Washington The furor surrounding President Barack Obama’s upcoming address to the nation’s schoolchildren is “just silly,” his education chief said Sunday, and former Sen. Lamar Alexander, R-Tenn., a conservative who led the Education Department in the first Bush administration, suggested teachers make it a civics lesson.
Education Secretary Arne Duncan’s department has taken heat for proposed lesson plans distributed to accompany Tuesday’s speech. He acknowledged that a section about writing to the president on how students can help him meet education goals was poorly worded. It has been changed.
Debate about conservative objections to the speech has dominated cable television and talk radio for several days, signaling again the stark divisions in the country both over politics and social issues.