Obama’s speech to school kids raises concerns

Thursday, September 3, 2009 at 4:11pm

President Barack Obama’s speech to school kids across the country next week is raising concerns from parents in the Nashville area and across the country.

Obama’s speech, which will be televised by CSPAN at 11 a.m. on Tuesday, Sept. 8, will be directed at children beginning in kindergarten all the way through 12th grade.

A media release from the U.S. Department of Education said “history will be made” when Obama delivers his one-hour address.

But some parents don’t see things that way. The Tennessee Department of Education has received complaints from parents, mostly in the Nashville area, who fear Obama will push his health care agenda, according to Communications Director Rachel Woods.

“Since yesterday morning, most of the calls are complaints,” said Woods, who added there has also been one call from a parent upset his child’s school was not planning to air the address. “Some of them said this is just a method to push his health care agenda. Other parents were irate saying, ‘It’s not the president's job to tell [my] kids to do homework and be good students. That’s my job.’”

Metro Nashville Public Schools had been receiving various calls from parents about Obama’s address, but did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

The head of Florida’s Republican party called Obama’s speech an opportunity for the president to spread his socialist agenda.

Locally, the state Republican party stopped short of such harsh phrasing.But Chris Devaney, chairman for the Tennessee GOP, said it was his hope Obama’s speech stayed within the confines of stressing the importance of education.

“I think presidents addressing school children about the importance of education is not a bad thing,” Devaney said. “But if President Obama tries to hawk his big government ideas, like health care and the like, now that is out of line.

“I certainly think parents have a right, if they feel a speech like Obama’s is going to be out of line, I think they certainly have a right to take their kids out of school.”

The U.S. DOE media release said educators should use the address as an opportunity to get students motivated for the newly begun school year. Additionally, the department is offering a video contest following the speech to encourage student engagement. The contest, entitled “I am what I learn,” will ask students to submit two-minute video responses describing steps they will take to improve their education.

“The president will challenge students to work hard, set educational goals, and take responsibility for their learning,” the U.S. DOE media release stated.

Besides CSPAN, the address will also be shown online as well.

The Tennessee DOE sent a note to school districts across the state, which said they were free to participate if the address worked well with their schedule. 

20 Comments on this post:

By: courier37027 on 9/3/09 at 6:25

Preview of speech could go something like, "Kids, get out on the streets, knock on your neighbors' doors and sell that overpriced candy. You should be in school to get an education, but selling holiday gift wrap must bridge our funding gap."

By: pswindle on 9/3/09 at 7:19

I now know that TN is totally brain-dead. As our President, I welcome his talking to our children. He has a lot of wisdom to pass on to our children. Do you remember Bush reading the "Ulgy Duckling" upside down to a group of children? The GOP just can't seem to get it together. Let your children hear President Obama speak, the whold family may learn something.

By: HokeyPokey on 9/4/09 at 5:54

I guess talk radio and Fixed News rule these days.

By: songwriter on 9/4/09 at 5:57

I can't believe this! If it were George (how in the world did that idiot get elected?) the Bushman planning to read a book while the towers burned down, you'd be all behind him. Obama is our president; a man who, unlike Bush, can actually string two sentences together. He wants to encourage our children to get involved and interested in their education. How is that a threat? The threat is that our educational system needs to step up to the challenges of the future and that will necessitate the involvement and interest of the children AND the parents. Perhaps that's the threat. Education is kinda scary, isn't it?

By: govskeptic on 9/4/09 at 6:09

Most news media are leaving out a very important part of this story
why parents are being upset: That portion being the original draft
containing the President's request for children to sit down and write
a letter to themselves on how they can help the President etc. etc.
Even NPR in their coverage stated this was going beyond the pale
as to what the President should be covering. That draft has now been
changed, but the skeptic's like myself are still skeptical.

By: Kosh III on 9/4/09 at 6:22

This is so lame. Had this been the War-mongering Idiot....well, you know.


"Other parents were irate saying, ‘It’s not the president's job to tell [my] kids to do homework and be good students. That’s my job.’”
Well, considering the sad state of education today, you parents are doing a crappy job.

By: blktenn on 9/4/09 at 6:27

This is perfect example of the racist state of Tennessee. You people are pitiful!!! When that fool BUSH talk to school black said nothing. GUESS WHAT HAPPENINGS “ when you tell a kid no” White people in this state should pray for GOD”S help.

By: sidneyames on 9/4/09 at 7:17

pswindle you said "I now know that TN is totally brain-dead. As our President, I welcome his talking to our children". In the history of ALL presidents, none has ever used the public school system for a political agenda. AND if you go to a town hall meeting locally at a school and someone running for office comes in, they can be "introduced" but cannot speak on their agenda. So obama has already been introduced and he should honor the law and keep his pie hole shut. I am adamently against it. And songwriter and Kosh, you obviously have not noticed O'man's studdering and stumbling when there's no monitor in front of him. pundits are finally noticing and making fun of him. He is not articulate; it's his speechwriters who are articulate. AND no, he can't make a speech without his speechwriters. He's as clumsey as BUSH and Afghanistan his O'man's "necessary war" as he, himself, calls it. Afghanistan: hmmmmm; Fort Campbell announced today that they have to send men there "sooner" than expected. Iraq? Afghanistan? What in the hell is the difference you dimwits? And blktenn, I presume you mean "blacktennessee". No it's not about race. And why do you hide behind your little made up name? Who are you really?

By: Funditto on 9/4/09 at 9:03

Oh come on Sid. You know that if it were McPalin or Romney or GWB talking to kids about being good students you'd be on the phone make sure every school showed this to their students...

By: Time for Truth on 9/4/09 at 9:17

The point that Dumbya was never criticized during his days reading "My Pet Goat" and other challenging tomes from his personal library is well taken. Certainly the fact that he sat there looking stupified for a long period of time after the towers were hit was justly criticized.

The far righties are a collection of sore losers and only make themselves look ridiculous with all their whining.

SId, you obviously know little about international affairs. Afghanistan was the source of the 9/11 attacks. Pakistan has nuclear (nucular to you?) weapons. As awful as Saddam was, he was a stabilizing force in that region and the invasion there was pushed by Texas oilmen and profiteers and likely planned in advance of 9/11.

By: Time for Truth on 9/4/09 at 9:19

pswindle, in all fairness the upside-down book has been outed as a photo doctoring by Snopes. Even GWB isn't that stupid.

By: Blanketnazi2 on 9/4/09 at 9:26

so it's okay when Bush Sr. and Reagan spoke with school kids but when Obama does it's "indoctrination." What a bunch of bull.

By: WayneJ on 9/4/09 at 9:29

Here's an idea - how about releasing a draft of the speech prior to its being made? Let parents examine what is scheduled to be said and make their decisions based on information instead of spectulation. Honestly, I look for a spike in absenteeism on this day.

By: dogmrb on 9/4/09 at 10:14

Top 50 Bushisms, many on education:

# 6. "There's an old saying in Tennessee -- I know it's in Texas, probably in Tennessee -- that says, fool me once, shame on --shame on you. Fool me -- you can't get fooled again." --Nashville, Tenn., Sept. 17, 2002

Enjoy: http://politicalhumor.about.com/od/bushquotes/a/dumbbushquotes.htm

By: pswindle on 9/4/09 at 10:28

Bush's upside reading of a book was televised as he was reading. This would have been one talented artist that could change the book's position as he was reading. The camera was in the room as he was reading.

By: stlgtr55@yahoo.com on 9/4/09 at 11:38

govskeptic, don't you realize that our children need to be brain-washed into worshipping the "Emporer."

By: pswindle on 9/4/09 at 11:49

I really do not kown where to put this comment, so I'll put it here.
Yesterday, I attended my Woman's Club meeting and as far as I know in its 44 years, it has never been politicial until Rep. Lynne spoke. She brougth her politicial speech to the meeting and told these ladies about issues and I could not believe in what I was hearing. She said that the insurance companies were going to publish names, medical conditions, and etc. about patients, but she stepped in and saved the day. We have a "Privacy Act" that prevents this from happening. The sad thing about this is that some of the ladies believed in what she was saying.. She said that she was running for State Senate. I'm sure she will be elected because she would be replacing a republican in a red district. She also talked about ObamaCare. This shows that the republicans will not stopped spreading their views, right or wrong.

By: govskeptic on 9/4/09 at 12:14

pswindle-That is the funniest story. An invited guest that
is a politician to speak to your Women's Club and you are
shocked at a politicial speech. Especially one running for
another office. Were you ladies expecting sewing lessons
or quilting tips.

By: pswindle on 9/4/09 at 1:35

We have had politicians speaking to us before, and it was always about topics that were not about one party or the other. She was told that her speech could not be political.

By: bfra on 9/4/09 at 3:57

For all of those against their children watching & hearing this speech, I didn't realize we had so many nitwits until now.