

This is a shame. I hope the you all see that their is an agenda against this man. I didn’t vote for him but only a fool can’t see that their is an element out there that wants to discredit him and go against him on whatever he does whether its good or bad.. I am really ashamed to be an american right now. There is a time when things go to far and this is it people! He is the president of the United States. We know what’s really going on!!!!!

Jan Garner

September 4th, 2009
10:19 am

I can’t believe I’m reading such nonsense! For almost 30 years the Republican party has been in office 22 years, the Democrats 8 years. The Republican party has pretty well molded the American people to suit their agenda. Now their party is no longer in control, and they are doing everything to degrade our current president and bring the American people back to their ideology: Allow us to line our pockets with millions and millions of dollars and maybe we’ll throw you a scrap now and then. This is the President of the United States speaking to the school children of this country, not Hitler. Shame on any parent who would deprive their child of hearing the leader of our country. This parent is simply showing how incredibly ignorant she is. And unfortunately, the message she is sending to her child is one of non-tolerance, pre-judgment, and perhaps racism.

nurse&mother

September 4th, 2009
10:21 am

Ok, I haven’t read through all the posts yet, except JJ’s first. AMEN, sister!!!!!!!!! Enough said!

what's right for kids?

September 4th, 2009
10:21 am

He is, in fact, our president, and we, as a nation, must respect that. I find it horrifying that there is even a discussion about opting out for our kids. I want to show it now, just because of all of the hooplah! Maybe that’s th point; a little consiracy theory for you all.

Bosch

September 4th, 2009
10:22 am

HOLY CRAP!! OBAMA WANTS TO TALK TO KIDS ABOUT PERSONAL RESPONSIBILTY AND STAYING IN SCHOOL!!!

(That holy crap thing is a shout out to Mrs. G) –

Anywho – you people astound me who would actually keep your child home from school so as to not hear the President asking them to work hard and stay in school. Really, are you THAT paranoid – have you finally reached that point?

You claim to keep your child home due to your paranoia of indoctrination, when the sole act of doing so – you are actually participating in indoctrination.

Jean

September 4th, 2009
10:23 am

I’m amazed at the level of hate that is being exercised against this president. If it was a Republican President, i.e. Reagan or George H. W. Bush, making a speech encouraging students to stay in school and study harder, there would be no outcry. As a matter of fact there was no major outcry when they made speeches and Reagan’s speech included his political views, as as I see it the only difference is because President Obama is Black. Also, what’s up with the ugly name calling, he is not a Socalist nor is he a Nazi or a Marxist, as is recall when any one made fun of the immediate past president mispronounciation of words, the Republicans were offended. Also, I didn’t like Reagan or either of the Bushs, but I still gave them the respect they deserved as the President of the United States, why can’t you Christians, conservatives (Republicans) do the same. I’m ever reminded that this country is more prejudiced now that it ever was and that is very sad!

T.O.

September 4th, 2009
10:24 am

Toolate, you are so right! Your comments sums up everything!

Black Girl

September 4th, 2009
10:26 am

@JJ I’m really scared for your kids…you are indeed a loony one! It’s what churches do before kids can figure it out for themselves? Are you serious? I could go on, but it would be a waste. Wow! Scary!

YUKI

September 4th, 2009
10:26 am

Well my first post did not show up, but whatever.
I just want to say that all you people talking about everyone being up in arms about this only because the president is black (or half black) is total nonsense. We are up in arms because we don’t want our kids having to make a list of what they can do to “help the president” and crap like that. If he was only really encouraging kids to stay in school, get good grades, stay out of jail (good luck), etc…then OBVIOUSLY we would want this for our children. The point is, it’s more than that and you would have to be in idiot not to realize this.

Tin Foil Hats For Everyone!

September 4th, 2009
10:26 am

You also better keep your kids out of school that day because Obama’s going to personally visit each and every school and eat one child, selected at random. Then he’s going to infect the rest of them with Communism. And for good measure, he’ll kick any nearby dogs on his way out.

Kari

September 4th, 2009
10:26 am

My concern was to see the President’s script so that I would know what he was saying. I understand the White House Administration is planning to publish prior to the speech. I am interested in what the President would say to my children and I do want my children to understand the importance of the Office and be respectful of the man holding that Office. However, I am also very concerned about healthcare and the plan to nationalize it. Because the school speech happens to coincide with the health care speech later this week, let’s just say my radar was up and it sounds like I am not the only one. I was also concerned to see words like “wingnuts” and “conservative crazy” being thrown around by our newspapers around the country. I don’t like those any more than “left-wing nut jobs” or “bed-wetters”. When the names are being called, the rational thinking tends to disappear and my respect for anything they say also disappears.

Peadawg

September 4th, 2009
10:27 am

Jean, to me he is as much white as he is black. Race doesn’t matter.
“this country is more prejudiced now that it ever was and that is very sad!”
You’re the one who brought up race….look in the mirror.

LWA

September 4th, 2009
10:28 am

Wow! Lots of comments today and it is only 10:20am. I can’t read them all b/c I am afraid that I may have a differnt view of many people who otherwise offer great comments.

President Obama is the president of the United States of America. Like it or not.

I just don’t remember all of this flack about President Bush. I didn’t vote for him at all… as millions of others. I had issues with him but I respected him.

I would like to know what makes President Obama so different from President Bush?? Really, what is different?

Keep your children at home or send them to school. it is up to you but what message are you sending??

SS

September 4th, 2009
10:28 am

I don’t know about anyone else, but when the president came on when I was a kid (on all the channels we had at the time–no choice but to watch)–my eyes rolled back in my head and I was off to my happy place. We’re not talking about 30 minutes every day or kids being sent off to nazi youth corps for flip sake! It is one little speech they probably wouldn’t listen to even if he was in the room personally. What scares me is the Fox News crowd trying to make people think that we shouldn’t listen to both sides and have intelligent discussions. We live in a democracy–that means majority rule. He was elected (unlike our last president) by the clear majority of this country’s people. Can we not accept that this administration is what most of our country wants and respect that? There are plenty of checks and balances on the office to keep anyone from becoming a socialist dictator. And comparing any aspect of a motivational speech to Hitler smacks of racism and ignorance in the extreme. He is asking children to make their own personal goals and live the changes they would like to see for this country. That’s a far cry from the genocide of millions of people don’t you think??

Bosch

September 4th, 2009
10:28 am

Making assumptions about a speech that no one has heard – but HOLY CRAP!! – he might do this and he might do that. I’m so paranoid that he might say something I disagree with – AAAAARRRRRGGGGGHHHH!!! :roll:

extremerightwing

September 4th, 2009
10:28 am

maybe if the president would release his own educational transcripts so we can see how “smart” he really is i might go along with this. until he does…no way folks.

to be to most transparent president we’ve ever had, he sure is covering up a lot.

Boodles

September 4th, 2009
10:28 am

“I don’t think the aduls (sic) you were speaking of voted for President Obama” – how did you know which ‘aduls’ I was speaking of? I was making a general comment about ALL adults and ALL children – kids are not capable of sifting through the rhetoric of partisan politicians like B.O. as well as adults are. Sheesh, Phil – are you that dull?

pd

September 4th, 2009
10:29 am

Obama is the President of the United States of America. It is appropriate for him to address the children.

Unfortunately, too many adults are acting like children about this.

He is the President, accept it and move on.

christineb

September 4th, 2009
10:29 am

Wow!!! I am amazed by the number of ignorant comments that are on this site. When you send your child to school they are exposed to varied ideas all day long from their teachers as well as other students. Do you expect a permission slip for EVERY activity or adult who addresses your child? As a teacher, I would love for SOMEONE to finally take responsible for students learning because I’m sick and tired of students and parents blaming me for everything as they let their kids run willy nilly and spend hours playing video games. Ignore the fact that our children are facing obesity in growing numbers, falling further behind academically every year and cheating is running rampant with those electronic gadgets they HAVE to have. Ignore the number of suggestive ideas they are exposed to in commercials as they spend hour after hour watching television. For all active parents who are now offended- if you assume that all parents are indeed daily active in their child’s education, you are so sadly mistaken. It is unfortunate how many students come to school with parents who do not care about their children’s education. Did I mention I taught at a school where we have to BRIBE parents to come in for conferences by giving away turkeys in November and radios in the spring, paying their transportation fees AND offering babysitting for their kids?
Then there is the issue of the number of people who feel they are having an original thought when in actuality you have been brainwashed by the money hungry power grabbers from the past who are afraid of losing their control of their lowly minions. PLEASE, call it socialism if you want, I prefer to think of it as someone finally putting some controls in place to protect us bottom dwellers from the corruption that left us in this financial mess to begin with. Yeah, I guess you wouldn’t want some of that wealth to be redistributed; by all means keep pretending that the Bushy group wasn’t picking your pockets and focus on Obama wanting your child to do well in school. How dare he?

itamazesme

September 4th, 2009
10:30 am

Last time i checked KIDS CAN’T VOTE…So how is a speech that is “supposedly” going to be filled with issues other than education – going to affect a child. Is the child going to home and persuade their parents to think differently. Let’s think logically here. I hate when people play the race card but this issue is suspect. It really is.

nurse&mother

September 4th, 2009
10:31 am

I just hope the president sticks to the topics. I have no problem with him speaking about the importance of an education, attendence, etc. I do have a problem if he chooses to speak about health care reform.

I am a little skeptical of the president (and I thought about voting for him up until about 3 months before election). He spoke about getting rid of corrupt Washington. Who did he choose for a running mate, but someone who has been in Washington for decades. Reckon Joe has had his pockets lined? That choice alone told me that Obama is not interested in keeping his word.

Do I trust him anymore? Absolutely not. Anyone else see socialism looming? I hope your eyes are wide open.

pd

September 4th, 2009
10:31 am

I didn’t like George Bush. I was totally opposed to the war in Iraq. However, had he chosen to address the school kids, I wouldn’t protest it. I would view it as completely appropriate and be happy he did it.

JF McNamara

September 4th, 2009
10:31 am

This is just more proof that people are neither smart nor rational. When I was in school, we got a pep talk from Reagan, and I still have my physical fitness award. Other than working harder in school because the President said so, it didn’t have any affect at all on me. Bush did the same thing. It’s what Presidents do. They are supposed to be role models to our kids.

If you’re keeping your kids out of school because of this, be honest with yourself as to why you are doing it. You know that whatever he says likely won’t be controversial or have a great impact on your kids life. You’re doing it for reasons inside yourself that make you have extreme vitriol towards the President.

Hopefully, you are just a simpleton that listens to extremist talk shows but its likely something deeper…

MomOf2Girls

September 4th, 2009
10:32 am

The name calling and derogatory comments have gotten too much for me. I’m checking out now. Have a good weekend, everyone!

Nabil

September 4th, 2009
10:32 am

extremerightwing
Buddy, it is a speech to school kids. It is not a new tax policy. It seems odd that republicans and racists want to vet a school speech and had no problem with Bush spying on the nation and creating a Gitmo, half of whose inamates appear to be innocent.

Edward

September 4th, 2009
10:33 am

You republican thugs have become the enemy, you’re nothing but brainwashed terrorists no different than the religious nutcases in Iran or Pakistan or Afghanistan. YOU are what is wrong with this country, you manufacture a polarizing issue just to stir up crap. YOU are tearing this country apart with your bitter hatred and outright lies. YES YOU!

You people make me want to vomit, you are not patriotic Americans, you’re two-bit thugs.

Peadawg

September 4th, 2009
10:34 am

“Have a good weekend, everyone!”

You too! Go Dawgs!

ee

September 4th, 2009
10:34 am

i have a feeling that none of the people posting on here have any idea what socialism is. any government program that benefits society as a whole could be called socialist. if people are so afraid of BO’s ’socialist’ government I suggest that return their social security checks, their VA benefits, their medicare/medicaid benefits, take their kids out of our public (socialist) schools, stop driving on public (socialist) roads and stay away from our socialist national parks. don’t just drink the kool-aid fox news is giving you. research the issue and look at it objectively and you may just blush for being naive and manipulated by the so-called conservatives and their advertising driven media (that didn’t give a hoot about government spending or the state of this country while their man was in the white house)

this president has the potential to actually impact the way some of the poorest performing students view education. previous presidents did not have this potential. for the far-right to get up-and-arms and try to inject politics into this issue is absurd. it goes to show what thin ice they are on. let the man tell kids to study hard. after all, we have the poorest performing math and science students in the industrialized world.

Todd G - Dacula

September 4th, 2009
10:34 am

ABSOLUTELY…

I love Socialism

September 4th, 2009
10:34 am

Honestly I remember when Ron Reagan ‘indoctrinated’ me to “Just Say No”. What’s the diff between telling kids not to do drugs and to do well in school? If you are so against public healthcare, why place your children in public school…is the private option unaffordable? I assumed you backward thinking wackos would home school your children, and if you are this worried about The President brainwashing your children…it probably won’t work. You have probably already turned them into backward thinking bigots with your ‘educated worldview’. I disagreed with most things W did, but I had the honor as an American to respect what he had to say because he was voted in by my peers. Maybe you should learn what respect and honor mean before you decide to raise children.

Annie

September 4th, 2009
10:35 am

The truth is none of the kids who ‘listen’ to the speech will remember it 30 minutes later. They will all be bored and thinking ‘Yadda, Yadda,Yadda’ that sounds just like Mom and Dad, always going on about home work and school,’ They will be thinking that they hope it will be over quickly so they can go to recess and play.
How many adults today remember all the ’so important’ speeches we heard in school? Those speeches just went in one ear and out the other, youngsters think they have more important things to think about and do. Only adults worry about such unimportant stuff as politics.