Heather Wolpert-Gawron

Obama’s Speech to the Schools (UPDATED)

By on September 5, 2009

As we’ve all heard, President Obama is addressing the children of our schools on Tuesday, speaking about the value of education, and encouraging students to work hard. The White House has also included lesson plans that focus on listening comprehension questions and critical-thinking questions. Questions that ask things like: “What is President Obama asking me to do?” or even one that reaches out for ways students can help schools be improved. Really deathly threatening stuff…to the champions of censorship, that is.

Every time this topic comes up, it makes me see red. It is tragic, frustrating, and angering that this is as controversial a topic as it is; but I’m never surprised that there are frightened extremists in our family pools.

What upsets me more, and what I am disappointed and angered about, are the weak leaders in our public schools out there who so easily cave to the fears of bias. Public schools are not meant to be subject to the whims of prejudiced thinking, and this is just what this is. Parents and communities are not meant to demand or insist on our curriculum; we are the experts in authentic education. parental advisory

If Sen. John McCain had won, I would be watching with my class just as I sure as hell will be watching President Obama.

Our presidents (from either side of the political fence) have the absolute right to address the children of this country. Our presidents should be directly involved in encouraging students to appreciate education. The real question is why hasn’t this been the norm?

Let’s face it, our whole country is going through back-to-school stress together, shouldn’t our president acknowledge that, participate in it, and be a positive tradition of encouragement for our students?

We say a pledge of allegiance every week in our schools, we even pledge “under God,” but we can’t hear our president say, “Work hard?”

There are just so many people in this country who allow loss to veil their reason. People still angered by the election. People still frightened by what COULD be said, instead of allowing students the opportunity to hear what WILL be said.

Public schools should be a fortress against such close-mindedness. They should be standing up to the prejudice, rolling their eyes at those parental complaints, and showing the president’s back-to-school speech in the face of ignorance. Fighting ignorance is our job. But there have always been and will always be those whose job it seems to be to limit education’s reach. By caving to these people’s prejudices is the real tragic, frustrating, and angering thing of all.


To read President Reagan’s speech to the students, click here. Biased?  Political agenda?  You be the judge.

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