Frankly, I am baffled by the conservative response to Barack Obama’s decision to speak to school children today.
According to this CNN story, conservative parents were frightened that the PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES would be speaking to their children. Some thought he would try to turn them into socialists. Minnesota Governor Tim Pawlenty said that the classroom is no place to show a video address from the PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES. Florida GOP Chairman Jim Greer was appalled that taxpayer money was being used by the PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES to “indoctrinate” students.
Apparently none of this was a problem when George H. W. Bush addressed students in 1991 or when Ronald Reagan did the same in 1988. Unlike Obama’s speech today, Reagan’s used his time with school children to attack high taxes and big government.
Obama’s “indoctrination” included the following themes: responsibility, hard work, perseverance, commitment, setting goals, learning through failure, writing extra drafts of papers, asking for help, showing respect for teachers, standing up against bullies, washing your hands, striving amid adversity, having a vision for the future, and developing one’s talents, skills, and intellect.
It is only a matter of time before someone comes along and connects these virtues and practices to communism. How dare the federal government tell our students to write extra drafts of papers and stand up to bullies!
I do want to know this: Why aren’t level-headed GOP leaders and politicians standing up to this fear-mongering?
My 3rd grade daughter watched the speech today in her class. She came home excited that the president of the United States planned a speech for kids like her. For her, the highlights were Obama’s reminder to wash her hands, the fact that Michael Jordan was cut from his high school basketball team, and the importance of working hard. After the talk she filled out a worksheet related to the controversial “lesson plan.” It asked her to set a goal for herself. Her goal: To practice hard enough to make the “A” travel soccer team next year and to “make straight ‘A’s’ or ‘B’s’ in her classes.
I am glad the president inspired her today.
ADDENDUM: In the comments section Russ R. reminds me that there was indeed some controversy surrounding George H.W. Bush’s 1991 speech to school children. Here is an article on the Democrat response to Bush’s speech. Thanks, Russ!