How Will I Respond With My Child To

The President’s Address To Students?



The day after Labor Day, and for many the first day of school, Tuesday, Sept. 8th at 11:00 CST, President Obama will address school age children in grades K through 12. This address or as I prefer to call it, speech or event, is to focus on the importance of education. As if (we) parents don’t have enough to worry about as our children head back to school: flu season along with the swine flu, health in general, sky-rocketing unemployment, behavior, grades, homework, sports, relationships, drug use, teen sex/pregnancies, and violence in our schools, now we must fear our own President’s motives behind his upcoming monumental message directed to our nations schoolchildren. And without a preview of this speech, how are we as parents to know what exactly this speech will entail? Why wait until the day of the event to release the text of the speech in this political climate? Why planned with such short notice? Why the first day of school which every educator knows is so hectic? President Obama plans to speak to a captive audience of schoolchildren ages 5 to 18 through the classrooms of our nation’s public schools. If Obama’s speech actually addresses the significance of education in American lives and acts as a motivator that is one thing, but why do they need directives or interactive activities? Why do children have to be instructed to write how they can help Obama? And where are the permission slips? Oh that’s right, most schools had less than a week to prepare for this opening day event. Poorly planned and executed or done to perfection?


Per Arne Duncan’s own letter to the principals, this is an unprecedented event. Never before in history has an American President used his office to address our entire population of impressionable children. My concern as a parent is that what if this speech goes off message? What if a child just ‘happens’ to ask a question about healthcare or her sickly grandmother? There is no way to just turn off the TV in your child's classroom should you feel as a parent this is not what you want your child to learn. This is not a part of the regular curriculum of learning skills in math, social studies and English. Could the President take advantage of the captive audience of young minds and promote his socialist ideology? Will he use this to justify his plans to socialize medicine, Cap and Trade, increase taxes, or the take over of private industry? To tell the kids that these are tough times but the government knows best how to fix it?


Somewhat noteworthy, Federal law expressly forbids the Secretary of Education or any officer from exercising "any direction, supervision, or control over the curriculum, program of instruction, administration, or personnel of any educational institution, school, or school system." 20 U.S.C. § 3403. The President must cease this illegal activity.


Additionally, DOE Secretary Duncan is no moderate. He is a former Chicago politician who chose Kevin Jennings as Assistant Deputy Secretary of the Office of Safe and Drug-Free Schools. Jennings was the founder of GLSEN (Gay, Lesbian, Straight Education Network), a radical group that promotes forced acceptance of homosexuality and transsexuality in schools to children as young as five.


The timing of this speech also cannot be overlooked. It is coming at a time when this president is deeply involved in the political battle of his life. His actions of late have so divided this country that his once sky-rocketing approval numbers have dropped through the floor. The president’s current approval rating is lower than that of George W. Bush and even Jimmy Carter after the same amount of time in office. Sept. 8 also coincides with the first day of school for many children throughout this country. So when so many teachers, principals, administrators, etc… have worked all summer to formulate the best possible teaching plan, to force such a ‘political’ speech upon a captive audience when they are there for the three R’s, seems disruptive at best.


Before the "paranoia monitors" fall off the bus to reprimand concerns surrounding this issue, ask yourself this question, how can we trust an administration that uses any means possible to move their agenda–-even the use of tactics that are scary, hypocritical and disingenuousness, including the appointment of over 44 Czars (whom own huge power without Senate confirmation), some of which are radical in their ideology (e.g. “Green” Czar Van Jones is a self-avowed Communist)? And a recent radio address, “'40 Minutes for Health Reform' featuring President Obama”, which aired August 10, 2009, and was Obama’s attempt to “get the people of faith, those clinging to their guns and religion", behind Obamacare. President Obama has even gone as far as to play the “God” card telling religious leaders healthcare critics are ‘guilty of sin’ and ‘bearing false witness’ by noting the federal funding of abortion in HealthCare Bill 3200.


Then to top it off, after his speech, there is a whole menu of classroom activities for the teachers to use in asking pointed questions. This can also be used as a launching pad for a teacher to interject their personal opinion that may not match yours. We have all seen the video of the teacher who belittled a student during the campaign who supported John McCain. And the stories are endless of the bias in schools during the election of which students who held conservative values where outcast.

The real danger of Barack Obama's speech to schoolchildren on September 8 did not lie in the speech itself, but rather in how the speech is received and how the agenda manifests itself in the classroom thanks to ideological teachers. With questions like "[w]hat is the president asking me to do?" and "[w]hat new ideas and actions is the President challenging me to think about?" and suggestions like "[have students] [w]rite letters to themselves about what they can do to help the president" it was extremely clear that the White House was less concerned with education and more concerned with indoctrination.

Now, however, it seems as though the Obama's administration's tendency to simply whitewash previously made statements now proving inconvenient is once again showing through, as the student worksheet accompanying the presidential speech has apparently been revised.

In the old version, perhaps the most daunting feature was the mechanism identifying how those letters from students--the ones in which they spelled out their goals to help the president--should be "collected and redistributed at an appropriate later date by the teacher to make students accountable to their goals." Holding students accountable to everyday goals may be just fine, but goals with regard to how they can help Barack Obama further his agenda crosses the line. If a student needs assistance in identifying such an "approved" goal, might the teacher be enlisted to "help?"

If, for example, a goal of "helping the president" would be to sell $50 worth of Kool-Aid for his campaign chest, and the student sold only $20 worth, would the need for accountability require that they be sent to a Kinder-gulag or junior marketing improvement seminar? Other suggestions in the old version of the directive included the posting of these "goals" around the classroom, graphing student "progress" toward the "goals," and composing poems, songs or personal essays on the "goals." Joseph Goebbels would have been ecstatic. And we're pretty sure Van Jones would have been fairly pleased as well.

Gone may be the directives requiring students to set "goals" for helping the president and be held accountable to them, but there is still no reference in the slightest to the nation as a whole, and the danger has still not subsided. While the superficial traces of the White House's hope to inculcate young students in the so-called "benefits" of "helping the president" instead of helping the nation may be better hidden, the section on "Extension of the Speech" still leaves students vulnerable to their teacher's ideals, even more so than in normal everyday classwork.

Many Americans grew up watching presidential speeches in our Social Studies and History classes. But most of those Americans did not grow up with this president. This man has one talent--community organizing--and he's not afraid to use it to herd your children like an overzealous border collie.

There are many good teachers out there, but there are many more who use their position at the Big Desk as a pulpit of sorts, a way to perpetuate the liberal agenda instilled so deeply inside them. When right-thinking Americans are once again able to obtain power in Washington, D.C., the time will come to foster a free-market approach to education, an approach that would bring the right kind of people into our schools in front of the blackboards, teachers concerned with teaching things like Mathematics, Writing, and History -- the latter without an ideological tilt. Until then parents, be wary.


So here we have the former community organizer and current president of the United States making an unprecedented speech to the school children of our nation. I'd like to believe his motives are pure and that politics are not playing into this. But viewing this administration's track record doesn’t afford such benefit of the doubt.

Moreover, when the president browbeats property owners who want to protect their legal rights… when the president admits he doesn't know the facts but impugns the integrity of a police force… when the president calls me a liar for reporting what is actually in the health care bills and encourages my neighbors to report me to some enemies list… when the president allows his Speaker of the House and House Majority Leader to label hard working middle Americans 'nazis', 'thugs', 'angry mobs', 'racists', et. al. without correction or reprimand... when the president apologizes to nations around the world and bows to a Saudi king… he loses the benefit of the doubt.

Without benefit of the doubt, the president doesn't get to speak to my children unchallenged.

Many are calling for Sept. 8 to be a National Keep Your Kids Out Of School Day. This is a choice that should be up to the individual parent. Most States law do, however, allow parents to ‘opt-out’ their children from events they find offensive or against the best interests of their child. And pulling your child really punishes the child by missing a whole day of school. In addition, the school loses revenue of $35.00 per child per day that they’re not in school. You could opt to remove your child from school just during the speech or ask your school superintendent to have a place for students to go during that time of whose parents do not want their child to participate. In addition, I believe a viable solution is for the parent to attend this mandatory Presidential address so that you can discuss with your child afterward what you agree and disagree on. Also, a parent in the classroom during the question and answer period after the address can keep a more liberal teacher on track. Still another good option, and this is what the Superintendant of our child’s school district is choosing to do, is record the event and then if the recording fits in sometime with the teacher’s pre-planned curriculum in the near future, allow it to be shown with parental notification.

If you’re not aware of how your child’s school is handling this event, please call and/or email your local school district and ask if they plan to participate in this. My research has determined that by now, most all districts have published their policy. I have read that some private schools will be showing the president’s address, so don't assume that if your child attends a private school they are immune from this. If your child's school is taking part, ask them to provide a place for children to go during the address of whose parents do not want their children to participate. Since this is not part of the regular curriculum there should be an opt-out option. Also, if you want to participate with your child make sure they will allow you to attend. I do not want to be an alarmist and assume the worst. But I also do not want to realize when it's too late that this first ever Presidential address to all students was not what the White House said it would be.

And above all pray. Pray for your child. Pray for their teachers and principals to do the right thing. Pray for our country, and yes, above all, pray for our president. He has a lot of tough decisions to make for our country in the coming months and we pray that his actions might be influenced and guided to conform to the Law of the Almighty Creator of this Universe who he himself has recognized.


Listing of Dallas and Surrounding Schools and Their Policies Re: Obama’s Address to Students


Letter from Secretary Arne Duncan to School Principals

 Menu of classroom activities for teachers after President Obama's address