The Latest Rightwing Freakout

Ken AshfordEducation, Obama OppositionLeave a Comment

On September 8, President Obama will speak to schoolchildren throughout the country.  He's going to convey a rather standard message.

In an August 26 letter to principals, Secretary of Education Arne Duncan described Obama's September 8 speech as being about "the importance of education" and "persisting and succeeding in school." Duncan also offered K-12 "classroom activities" to "engage students and stimulate discussion on the importance of education in their lives." From his letter:

In a recent interview with student reporter, Damon Weaver, President Obama announced that on September 8 — the first day of school for many children across America — he will deliver a national address directly to students on the importance of education. The President will challenge students to work hard, set educational goals, and take responsibility for their learning. He will also call for a shared responsibility and commitment on the part of students, parents and educators to ensure that every child in every school receives the best education possible so they can compete in the global economy for good jobs and live rewarding and productive lives as American citizens.

Since taking office, the President has repeatedly focused on education, even as the country faces two wars, the worst economic crisis since the Great Depression and major challenges on issues like energy and health care. The President believes that education is a critical part of building a new foundation for the American economy. Educated people are more active civically and better informed on issues affecting their lives, their families and their futures.

This is the first time an American president has spoken directly to the nation's school children about persisting and succeeding in school. We encourage you to use this historic moment to help your students get focused and begin the school year strong. I encourage you, your teachers, and students to join me in watching the President deliver this address on Tuesday, September 8, 2009. It will be broadcast live on the White House website 12:00 noon eastern standard time.

In advance of this address, we would like to share the following resources: a menu of classroom activities for students in grades preK-6 and for students in grades 7-12. These are ideas developed by and for teachers to help engage students and stimulate discussion on the importance of education in their lives. We are also staging a student video contest on education.

But the right wing is going ballistic. 

There's Glenn Beck and Michelle Malkin — frothing at the mouth about Obama trying to "indoctrinate the children" into his "socialist agenda".  (Staying in school is "socialist" now?) 

Here's this from Townhall:

Parents, prepare yourselves–your kids are going to be made a captive audience to this forced nonsense.  I suggest you plan your own civics lesson to teach your children when they get home from school on September 8.  Teach them that "civic duty" does not mean doing whatever the President wants you to do, but instead, being strong-minded enough to stick to your principles and formulate your own thoughts about the role government should play in our lives. 

And this from The American Thinker:

Obama has turned his team of brainwashers on the task of indoctrinating America’s youth.

And lots more.

These people are nuts.

P.S.  George H.W. Bush: Encouraged "America's students to strive for excellence." While president, George H.W. Bush gave a speech to schoolchildren intended "to motivate America's students to strive for excellence; to increase students' as well as parents' responsibility/accountability; and to promote students' and parents' awareness of the educational challenge we face." According to The Washington Post, the "White House sent letters to schools across the nation to encourage teachers and principals to allow students to tune in the speech, which was also carried live by the Mutual Broadcasting and NBC Radio Network. The live television and radio coverage was arranged at the request of the Education Department." [Washington Post, 10/2/91]