Thursday, September 3, 2009

Though White House retreats some on President's educational address to nation's students, it's still inappropriate and reflects a liberal mindset.

Yesterday, I criticised President Obama's plan to play the father role to our nation's children. Today, the administration is backtracking a bit. (I'm not implying there's a connection.)

In a story entitled, "White House Withdraws Call for Students to 'Help' Obama":
The Obama administration is rethinking its course recommendations for students ahead of President Obama's address to the the nation's schoolchildren next week, rewriting its suggestions to teachers for student assignments on how to "help the president."

White House aides said the language was supposed to be an inspirational, pro-education message to America's youths, but its unintended consequences were evident.

Among the activities initially suggested for pre-K to 6th grade students was to "write letters to themselves about what they can do to help the president."

Another assignment for students after hearing the speech was to discuss what "the president wants us to do."

The suggestion about writing letters has since been changed to: "Write letters to themselves about how they can achieve their short-term and long-term education goals. These would be collected and redistributed at an appropriate later date by the teacher to make students accountable to their goals."

White House spokesman Tommy Vietor said the changes to the language are intended to make the lesson plans clearer. He added that the speech is not a policy speech, but is intended to encourage kids to work hard and commit to school.

The speech is "about the value of education and the importance of staying in school as part of his effort to dramatically cut the dropout rate," Vietor said.

I find that his plans are problematic and out of line. I believe the President is inappropriately injecting himself into an area outside of his area of responsibility or jurisdiction. The President Obama should not be injecting himself directly into the lives of children and the local classroom by giving them curricula assignments.

He's both injecting himself between parents and their children on a massive scale, and he's injecting himself into curricula issues.

The White House says he wants to encourage kids to work hard and commit to school. Fine. He could do this by speaking generally to the public and educators not by rounding up kids to hear his pitch when not invited to do so.

His actions flow from a liberal mindset that political leaders have no limits to their area of responsibility and involvement in society. They believe they can and should inject themselves into all areas of life. There are no limits.


Jesus was a liberal said...

Current events is a mind growing, teaching subject that people, adults and children can grasp and learn from.

If you have such issues with your child watching the president who is taking initiative in education, in a country that is hugely lacking behind other countries. You do have the choice of either homeschooling them, or to move to a religious state, I am sure Iraq has room for your way of thinking, their practices seem to align themselves very much to those of the radical extremist religious views of your own.

I had to read papers, watch the TV programs of the president and write essays all the time back in the 70-90 of all my educational life. I went to private Christian schools. My father and grandfather told me similar stories of doing the same with radio programs. This was done in all the political cultures we had through out the past.

There is always the choice of homeschooling your children, not allowing them to watch any media of any kind, and giving them only one opinion on life. This way you can have that 100 percent parental control.. I am sure they will grow up to be well adjusted, and perhaps not be indoctrinated, colonized robots of your view in life.

President George H.W. Bush addressed American students in 1991, and Ronald Reagan did so via C-SPAN in 1988. (Bush talked mainly about the importance of education, while Reagan hailed the benefits of low taxes and the line-item veto.) President George W. Bush appealed to "the children of the country" to back the war against the Taliban in Afghanistan in 2001, to no public criticism.

Herb said...

Yes, Obama is not the first to address children. Actually some fun accounts are to be found, if your smart enough to do the research and not just knee jerk answers like Socialists/liberal propaganda! no other president has done this! DEBUNKED AGAIN! The extremist radical right really needs to do some educational research before speaking on research.

Here is some fun stuff said about reagan and bush's speaches...

Why is it political for the president of the United States to discuss education?" asked Newt Gingrich, who was then the House Republican whip. "It was done at a nonpolitical site and was beamed to a nonpolitical audience. . . . They wanted to reach the maximum audience with the maximum effect to improve education."

Funny though, both Reagan and Bush's statements pushed their politcal propaganda to the fulliest.

I wonder if the liberals/socialists as you title so many people dragged their children out of school those days?

Elaine said...

It's hard to imagine anything more ridiculous than attacking the president of the United States for talking to students about the importance of getting a good education and being a good citizen.

When a simple message about staying in school and committing yourself to academic excellence becomes controversial, one can be sure that this nation is in serious trouble.

I feel, that if you keep your child from school that day you are expressing your want for your child to fail.

I am ashamed of this reaction and will pray for your souls.

Anonymous said...

Yet another example that the President's critics are not offering criticism based in reality. I think it's safe to say that Obama Derangement Syndrome (ODS) is sweeping the Republican party: Healthcare reform is "evil." A speech about the importance of a good education is "indoctrination." Signing a bill that gives a tax cut to 98% of working-class Americans is "socialism." Getting a dog is fodder for a political attack from the RNC. Your daughter wearing shirt with a peace symbol on it is "sickening." Reports that threats against your life have increased has become an "effort to change the subject" or a way "to make people feel sorry for you." Using a teleprompter is attacked. Going on date is attacked. Going on vacation is attacked. ... When your primary role as a party, or as an individual, is to undermine someone else, you have lost all credibility and you are a disgrace to this nation. Our nation was founded on appeals to the greatness in us as people, not pettiness. Right now, the Republican Party is consumed by pettiness and blinded by hate. As long as they maintain this posture, they should never been entrusted again with the leadership of this nation, because such characteristics do not advance us as a nation, they set us back.

Claude said...

What has everyone creeped out is the lesson plan the Dept of Education sent to teachers suggesting they have students write letters to themselves about how they could help the president."

I just took a look at the lesson plan and it instructs the students to write letters to themselves about the educational and civic goals they want to achieve, not "how they could help the President". What I find amazing is how little respect right-wingers have for the office of the Presidency. When in the former 8 years if someone from the left even lightly disagreed with the president they were called anit american or un patriotic.

mom said...

the thing that gets me is that the statements of issues that this is indoctrinating their kids when the whole agenda at the mfc is about indoctrination! your goal is to put your religious behavior and lifestyle choices onto everyone.

indoctrinate your own children, stop trying to keep the truth of life from my children.

I say good going President Obama. address my child, acknowledge who he is, and ask what he can do for man kind. How every person is important even the little ones. That each of us have power, not just the leaders.

Shame shame shame on you and your so called religious backed morals. For this one takes the cake.

Elaine said...

bess... And set us back they have. We will be spending the next 88 years to undo what the last 8 years have done to us as a nation.

Its not all republicans, the ones that are trying to indoctrinate us fully are the extremist radicals such as the "leaders" that produce this blog......

A president asking our children what they can do to help the nation, the presient, and themselves in an activity that will be written to themselves is life helping, they could say, I dont agree with the president, I can help by continued plans of my own and to not vote for people like him when I am old enough, they can say anything. Its about real activity and real school work. Not the tought of any kid left behind which ends up in how can we test our children so we know who to give money to. when the ones that are not testing well are the ones that need the most help!

I am ashamed. embarrased of people that call themselves people of God and would do so much to harm a child as to keep them from education to make their own political statement.

zzz said...

Joe Kernen of MSNBC, who is a staunch Republican and has made his position clear about Obama’s policies, said this morning that he thought this thing is just absurd.

A president asking our kids to stay in school, to think about what they can do to help their country, and to work hard.

yes, that is so indoctrinating! lol ok what are the radical right smoking these days? gotta be some strong stuff

Troy said...

I think it is embarrassing that so many people are up in arms about this. He is the president of ALL Americans and wants to address the youth of our nation. maybe the republicans should think past rich old white men.

It's the CHURCH that needs to stay out of the schools, not the leader of our great nation. Sheeesh.

Blog mole said...

I wouldn't let my child listen to this unless I heard it first. Why not publish what he is going to say so that parents can make an informed decision. The bottom line is Obama and his administration are not to be trusted. It's evident with everything else they are doing what they want to accomplish. This is their way of getting to them when they are young enough to still be fooled by all of it.

mom said...

He did publish it, and sent it to the school districts.

My principal is in charge of our school, we trust him and we know he would never allow something that is inappropriate. He has contacted all of us, and assured us that if the teachers feel that its fitting with the lesson plan they will show it. If not they have the power to not show it.

Home school your children if you need to sheild them from real life.

I am going to tape it and watch it with my children even if they dont see it at school and talk about politics and the meanings behind the words, I doubt I will agree with every word, but I am sure that the same propaganda that was sent out with Bushes speach to the kids would never reach the level of what Obama would say.

I am proud of our president for supporting education, and for giving the children the empowerment to take control of their own futures! What a civil serving thing for our leader of the all civil services. I stand proud.

In my opinion any parent that blocks their children from such an educational piece is a bad parent, and is blocking education and limiting their child to only one opinion in life, which is indoctrination, which is slavery.

You can own your child if you need to. I am here only to guide, give, protect physically and to give physically. To give the opportunities to become what ever they need to become and to learn all they can learn in life.

I hope your ok with your limitations in life. That isn't conservative thats dictatorship in my opinion.

mom said...

The most conservtive blogger on the parents forum of mpls, supports and is excited by the speech made. Why? Because he is a teacher, and wants anything that will excite, and motivate the public to support our children to stay in school, get educated and to take responsibility of their own path in life.

His speach was enspiring. unlike the propaganda filled ill gained strike against the youth when Regan and Bush addressed the children.

Indoctrination is the definition of the MFC and religious extremists.

Support, and self made choice is the definition of what Obama said.

I am very proud today to be an american. I am proud of what our leader did.

I am ashamed of all that will use their children to futher their own adult obscene need for greed, power and indoctrination of their own beliefs.

That is my opinion and thank GOD i have the right to have it. If I was in a state that followed your agenda i wouldn't be allowed that thought.

zzz said...

"At the end of the day, we can have the most dedicated teachers, the most supportive parents and the best schools in the world, and none of it will matter unless all of you fulfill your responsibilities,"

Words to enspire from, a statement our leaders, parents, preachers alike would agree with.

Jesus would have voted for this man.

Anonymous said...

Liberal mindset? Is that the mindset that Bush and Regan had when they actually pushed their agenda on children? Where were you then? Supporting such a speach is where you were.

This Speach was free of all politics. This speach was for the children and their future.

Where is your appology To the whole nation for how WRONG you are.

Your mindset is dangerous, and is as dangerous as the natzi and middle east mindset. To oppose this nation proves you want to dominate the nation with your behavior and lifestyle. I will lock my doors at night knowing you are near, I hope that every parent protects their child and warns them of the dangerous indoctrination and cult way of thinking of the radical extremists that are right here in our city.

I am shaking thinking of what the world would be like if the radical right would not have the law inbetween them and me. I would be burned at the stake like people were when they said the world wasn't flat, and I would beheaded like those who had proof in front of them when Galieo said that the planets circled the sun.

Claude said...

His actions flow from a mindset that political leaders have no limites to their area of responsibility? Such as regan and bush did? who actually did sell their politics in those addresses to children when this speach was purely a matter of how to be a better citizen by the man who runs the nation in which you live in?

The wowzer factor on the stretch that the radicals have taken on this idea is one to go down in the history books.

You do understand that when kids in the future learn, and read and are tested about their first black american president and all the extreme radical opponents he had to face in this time, that people like yourselves will be mentioned?

After hearing his speach today, I would hope you would come out and publically appologize because at this point, this stand makes the right look ridiculous.

Thank all the Gods for seperation of church and state.

My humble opinion.

Jesus was a liberal said...

Claude is not so far off. The Media is all over this. One of my favorite pieces is from the washington post.

Staying in School and the 'Socialist Agenda'
We have just gone through one of the most shameful episodes of the young Obama presidency -- shameful because of the behavior of the right wing, shameful because the media played into an extremist agenda, shameful because we proved that our political system has become so dysfunctional that a president gets punished for doing the right thing.

Upon Barack Obama’s election, even my most conservative friends who supported John McCain said Obama could do a world of good for poor children in the country by stressing the importance of education, hard work, staying in school and taking responsibility. Yes, those are often thought of as conservative values.

But when Obama proposed to do just that on the first day of school, the far right -- without asking any questions or seeking any information -- decided to pounce, on the theory that everything Obama did should be attacked relentlessly as part of some secret and dangerous ideological agenda.

Out popped Jim Greer, the Florida Republican chairman, who accused the president of trying to “indoctrinate America's children to his socialist agenda."

In a normal world, the media would have asked Greer for proof of such a wild charge and, since he didn’t have any, his press release would have gone into the circular file.

But, no, the media is so petrified of being criticized for being “liberal” that it chose to take a lunatic charge seriously and helped gin up this phony controversy.

The only rationale for assailing Obama was a single line in a long memo from the Department of Education listing eight steps that students could take to further their goals. It listed the categories for those goals as “personal, academic, community, country."

Far from encouraging students to fight for a political agenda, the guidelines emphasized that teachers should focus on “personal and academic” goals. Then came the “controversial” sentences: “Write letters to themselves about what they can do to help the president. These would be collected and redistributed at an appropriate later date by the teacher to make students accountable to their goals."

In validating their decision to allow the madcap right to dominate several news cycles with their attacks on Obama, many reporters and commentators kept repeating that all this was the fault of that single sentence written by Education Department “bureaucrats” -- as if this sentence was reason enough to give wide publicity to an outright lie about what Obama was up to.

In context, it was absolutely clear that the supposedly offending sentence was in no way about politics. But just to make sure, the Education Department rewrote the passage to clarify that the students’ letters should focus on their “short-term and long-term education goals.” Yes, it would have been nice if the Ed Department had used such a sentence in the first place. (In general, it would be nice if memos of this sort were written in plain English.) But nothing in the original document justified the paranoia the far right let loose.

And, of course, Obama’s speech was not at all “political” in any conventional definition of that word. It was about highlighting the importance of individual achievement. Here is an example of the president’s “socialist” propaganda, from the text of his speech:

Jesus was a liberal said...

I’ve talked a lot about your government’s responsibility for setting high standards, supporting teachers and principals, and turning around schools that aren’t working where students aren’t getting the opportunities they deserve.
But at the end of the day, we can have the most dedicated teachers, the most supportive parents, and the best schools in the world -- and none of it will matter unless all of you fulfill your responsibilities. Unless you show up to those schools; pay attention to those teachers; listen to your parents, grandparents and other adults; and put in the hard work it takes to succeed.
And that’s what I want to focus on today: the responsibility each of you has for your education. I want to start with the responsibility you have to yourself.
If that’s “socialist,” then Barry Goldwater, Ronald Reagan and just about every parent in America are “socialists.”

Oh, yes, and after reading the president’s remarks, the aforementioned Jim Greer, the Florida GOP chairman, declared: “It's a good speech. It encourages kids to stay in school and the importance of education, and I think that's what a president should do.”

But not a word of apology for helping set off a dishonest and destructive episode that led who knows how many parents to keep their kids home today or to forbid them from listening to a president urging them to do well in school.

One other point: Defenders of the right-wing argue that the left said terrible things about George W. Bush. That’s true. What the apologists miss is that the deep anger at Bush did not set in until he had been president for several years. Despite the rage over Florida and the Supreme Court’s Bush v. Gore decision, Bush did not face until much later in his administration anything like the hostility that Obama already confronts. Liberals, staunch liberals, were even willing to work with Bush on some issues -- remember, for example, Ted Kennedy’s work on the “No Child Left Behind” Act.

And the entire country, including almost all of the left, united behind Bush after the attacks of Sept. 11, 2001. (Here, to provide a personal example, is my own column of Oct. 12, 2001. Yes, what I wrote looks naive now, but I’m still glad I gave Bush the benefit of the doubt at that moment.) The far, far left that trashed Bush immediately after 9/11 was isolated and treated as cranky and even subversive by the mainstream media. Note how quickly Van Jones was driven from his administration job for singing that wacky post-9/11 petition. The far left faces much tougher public and media discipline than the far right.

The right-wing decided almost from Day One that a president elected with 53 percent of the vote (and 365 electoral votes) was illegitimate. They are trashing a moderate liberal as a socialist propagandist. They are getting a lot of press coverage for doing so. Where is the accountability?

Am I continuing to be naive in believing that, one of these days, a phalanx of responsible conservatives will stand up to the extremists? Boy, do I miss William F. Buckley Jr.


So to wrap up. We are not the ones that are labeling you as extremists and radicals. You are.

Mary said...

this newest debauchery the radical right has caused in their laughing state attack on the speech but now the world is noting on it.

I hope that the GOP does it split from the radical religious right winged branch very soon! As for someone who has voted on both sides of the fence, I can not in good judgement ever vote with a party again, that supports such mass hysteria media.

Once again, the Right has been debunked, I am embarrassed of my right wing associations of the past because of it.

Mary said...

The world is now laughing at the US because of the debauchery that the radical right created.

Will we have press now with a disclaimer? Will you have the strenght or self pride to admit how wrong, alarmist and that it was just a mistake period?

Liberal mindset?

With words like take responsibility? Self responsibility?

What does the conservative right stand for if not that?

Traci said...

Obama tells kids to stay in school, and parents who no doubt support the GOP were taking kids out of school.

His words were everything any religious leader has based series of sermons on.

His actions are giving and civil oriented as Jesus was.

Obama was even has several of the same features Jesus had, a man of color as example.

Why does the religious sect fear him so much?

Is hope that fearful?

Is progressive motion Fearful?

Is empowerment and responsibility fearful?

Take a look in your heart, and start to seperate your political indoctrination of your own. You are brainwashed to thinking that what is different than you are is bad.

He is someone that follows all things conservative in the religious Jesus sense.

The fact that you DON'T support him is against Jesus scriptures and teachings.

I am proud of the parents and teachers that went out of their way today to welcome the children to school with a speech from a world leader telling them they are important that the children of this country can do anything they put their minds to and that they can be great minds of the world if they take repsonsibilty for their own actions!


Geo said...

I think its best said by your own party.

Chester E. Finn, President of education think tank the Thomas B. Fordham Institute, worked for the Reagan Administration in the Department of Education.

This is what he had to say about all of this.

Finn recalls school children being encouraged to watch the President's speech to help them deal with the trauma. "That was one of his fine moments," Finn recalls of Reagan's speech. "Not one single solitary soul that I am aware of criticized him." But today, if the response to President Obama's address to school children is any indication, the incident would likely be cast as "Conservative President Seeks to Take Advantage of National Tragedy." How did America get to this point?

"I don't remember Presidents speaking to educators and schoolkids producing this kind of dust up before," says Finn, a conservative who has worked in education policy for 40 years. The media should bear some of the blame. Obama's speech this afternoon was both inoffensive and appropriate. And yet, cable news channels, newspapers and blogs (including this one) gave credence to the gripes of a few minor players in the Republican party. Florida GOP Chair Jim Greer was given a megaphone, though he's not been considered a national GOP leader before. Which highlights a second problem - the lack of a credible Republicans willing to buck the vocal fringes of their party. Finn found the entire fracas "absurd" on one level, but sees it as part of a worrisome broader trend in his party. "I'm beginning to be a little, I guess I'll say ashamed of a fair number of fellow Republicans who it seems to me are letting outrage and paranoia substitute for ideas and alternatives of their own," Finn said. He wonders where his party's real leaders are.

The changing nature of school curriculum shares some responsibility. Education experts like Ed Hirsh have lamented the decline of civics education, an important tool in the construction of national character and identity. As demands for technical education like math, science and computing flourish, civics education gets sidelined. Turning out competent citizens is a diminished focus for schools, as they race to produce book-smart kids who perform well standardized tests. The idea of a classroom as a vessel for the common good gets lost, and along with it, notions of schools as touchstones of a common society in which we share a commitment to functional democracy. In world where schools have stopped being a bastion of civic education, it's harder to see the natural pedagogical fit with a Presidential address. And so it becomes a political sideshow.

How do you comment now MFC?

Claude said...

I am loving this response of just quoting the right wing response to this political theater that the radical right has created.

Here is more from the GOP party members on what happened with the speech.

COLUMBUS: Decent, thoughtful, moderate Republicans must reclaim their party from the far-right fringe.

The country and state need a strong, viable and relevant Republican Party to ensure a balance of power and perspective in debating policy, defining priorities and writing laws.

Instead, we have a mere sliver of the citizenry, fueled by hate and ignited by irresponsible leaders and vainglorious radio talk-show hosts, that is the face of the GOP and the carrier for its obdurate message.

By this time, you are probably aware that President Barack Obama's speech to students across America on Tuesday was not a plea to follow Karl Marx or Frederick Engels, nor did he seek to enlist the youth of this country into ideological indoctrination camps or even ask them for their votes.

Mass hypnosis was not employed and subliminal messages were absent.

Instead, the president lectured like just about every parent, teacher, superintendent and business leader has at one time or another to their children or charges.

Stay in school, study, work, overcome your obstacles, learn and become the next generation of doctors, inventors and statesmen.

Shut off the television, put down the game controls and open a book because there are no shortcuts.

In the days leading up to the speech, far-right cuckoo birds insisted that the president was going to expose students to socialist ideas and politics. Angry parents attacked schools for forcing their children to listen to propaganda and insisted the speech not be aired or students be spared by staying home or isolated from the president's unduly influential ideas.

The response by a large number of superintendents in this state and across the country demonstrated why they should be exhibits in science classes studying invertebrates rather than trusted with running districts.

Many caved and canceled the live viewing of the speech. Others wriggled by saying they might work it into the curriculum at some vague, future time.

The derided speech was mundane and innocuous, and although no polls were taken, you can bet the number of students in the audience who tuned out the message exceeded those who were sheltered from the president's words.

The far-right fringe should be embarrassed, but its repeated actions clearly indicate it has no shame and no true understanding of the importance of civilized, thoughtful discourse.

In this country, the majority rules and the results of an election are respected while the minority is afforded representation and the right to continue to be heard.

Claude said...

Barack Obama is the president. As hard as that is to read for the far right and even more difficult for many to accept, it is the truth.

The moderate Republican Party, the one that once appealed to a majority in this country with fiscally conservative ideals and a far less intrusive social reform agenda, must rise again to compete against Democrats.

It is not healthy for a democracy to fall under one-party rule, whether it is Democrat or Republican.

For moderate Republicans hoping in the near future to control majorities in the U.S. Congress or elect a president, their task — and it will not be easy — is to somehow either enlighten or marginalize their crazed cousins living life on the far-right edge of reality.

Only a small minority of voters respond to rage and hate. Most voters want politicians to work constructively rather than destructively to address issues.

The race-baiting, the relentless personal attacks, the hate-mongering might get attention, but these ideals do not and never will represent a majority of voters in this country.

So moderate Republicans, do yourself a favor and publicly reject your far-right fringe and send a message to the rest of America that you understand these people are on the wrong track and out of touch.

Does the MFC have anything to say about how they made a huge mistake and perhaps a bigger one by helping the political theatrics it helped to create?

zzz said...

ok even greer had to back down will the MFC?

"socialist indoctrination," in fact Obama's speech was such a celebration of American capitalism and its fruits that we counted five product placements in it:

I've talked about your parents' responsibility for making sure you stay on track, and get your homework done, and don't spend every waking hour in front of the TV or with that Xbox. . . . Maybe you could be an innovator or an inventor – maybe even good enough to come up with the next iPhone or a new medicine or vaccine – but you might not know it until you do a project for your science class. . . . Students who sat where you sit 20 years ago who founded Google, Twitter and Facebook and changed the way we communicate with each other.
To his credit, Greer backed down from his kooky statement and told ABC News yesterday: "It's a good speech."

or will the MFC proove all its counter pointers right with labels such as fringe, radical, extemist?

IS the MFC willing to subject to the idea that this was indeed a non political urged speech and that it was indeed NOT a liberal mindset? IF anything it was conservative in all fashions.

zzz said...

Even laura Bush thinks the actions of the MFC and others like them are wrong.

her Quotes on this speech.

"really important for everyone to respect the President of the United States."

She continued, "I think that there is a place for the President of the United States to talk to school children and encourage school children, and I think there are a lot of people that should do the same."

Now say what MFC?

mom said...

you have egg all over your face day in day out.

How can you even look in the mirror with all the lies you keep telling?