9.04.2009

Feedback Friday - Obama to Address Students

I have a really good Feedback Friday post all ready to publish for today, but rescheduled it for next week so we can discuss another issue that has come to my attention.


At noon September 8th, President Obama has announced that he intends to deliver a national address to all school children of America. See this excerpt from the US Department of Education website:


"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 plan is to interrupt school work at this time and watch this address together as a class. We received notice today that our school will not be participating and school will go on as usual on Sept. 8th.

This is the email we received regarding this issue:

"Dear Parents/Guardians:

President Barack Obama will be addressing students across the nation at noon on September 8, 2009.

While we realize the historic nature of this speech, (name of school omitted) School District would like to avoid interrupting the academic program for this last-minute request.

For your convenience, we will provide a direct link to the speech on our home page. This will allow families to view the speech with their own children at their own convenience.

Sincerely,

(name omitted)"


Were you aware of this? Is your school participating? Do you believe our children should be exposed to political addresses in school regardless if it's presented by Republican or Democrat? What are your thoughts? Let the debate begin...

After reading some of the comments regarding the post speech curriculum in question, I located it so you may read for more information:

Curriculum K-6

Curriculm 7-12

.

41 comments :

  1. Allrightie, here's my .02. They will interrupt school for pep rallies, etc., but won't interrupt school for a speech directed towards the nation's children from the president? I also see it as a speech from the president of the United States - not a partisan speech from a democrat.

    My .02. Please no throwing tomatoes or anything hurtful. :)

    ReplyDelete
  2. Oh, Jennifer! I have a whole blog rant coming today. It was the biggest mess in my district yesterday. I can't even believe the ignorant e-mails that were put in my inbox from parents and I'm even more shocked at how my administrator responded! Gasp! As I'm typing this, they just talked about it on the news and they flashed pictures of my school! I have to rewind that! ...Oh, geez, I hate living here sometimes! Anyway, I'll finish my rant between teaching today!

    ReplyDelete
  3. My daughter is not school aged yet, but I've been reading FB statuses and seeing lots of debate on this. And many people seem to be saying if their school participates their child will be held home that day.

    I don't care who you voted for, but he is our President, you should support him now. What are you teaching your children, if because you do not like someone you refuse to listen to what they have to say? That goes against everything we do teach children.

    And as someone on a personal group said yesterday, the speech is not going to corrupt the kids. And Obama's view of education will be implemented somehow in the next 4 years of his term.

    ReplyDelete
  4. I think it's great that someone should speak to our kids about setting goals and doing their best. Parents and teachers should be doing that on a regular basis! I do think it might be risky showing the students a live broadcast, especially if the parents have strong opinions about it - I don't think it's unreasonable to view the broadcast as adults first, and then make the decision as to whether you'd like to have your kids see it. I think it's great that the district is making it available on their website. Then you can watch it with your kids and discuss it with them. We don't start school until the 9th, so I guess it's a non-issue for our school.

    ReplyDelete
  5. Wow. It's sad that certain school districts are, in a sense, boycotting the importance of this day.

    When was the last time a President took time out to directly address the youth of America?

    As cheezy as it sounds, they are the future, and they need to understand how important they are in the opportunities our country faces in the future.

    As one of the most privileged countries in the world, we should be leading in math, science, and literacy skills, but we are falling behind.

    If my son were school-aged, I would take him out during the speech to watch it. Wow...

    ReplyDelete
  6. I don't think anyone has issue with the president speaking to the children. The issue is with the lesson plan that the White House has sent to the schools for the teachers to use. The plan is walking the line, to say the least. If they would simply scrap, pushing the lesson plan, I can guarantee there would be no issue with what is expected to be a rather innocuous speech.

    ReplyDelete
  7. I'm so glad you are writing about this. I did not vote for Obama; however, he IS our President. I will take him at his word that it is not going to be a political speech. I'm for anyone who can urge our kids to stay in school and work hard.

    ReplyDelete
  8. I really don't understand all of the commotion about this. We watched presidential addresses in school, we used to watch the space shuttle launches in school - Didn't someone see Challenger explode at school besides me? While I am sure that some people didn't think it was appropriate, watching these things only opened our minds and allowed for meaningful discussions at home. I am trying to raise well-rounded kids, children that are smart enough to form their own opinions even if that opinion is not the same as mine.

    ReplyDelete
  9. So I'm not 100% sure how I feel about this. It kinda depends on the contents of the speech. My guess would be he's going to encourage kids to stay in school, go to college, etc.

    Reagan addressed kids with his anti-drug campaign. I believe Bush did too.

    ReplyDelete
  10. It's amazing to me to thinkg that as a nation, we've come so far yet succeeded in so little.
    The president isn't addressing them on healthcare or the war or politcal views.
    He's encouraging our children to do their best.
    I have to think that race is a factor in this huge debate, but I'm truly afraid that is the underlying issue.

    ReplyDelete
  11. Everyone seems to be glossing over the fact that this isn't like other presidents that addressed our children. THIS president is including a lesson plan with his speech that encourages the children to do things like writing a letter on how he/she can help the President.

    I don't remember any of our past Presidential speeches aimed at our children, EVER including such a worksheet.

    Like I said, eliminate the "lesson plan" and the speech it's self will be just fine. Maybe we should ask ourselves why the worksheet is so important for the White House to hold on to.

    ReplyDelete
  12. Six in One Hand brings up a good point, what are the reasons for your feelings? Race? Political affiliation? Education? The unknown?

    ReplyDelete
  13. Education. There's no room for politics in the schools IMO.
    Honestly though, I'm getting rather sick of people saying the only reason I don't agree is because I'm somehow racist. Couldn't be farther from the truth.

    ReplyDelete
  14. I think it's ridiculous not to let the school participate! Whether or not you like President Obama doesn't change the fact that he is the President, and the speech is addressed specifically to students. Maybe the school is afraid some asinine lawsuit would come out of it...you never know. There's a lot of crazy out there!

    Thanks for the visit this morning, fellow SITSA and Muffin Bum! :)

    Mox

    ReplyDelete
  15. I live in Texas and none of the schools in my area are broadcasting it with the lame excuse that it interrupts study time. Ha! This is ridiculous. He is our President!

    I was a young child in the 60s. Does nobody remember JFK and the presidential fitness program? We loved our president and he inspired us to aim high and be proud. I hate seeing what is happening in our country. We can only hope that common sense and decency will eventually return.

    I have only been visiting your blog a short time and when I saw your entry today, I thought "Oh, another right wing whacko" and started to close it and not return again. I'm glad I didn't because the responses give me hope. Yours is not a political blog and the opinions voiced are those of average Americans. No matter your own view of this, you opened a valuable dialog and I thank you.

    ReplyDelete
  16. Bush and Reagan did this and there was no problem. Now it's a problem. Makes me sad. The President is duly elected and serves everyone. Kids need to learn that after the election regardless of who your parents voted for, you owe them some respect. What is so terrible about the leader of our country talking to kids and telling them that what they do everyday in school is important to our country?

    ReplyDelete
  17. Remember with President Bush Sr. did this? With no teacher agenda for kids to work on after the speech?

    Anyway-the uproar is NOT about the president encouraging kids to do well in school. Its the -doing-it behind-the-parents-back-thing AND after the speech teachers guide the WH wanted the teachers to go over with the kids. They have since changed the agenda and have taken out some of the controversial suggestions like ....Why is it important for us to listen to the President? The Mayor? and .....What can you do to help the President?
    Remember folks, OUR president and all of OUR elected officials work for US.

    ReplyDelete
  18. I do belive that children (all americans in fact) should learn to respect the elected leaders of our country however I do have several objections to the way this particular address is being presented. The first is that there was no notice given to parents on what exactly will be in the address, it was all very last minute. The lesson plan is very agenda driven and should be removed. "How can I help the President?!" Please, As stated in another post, our elected leaders are civil servants and are there to work for US and our goals. Not the other way around.

    I also think that this particular statement is interesting:
    "I think it's great that someone should speak to our kids about setting goals and doing their best. Parents and teachers should be doing that on a regular basis!"

    I personally don't think that anyone, especially the government, should be replacing a parent's responsibility and right to teach and raise their children with ideals that THEY believe are right.

    ReplyDelete
  19. I don't know if our school is participating or not, but it's a special message from our country's top leader--I think it's important, despite politics and the rest, that our children pay attention and listen. I'd say the same if it were George W. Bush (who did a similar thing while in office, but I don't recall it getting this much press). The only qualm I have is the suggested essay topic "What I can do for the president." If you replace "president" with "country" I'd be even happier. Instilling a sense of civic duty and pride is a GOOD thing, no matter what color your state!

    ReplyDelete
  20. He's the President of our country! If my kids weren't in school I'd put them in for the day just so they could see his address. He's going to discuss the value of education, staying in school and working hard. How is that political? Or do only democrats believe in that?--I don't think so.

    When President Bush spoke to school children (even while the twin towers were being destroyed) no one thought that was politically charged. Obama is hardly the first President to appear in a classroom.

    Don't forget that this is a democratic nation. Obama was elected by the majority of Americans. Out of respect for our nation and democratic process, if not the President himself, please don't turn this harmless and positive event into a conspiracy theory!

    ReplyDelete
  21. so really in the end you can call me what you want, but I am totally against this little "speech" thingy. Have any of you watched it? In the end they have this little "I pledge to.." thing, I don't have a problem with some of them, but They listed "stem cell research"-which should not be something they are pushing to my kids, and the last little thing is "I pledged to serve Obama". What is up with that? Now we all serve him? Who does he think he is? None of the other Presidents have ever expected us to serve them. It should be the other way around. And i am totally against the little dicussion sheets they sent along wth it. -kinda sounds like other rulers in the past huh?
    Our school said at Back to school night last night that they would not be showing it. We were given a link and told that we should view it with our children so that we can talk about what is said.

    I guess ih the end I just have a problem with them indocrinating my kids. I am all for alot of what is said, but who are they to tell me kids that we need to pledge to recycle and "save the planet" and go green? That is my job to teach my kids not theirs. I don't want you to think I am against those things, I cloth diaper and grow my own garden and compost and all that good stuff.

    Anyway there is my opinion! :)

    ReplyDelete
  22. I can only speak for the district that I work in, but I'm quite sure that the parents here have no idea that there is any kind of "lesson plan" attached to the event. They are objecting solely on the basis of not wanting the president to "indoctrinate our children in his socialist liberal agendas. I do not agree with his politics, and take great issue with the fact that he is going through our kids to reach the parents." That's straight from a parent's e-mail and I've heard that several times over the last two days. And as far as the "lesson plans" go, I don't see any thing in there but suggestions for engaging students in discussion. It's exactly what it says, a "menu" of topics the one MAY choose from. As a teacher, we LOVE suggestions for discussions that come with books or movies. I can find nothing indicating an expectation that those "lesson plans" are to be used. Every single bullet uses MAY and COULD in the language.

    Whew! All that to say, I really don't think that the suggested classroom activities are the reason parents are objecting. And if they are, then I don't think they are really being read carefully or at all.

    ReplyDelete
  23. This comment has been removed by the author.

    ReplyDelete
  24. I think if Obama can stick to the topic of education it is fine to show the kids. I don't know if they are showing it at my kids school (that is their start day). Personally, our kids understand the importance of working hard, and education. Unfortunately, many of the kids in our school district do not have very good parental role models. So Obama would maybe be a good person to speak on the importance of education since he is a person the kids recognize and know is an important figure.

    ReplyDelete
  25. vilatesniftynook, I would be very interested in watching the speech if you could provide me with that information. I can't find anything on the Dept. of Educ. website except that the speech will be released Monday and delivered on Tuesday. Thank you.

    ReplyDelete
  26. I am Canadian as you know, but I still have an opinion, whether it counts or not!

    I would think that an important message from the President to the children of the nation with encouraging words as a new school year begins would be motivating and inspirational, no matter his party affiliation.

    Kids don't follow politics. They need to see the face of the Office of the President of the United States of America telling them to do the best they can, period. It can only help.

    ReplyDelete
  27. I don't understand the double standard. If it's OK for Regan to give a politically ladened speech to student on national tv, what's wrong with Obama telling kids to stay in school?

    On November 14, 1988, President Reagan addressed and took questions from students from four area middle schools in the Old Executive Office Building. The speech was broadcast live and rebroadcast by C-Span, and Instructional Television Network fed the program “to schools nationwide on three different days.”
    In his speech to students and the question and answer session following Reagan

    1. stressed the importance of low taxes and free trade.
    2. stressed the importance of religion in our nation.
    3 touted the economic achievements of his administration ,
    4.put in a plug for the line item veto,
    5. told the students that lowering taxes increases revenue
    6. boasted of his administrations aid to Negro colleges
    7. and told students that if guns were banned, burglars would be "celebrating forevermore"

    Don't believe me?

    Go ahead. You can read the entire Televised speech to the students here at the Ronald Regan Presidential Library archives.

    http://www.reagan.utexas.edu/archives/speeches/1988/111488c.htm

    ReplyDelete
  28. Ok, thank you all for your comments. I knew this was going to be a hot button with the parents that read my blog. I think everyone was able to be considerate while also voicing opposing views. Thank you for that.

    I try to present an issue on Friday without bias and let each side come out naturally, and now I'm ready to weigh in on the issue with my opinion.

    My school will not be showing this live but on their website. I will watch it first and then watch it with my children together at home. This is the best possible solution for me and how I would have planned for it to work out. But, had they chosen to show it live in school, I wouldn't have kept my kids home.

    I think we never believed there was an issue when presidents addressed students previously because we didn't have kids in school then (at least I didn't).

    President Regan was the first and many political themes cropped up during his question and answer session that caused some opposition when Bush was scheduled to address the children.

    I screen what my kids watch and will do so with this (mostly because of some questionable campaign commercials I don't agree with. I think that might be the "I pledge" vilates referred to. Sunny, here it is: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=51kAw4OTlA0 I don't believe this was going to be part of the actual address)

    As parents ourselves, we can't fault another parent for making sure something is appropriate for their children, but shielding them completely from something of this nature seems extreme.

    I know that presidents in the past have laced this speech with political mumbo jumbo and I had some questions about some verbiage I read in the curriculum, but in the end they will watch it -- just together as a family -- and then we will discuss it. Because the underlying message, to do well in school, is an important one and something we discuss regularly with our kids.

    People in power and in the media can be very influential over kids and I love to see them put their power to good use, setting aside agendas and reminding kids to do well in school, don't take drugs, etc... So, as a mom, thank you, and we'll see you on Sept. 8 (after school).

    This post is still open for comments, feel free to add your 2 cents even if you disagree with me :)

    ReplyDelete
  29. Well, after 2 days of talking about this out loud, I've figured out two things about how I feel. My anger is certainly directed at the schools. I realize that they were extended the invitation to watch the speech, but as public institutions, I feel we have a civic responsibility to show it. We rightfully stopped everything to show the inauguration. I also respect parents' decisions to remove their child from the room. I'm saddened by it, because here in SC, I promise you, MOST of it is about race. Race hiding behind politics. If parents at my school want their kids to see it, they have to come to school and go with their kid to the library to watch it. Having to opt in to see the speech makes me angry. Anyway, I'll save it for my blog.

    Thanks for the video info. I do know that video. That just goes to show how much misinformation and misunderstanding is out there and that makes me even sadder. It certainly helps me understand just how issues like this get so complicated and heated so fast!

    ReplyDelete
  30. I heard the speech on a local radio station the other morning. There are some good things in it, but it is the left-wing messages intertwined in it that are the controversial part (i.e. stem-cell research among others). Parents have the responsibility of teaching their children their views. We don't need our government trying to impose their views on our children. It is the parents' job to raise their children according to their values.

    ReplyDelete
  31. Print this. I dare you!!!

    This whole things is a big double standard. It's OK for a Republican president to addressed a national audience of students and toot his horn and push his political position but it's not ok for Obama to tell students to stay in school?

    You guys are hypocrits.

    On November 14, 1988, President Reagan addressed and took questions from students from four area middle schools in the Old Executive Office Building. The speech was broadcast live and rebroadcast by C-Span, and Instructional Television Network fed the program “to schools nationwide on three different days.”
    In his speech to students and the question and answer session following Reagan

    1. stressed the importance of low taxes and free trade. Next he
    2. stressed the importance of religion in our nation.
    3 touted the economic achievements of his administration ,
    4.put in a plug for the line item veto,
    5. told the students that lowering taxes increases revenue
    6. boasted of his administrations aid to Negro colleges
    7. and told students that if guns were banned, burglars would be "celebrating forevermore"

    Go ahead. Read Reagan's entire Televised speech to the students here at the Ronald Regan Presidential Library archives.

    http://www.reagan.utexas.edu/archives/speeches/1988/

    ReplyDelete
  32. Dear "Hamster",

    You are so confrontational when this discussion has been civilized so far. I think that is very telling.

    I haven't erased your previous comment, and I will keep this one though it looks silly that you cut and pasted the one already there. But that is okay.

    Reagan's speech is actually a reason for NOT showing it in schools. I don't think it was right to dump that on children whether I agree with it or not. And I don't think it should happen again.

    This speech's transcript is not being made available until Monday. Let's all just wait and see.

    Sincerely,

    Juniper

    ReplyDelete
  33. I'm sorry. I said that I had heard the speech, but what I actually heard was the iPledge speech that was done by Demi Moore & Ashton Kutcher. It was an outrage.

    ReplyDelete
  34. Thanks for your sweet comments on my blog about my slipcover - - I answered your questions in my comments on my blog!

    ReplyDelete
  35. I have to say something here, I live in Canada and am watching all this unfold. Do you realize how fortunate your students are to have the leader of your country taking the time to speak to your children to encourage them to stay in school and be all they can be. I wish our Prime Minister would do that for our kids. What harm does it do for kids to write letters to the president and give him some pointers, you know what they say "out of the mouths of babes", they are citizens they have ideas and points to make. Don't you want them to be involved in their country, do you think all of this holding back their participation whether it be watching the broadcast or writing letters is helping them become better citizens.
    What is the real reason people are so upset by this speech, which will be given by President Obama. I think there other underlining facts in this.
    By the way before you say butt out, I will tell you I am an American Citizen with lots of family in the US.

    ReplyDelete
  36. Hi Jennifer- I have to say I almost didn't open this post from Google Reader. But then curiosity got the better of me. I can't tell you how heartened I was that most responders sound sane. Believing in the old motto "keep your friends close but your enemies closer" I tune into Fox news every week or so. Just to hear how they are amping up their viewers at any given time. I have never in 50 years of tv watching seen such a constant barrage of unmerited HATRED being spewn. They are whipping many ignorant Americans into a frenzy...because, why? I still can't figure it out. I shake my head in shame and sadness and want to just leave this country when I see how "my fellow Americans" are behaving. So all last week hearing bits and pieces of people being "offended" that our President will have the gall to speak to our schoolchildren! I am offended by them.

    ReplyDelete
  37. As a public school teacher, I received the email about the speech and that we were given the option of whether or not to show it. Naive little me didn't think twice about it. Our schools have been inundated with phone calls from parents demanding their children be taken out of the room if the speech is shown. I just don't get it. I am the least political person there is, so when I hear that the president is going to address the students to tell them how important education is...I think, "Okay. Sounds good. Education IS important." Who knew there were people who think he is brainwashing our children? It's so crazy to me how much of an issue this has been. It is amazing to me that people are refusing to let their children listen to the president of the United States. It all seems very paranoid to me. Not to mention...I can't get my students to listen to a 5 minute speech from me about turning in their homework on time. Do you really think they are going to listen to the president well enough to be brainwashed?!

    ReplyDelete
  38. I am continually saddened by the state of our educational systems and how we as a people react to our government. I still well up with a sense of pride when I hear the national anthem sung. I still recall the words to the pledge of allegiance. I still remember the other patriotic songs we sang each morning as our school day began. My kids, they didn't get to experience any of that. And they are 20 and 23. If our president is speaking to the school kids of the nation, I believe every student should be listening. I experienced my kids being exposed to military recruiters during their lunch time at the High School they attended and I wasn't informed of the access these recruiters were being given. But, the administration in power at the time was a different one and our congressman was of the same political persuasion as the administration. . . I don't know what the district is doing regarding this speech. I don't have any children in the school system. But if I did - I'd be inclined to keep them home so I could be sure they were watching. And, learning to respect our president regardless of my political feelings. Sad. I'm just sad we still don't know how to act as "one nation, under God." Can anyone name where that phrase came from? I suspect our school children can't.

    ReplyDelete
  39. Jen, you are right on in regards to Hamster. My school has finally told us that they are going to watch the speech, make sure that nothing political was stuck in, and if the teachers have the time to show it in class, they can with the parents approval.
    They also refuse to use the recommended curriculum sent to them, and I'm very pleased with that. There was really no need for it.

    I've just read the transcript, and as I thought it is pretty innocuous. If he STICKS to the speech as written, and doesn't stick stuff in there that should be in there, all will be just fine. Lucky they put the bug in our heads, so they knew what to avoid in the speech, huh? Ha-ha!

    In closing. EVERY president who chose to speak to the children directly has hit a wall of parents that don't want their children exposed, or don't like what is discussed. Reagan's speech was riddled with controversy. Bush Sr.'s speech was the same way. The concern now comes from parents LEARNING from history, and not wanting it to happen to THEIR children.
    The implication that we somehow foolish for wanting to protect our children, implies a short memory for so many, IMO.

    ReplyDelete
  40. Jen, wow, another wonderful "Feedback Friday" topic.

    You are 100% right; this is a very hot-topic. A similar debate has started brewing on my blog as well.

    Here's what I think. My daughter is in Pre-K, so she won't be seeing it anyway. But my mother-in-law and several of my friends are teachers and they echoed things you and your readers said. They got bombarded with complaints, questions, comments and e-mails. Some parents just wanted to know more, some were OK with it and some wanted to opt their kids out.

    The media is making a big deal out of the fact that since Bush, no President has done this. So does that mean it's good or bad. I'd think it if made sense to do it, it would happen more often. Could be a novice opinion, but I'm sure I'm not the only person asking myself that tonight.

    Also, I think it's important for our children to be educated about some (repeat - some) politics, but I think this is just becoming a left vs. right circus. They should abort rather than face some of the backlash they clearly will. Oh, and I'm sure someone will be suing someone over this by tomorrow too. Haha!!!

    ReplyDelete
  41. P.S. I will say that I'm glad the speech was posted online first. I think that was the best thing they could have done, considering the circumstances. I may not agree with it, but I think that was a good play.

    ReplyDelete

Tell me what you think!

 

Template fueled by Blogger. Customized for Hope Studios by Brightfish Designs. ©2009
  • BrightfishDesigns at Hotmaildotcom