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Should students watch President Obama’s back-to-school speech on Tuesday?

Response Percent Votes
68% 1393
28% 589
Not sure.
2% 61
Total 2043


overthemoon 8 years, 5 months ago

The President of the United States of America, elected by the majority of the people, has every right and reason to address our youngest citizens. A parent or school official who denies or limits them this right to participate in the democratic liberty of education is subjecting children to the tyranny of ignorance.

labmonkey 8 years, 5 months ago

It isn't the speech that has people up in arms, it is the accompanying teaching materials.

Maracas 8 years, 5 months ago

"The President of the United States of America, elected by the majority of the people, has every right and reason to address our youngest citizens. A parent or school official who denies or limits them this right to participate in the democratic liberty of education is subjecting children to the tyranny of ignorance."


labmonkey 8 years, 5 months ago

It should only be watched at home, under parental supervision.

FreshAirFanatic 8 years, 5 months ago

Why does he only want to address pre-K - 6th grade students?

He doesn't exactly have a track record of truthfulness or what's the real agenda here?

pace 8 years, 5 months ago

yes, I remember when Jack Kennedy talked to kids about Exercise and milk. It made me more aware.

Amy Heeter 8 years, 5 months ago

They can't vote until they turn 18 so what's the point. The way this country is going half of them will be dead by then.

jumpin_catfish 8 years, 5 months ago

Parents rights and local school boards (who are accountable to parents) rights trump presidential rights or we are living under tyranny. Oh I forgot we already ARE living under the afore mentioned tyranny. Hope and change, hoping for change in 2010. Come on America, you can do it.

angel4dennis 8 years, 5 months ago

I am opting out for my child. Does that make me ignorant? My husband and I agree that in the best interest of the child that we bore and are raising, we do not want him exposed to any more government bull than necessary. We are self supporting individuals without government help, that doesn't make us any better or any worse than anyone else. My point is that we are given a choice and we are utilizing that choice. It isn't a democratic or republican issue, it is a moral issue for me. Obama needs to spend his time on other more pressing issues. Let's end the war, or stop poverty, how about the unemployment rate? 3 subjects he could be taking his time figuring out what to do. Not a 10 minute conversation with our children. He wasn't elected to "chat" with our kids.

tomatogrower 8 years, 5 months ago

They provided the lesson plans, so that it wouldn't just be 15 minutes of yet another adult telling them to work hard and stay in school. There would actually be some follow up on his message. They were actually trying to help out teachers. Perhaps he chose preK through 6th grade, so he wouldn't be accused of pandering to people who will be voting in 3 years. He really wants to be a role model for them. After all, he would have been in the at risk category growing up, since he was at times on welfare. He went to school and made something of himself. If that's a socialist concept, then sign me up. I'll make a deal with you. I won't believe the nut cases who say Bush was involved in 9/11, and you don't believe the nut cases that the president will brain wash your kid in a 15 minute speech.

kusp8 8 years, 5 months ago

Sounds like a fair deal tomatogrower, but I don't think you're talking to reasonable people who can make reasonable agreements.

tomatogrower 8 years, 5 months ago

angel4dennis "We are self supporting individuals without government help, that doesn't make us any better or any worse than anyone else."

So your kids don't go to public schools? You don't use public roads? If your house catches fire, you won't call 911? You really aren't using this internet, which was created by the government? These "rugged individuals" are either ignorant of their own world, or they are in denial that we live in a community, and that, while I don't agree with everything the government does, it is supporting our community, and making our comfortable lives possible. Yes, you pay taxes, but if you had to pay a private enterprise for these services, you would be paying a lot more. Or the private enterprise would be paying their people a lot less, which would in turn would attract the less qualified people. And if you missed one payment, they wouldn't come to put out your fire. You can be behind on your taxes, and our government supported fire fighters will still show up. So if you don't like a president telling your kids that they they should work hard and get ahead by getting a good education, then I can only assume that you disagree with that, and that your are so rich, your kids will never have to work.

jonas_opines 8 years, 5 months ago

"I am opting out for my child. Does that make me ignorant?"

Not necessarily.

"My husband and I agree that in the best interest of the child that we bore and are raising, we do not want him exposed to any more government bull than necessary."

This, however, probably does make you ignorant. You are not going to let them be exposed to it, it seems from your post that you are not going to expose yourself to it, but you are apparently fine with making comments and judgments about the content, about which you know nothing.

Can you explain how it does not make you ignorant? The definition of ignorant is to be lacking in knowledge.

LA_Ex 8 years, 5 months ago

I don't care if we have a Republican or a Democrat currently sitting in office. My children will always listen to what the President has to say. I will not "shelter" my children from one side or the other, just because I don't agree with it at the time. My children WILL watch the speech by President Obama just like they would have if former President G.W. Bush had decided too follow his father's lead. I've read the teaching materials and unless you are a conspiracy theory nutbag it's impossible to find anything wrong with them. I want my children to understand how Government works. It's in their best interest.

Here is a link to the teaching materials.

puddleglum 8 years, 5 months ago

Obama was not elected by the majority of the people. He was elected by a very slim majority of the people who voted, quit your spin tactics. -be3

slim majority? you mean basically ever state except the former confederate states of america?

Scott Tichenor 8 years, 5 months ago

"Obama was not elected by the majority of the people. He was elected by a very slim majority of the people who voted, quit your spin tactics."

As opposed to George Bush's wide margins of victory? What a silly view. Better get back to Fox News, I hear they're broadcasting "Fair and Balanced news". Yea, right.

tomatogrower 8 years, 5 months ago

The people who didn't vote have nothing to complain about then, do they? And how do you know he wouldn't have won if everyone had voted? I don't care what non voters think. If they can't participate then they need to keep their dead behinds out of the way.

Kat Christian 8 years, 5 months ago

Well the apathy & decension from these comments are frightening. I just wonder how many of you would defend this country in a real conflict. To not let your child listen to the President's address YOU ARE IGNORANT! Obvisously you didn't pay much attention in school or your school has failed to teach you patriotism for this country. This also tells me that some of you folks don't have very good communication with your children.

President Obama didn't make it where he is by being apathetic about our country (our governmental structure) -he saw problems and decided to make a difference, not b!/(H about it with a beer in his hand. That is why he is President and you are not. He's not perfect, I don't ever expect him to be, but what he is - is a man who cares about the whole of our nation not just himself, his family or a neighbor or two. I trust him. I may not agree with everything he puts out there, but I respect him and will take his opinion into consideration. (That's called having freedom of opinion) I will allow my child to listen to what he has to say, (even if to just show patiotism) then we will discuss it. If there is something he is not certain of I will clarify it for him. If I don't agree I will say that, but that doesn't mean my child has to agree. He is his own mind. He will be an adult in a different world than I - for I may not be here by then.

What do you people want? Utopia? Well that's never going to happen so move out of La-La land and into reality. God helps those who helps himself. (Oh I forgot you probably don't believe in that either). Then where are your beliefs? If they are only in yourself then I feel sorry for you. You live in a prison you've created for yourself and all your hate just bounces off the walls of it. Try looking beyond it using compassion, understanding and commitment towards what is the better of the two evils. What can come from that is the best possible solution and usually better than giving up and complaining about someone trying to make a difference. What have you done lately for the human race?

I LOVE this Country. I may not agree with the way the government has conducted itself, but it is my home and I will defend it. My father fought for this country in WWII, my finance died for this country in VietNam. I stand when the flag is lowered and raised (no matter what I am doing), I salute it when it has reached its highest resting place. I include God in the Pledge of Alligence and I tell my child he best say it too.

The President of the United States of America, elected by the majority of the people, has every right and reason to address our youngest citizens. A parent or school official who denies or limits them this right to participate in the democratic liberty of education is subjecting children to the tyranny of ignorance. OVERTHEMOON I COMMEND YOU.

And that's all I have to say about that...

jonas_opines 8 years, 5 months ago

"Better get back to Fox News, I hear they're broadcasting “Fair and Balanced news”. Yea, right."

Funny story. Over the last couple months there have been all of those cries about how Fox news blows the other stations out of the water in terms of ratings. It's seemed to me in the past that every new or clever thing that the local right-side wingnuts bring up as a valid point turns out to come wholly regurgitated from one or the other of the few sources that they listen to. Well, navigating around the web on other business, I stumbled across the source of that particular talking point: Fox News! They were promoting their own ratings as proof of their superiority (while coughcognitivedissonancecough yelling about the liberal bias of the "mainstream media," which apparently doesn't include the top rated news network).

Perhaps it's just that the liberal wingnuts get their regurgitated talking points from a variety of diffused sources while the conservatives all go to the same, that makes it so obvious that they never have a thought of their own.

overthemoon 8 years, 5 months ago

Given the fact that one of President Obama's four major agenda items is education, it seems he might have some interest in addressing those involved in it.

Any parent that thinks they can or should shape their children's world view according to their own isn't much of a parent. I am extremely dubious of all of the home schooled and micro controlled kids. While I am well educated and could have controlled my child's education, I chose to allow influences from many people and experiences shape her upbringing. She is a responsible, intelligent adult now.

labmonkey 8 years, 5 months ago

Tomato, Jonas, Sunshine-

So you wouldn't have objected to an address given to children in schools by George W. Bush...with accompanying materials.

Boosh 8 years, 5 months ago

Those opted out should be made to watch, unedited,

"Blazing Saddles"

jonas_opines 8 years, 5 months ago

labmonkey: No, not at all. I would, though, make a point to discuss my point of view on what was said at home that evening. (I might even concede that it was largely my personal political view, and not necessarily the inconvertable truth)

It's an interesting corrollary. All this rationalization on opposition, just like the last 8 years, but I think we all know that it's really just because it has the name "Obama" associated with it. Rationalization comes later.

/and yes, I thought it was stupid then, too. Commented on the immediacy and apparent biological necessity of BDS on several occasions.

jayhawks71 8 years, 5 months ago

"The people who didn't vote have nothing to complain about then, do they? And how do you know he wouldn't have won if everyone had voted? I don't care what non voters think. If they can't participate then they need to keep their dead behinds out of the way."

This pseudoargument has simply become tiresome in my opinion. Many of those who do not might have the the strongest right to complain about policies. There are many reasons people choose a candidate in an election. Some are voting "against" a candidate, whereas others might be in favor of some of a candidate's policies but not others and are therefore voting for what they perceive to be the lesser of the evils. People regularly conclude that if you voted for X you voted for all policies of X (the guilt by association claim). It is rare to find an informed citizen that voted for Bush supported ALL of his policies, and that an informed citizen who voted for Obama will support ALL of his policies.

So, why do those who choose not to vote (vs simply being too lazy to go to the poll) have every right to complain? They might view the candidates presented to them as analogous to being offered 3 ways to die (poison, electric chair, or smothering) when one doesn't want to die. Would you simply accept a method of death pushed upon you when you don't want to die? Why would you give your show of support for a candidate that you do not support? The notion that you should vote against a candidate or that you should choose the lesser of the evils is silly given that if you vote for a candidate, society will deem that you support all of his/her policies. Your vote makes you an accessory to those policies--the "well you voted for him" retort... often paired with its sister "well I didn't vote for him" response.

If you ACTIVELY do not vote, you are fine in my eyes, to complain away. Complain all you want about policies provided that you don't simply oppose them because they are so and so's policies or because they come from party X. Come up with a well thought out, reasoned argument against the policy you disagree with. When people are presented with minor policy issues, they are more likely to support the issue if they are labeled with a candidate/party that they have typically supported even when those policies come from "the other side." The same is true about policy issues coming from the other side--people are likely to oppose the policies of their own party affiliation if they are told that the policy comes from "the other side."

If you simply don't vote because a trip to the voting booth is too much work, then perhaps you haven't earned the right to complain. Ultimately, the tired old "if you didn't vote you can't complain" argument is a blanket shut-up response. The rationale for not voting is the important aspect, but for many it takes too much thought to realize it.

LA_Ex 8 years, 5 months ago

Prior to 1970 it would have been considered "unpatriotic" to have your child opt out of viewing a Presidential speech. Why now is this a problem?

I guess I'll quote something from the right during "dubya's" term, "if you don't like the President and the way he's running the can leave." It's amazing how many times I heard that.

tangential_reasoners_anonymous 8 years, 5 months ago

Rather than increase knowledge by having students view an address by the highest elected officeholder in the land and then via supplemental teaching to issues raised by the speech, of course students should be able to opt out.

... and then they should be permitted to systematically opt out of core academic courses as well.

(It's the new America... hey, then they'll be even MORE qualified for online commentary!)

tomatogrower 8 years, 5 months ago

labmonkey (Anonymous) says…

Tomato, Jonas, Sunshine-

So you wouldn't have objected to an address given to children in schools by George W. Bush…with accompanying materials.

No I would not have had objections. I may not have agreed with everything Bush said or did, but he was still my president and my children's president. It might surprise you that I didn't disagree with everything that Bush did or stood for. And I don't agree with everything the Obama does or stands for. But many people object to anything Obama does or say, then they get online and create a conspiracy theory about it, and their followers just believe them without looking into the facts. There is no one, politician or not, to whom I am in 100% agreement about everything. If you are, then you are a puppet, not an independent thinking individual. Seriously, if Obama said the sky was blue, some would just find ways to find him wrong. Get a life.

tomatogrower 8 years, 5 months ago

i just thought of an example of this blindness some people have. At the end of Bush's term he was bailing out big companies, and all the puppets said this was a wonderful thing, then Obama continued the same policy, and then it was just horrible. Wake up and think for yourself.

tomatogrower 8 years, 5 months ago

"People regularly conclude that if you voted for X you voted for all policies of X (the guilt by association claim). It is rare to find an informed citizen that voted for Bush supported ALL of his policies, and that an informed citizen who voted for Obama will support ALL of his policies."

You will never, I repeat never, find a candidate with which you will agree with 100%, unless you run for the office yourself, but that's no excuse for not voting. You never have to vote for the major candidates anyway. Maybe your candidate would have no chance of winning, but there is no reason not to express your opinions at the polls. It's the non voters who have let the 2 parties create a monopoly on the elections. Regardless, if a non voter wants to complain to me, they are going to have to prove to me that they are serving their country in some way, like in the military, or volunteering. They are going to have to prove to me they are active citizens of the US, not just someone who waves a flag.

pace 8 years, 5 months ago

The wingNUTS are flying low, can't grasp that being elected president puts you into an office that is suppose to do something, which includes communicating to people, including kids. He is suppose to put the country first, not just the party. When he tries to, he gets wingnut bashed. I hope he still looks across the aisle for reasonable cooperative efforts on the huge problems this country is facing. Bush must of taught the wingnuts the presidency was part of the submarine branch, the silent service. WNutss seem to be terrified and especially nuts since losing the election. They seem disappointed that Obama is not a magician, just a better man than Bush. They lost some bravado when the conservatives dished up economic collapse and Palin all in the same couple of months.

beatrice 8 years, 5 months ago

The right has lost its collective mind. Making a stand that children shouldn't listen to a presidential address is just un-American no matter how you slice it.

lm, "So you wouldn't have objected to an address given to children in schools by George W. Bush…with accompanying materials."

No. As I recall, nobody was bothered by the fact that on 9/11 Bush was reading "The Pet Goat" to students. We were only bothered that he sat there for an additional 7 minutes after being told, "The nation is under attack." The reading to students, however, wasn't a problem.

pace, don't forget that while dishing up economic collapse and Palin, the Republicans' hoped-for leader also claimed the economy was "fundamentally sound."

pmsharp 8 years, 5 months ago

Will taking his pledge be next??????????

Deb Engstrom 8 years, 5 months ago

Kids in our schools have to stand up, put their hands over their hearts, and pledge allegiance to the flag nearly every day, but shouldn't listen to the president of the United States speak to them for 15 minutes. Something is wrong with this picture.

beatrice 8 years, 5 months ago

"Will taking his pledge be next??????????"

pmsharp, do you mean something like the loyalty oath people were required to sign in order to hear George Bush speak? It stated: "I, (full name) . . . do herby (sic) endorse George W. Bush for reelection of the United States."

Do you mean something like that?

James McGuire 8 years, 5 months ago

Why is it that so many people are afraid of education? I can only think that there is a persistent fear of education because people think that the pursuit of knowledge brings with it the destruction of long held belief systems. So, instead of embracing something that can only make our lives better, we hold on to ignorance because its comfortable (queue "Idiocracy" now).

If your belief system is going to be challenged by a 15 minute presentation by one of the most powerful men on the planet, I feel sorry for you.

georgiahawk 8 years, 5 months ago

I think it is funny that the far right is experiencing doubt as to whether or not they could even convince grade schoolers they are right once Obama has talked to them.

jayhawks71 8 years, 5 months ago

tomatogrower, it has come to the point for many that they don't even agree with a majority of any candidates policies, whether they are major party candidates or the "no-chance" party candidates. If you can't even agree with half of a candidate's policies you have no business voting for that candidate.

I think if I were older, I could have supported the old Republican party. Now, once they have become the party of social conservatism (instead of fiscal conservatism) by selling out to religion, I simply can't. Of the two primary parties, they both spend into oblivion except one (at least historically) taxes and the other charges it, although lately I think they are both charging it.

blindrabbit 8 years, 5 months ago

W. Bush taught kindergardners and the country about "My Pet Goat" as 9/11 progressed.; Of course Cheney had things well under control from his secret bunker. Probably Obama can do better.

Carol Bowen 8 years, 5 months ago

When my kids were young, they came home from school with worksheets provided by Baskin Robbins. We allow all sorts of advertising with dubious value in school. If we can allow our kids to be exposed to advertising as part of their education, how could a president's speech be offensive?This flack is silly. He's not campaigning to school kids. I agree with LA_Ex. This is an educational opportunity.

I am concerned about the lack of respect towards past and present leaders. Agree with them or not, they are the people we elected. Tearing them down is not productive and sets a horrible example for kids. Are we really concerned about the president's speech or are we just looking for an opportunity for personal jabs?

GardenMomma 8 years, 5 months ago

But, but, isn't that what we do with celebrities? Tear them down and eagerly await the trashy pictures and sordid details of their lives?

esteshawk 8 years, 5 months ago

Those of you who think kids shouldn't watch this President had better be prepared to have the same opinion for all President's. It's not the person, it's the position. Are y'all so afraid that a child is exposed to a different idea? Have y'all done such a poor job of indoctrinating your kids? Gasp! The horror of multiple opinions.

jonas_opines 8 years, 5 months ago

pilgrim just hates it when people think about mistakes or mispeak and change them, and he prefers the approach of blindly pushing through whatever it is that you said, because you said it at one point. Not popular, whatever. Not accurate, whatever. You said it, so you should defend it until death. (Like Bush did)

Exaggeration? Read his posting history for a bit and judge for yourself.

jonas_opines 8 years, 5 months ago

What it meant to say? From what I gather, it meant to say "how can I help my president?" and a bunch of yahoos screamed that was inexcusable, so it was changed to avoid unnecessary controversy over an innouccous event. Thus, my prior point. Personally, I think they should have just let it be, because nothing that they did would please you, and we both know it, because you have too much invested into your hate, and the media that feeds the side you identify with has too much ($) invested into keeping you listening to them.

Just admit to yourself that this has nothing to do with facts, changes, admissions, ommissions, etc, and everything to do with the fact that it has the name "Obama" attached to it. Then you can admit it to the rest of us, and we can move on and let you rave to yourself in peace.

jonas_opines 8 years, 5 months ago

truthbtold: Why don't you read the freely availabe content for the speech and judge for yourself whether your totally out-to-lunch opinion on the topic of discussion is true or not. Or do you really think that Obama believes that there would be no fallout from attempting to brainwash every child in America. . . .

. . . wait, did you just say half-breeds who voted for him? Oh, nevermind.

Is that you Buena Vista/OeraLinda/Invictus etc? Did you get booted when I wasn't paying attention?

jonas_opines 8 years, 5 months ago

No, I guess not. Been around long enough to support the shooter in the Cross-town Tavern case and the convicted rapist Robert Gray, it seems.

ksjayhawk74 8 years, 5 months ago

@ Thruthbtold...

HAHA!!! "he should be fixing everything he had promised the halfbreeds who voted for his lyin behind"

Way to make your point. Obviously you are pure breed Aryian, CONGRATULATIONS!!!!! Your opinions count now!!!

tomatogrower 8 years, 5 months ago

Truthbold, I'll bet I work harder and make even more money than you do. I also have a regular job with a 3 day weekend on Labor Day. And your statement of "half breed" exposes you as a racist. I don't deal with racists. Your opinion means nothing to me.

Dan Edwards 8 years, 5 months ago

"Write me a letter — and I’m serious about this one — write me a letter about ways you can help us achieve our goals. I think you know the address.”

  • George H.W. Bush, in a speech to Junior High School students on October 1, 1991

You can stick a fork in this "controversy"

Godot 8 years, 5 months ago

The following are prepared remarks from President Obama's Back to School Event scheduled for Tuesday in Arlington, Virginia: (Note: 13,403 words. This will be broken down into several posts)

The President: Hello everyone - how's everybody doing today? I'm here with students at Wakefield High School in Arlington, Virginia. And we've got students tuning in from all across America, kindergarten through twelfth grade. I'm glad you all could join us today.

I know that for many of you, today is the first day of school. And for those of you in kindergarten, or starting middle or high school, it's your first day in a new school, so it's understandable if you're a little nervous. I imagine there are some seniors out there who are feeling pretty good right now, with just one more year to go. And no matter what grade you're in, some of you are probably wishing it were still summer, and you could've stayed in bed just a little longer this morning.

I know that feeling. When I was young, my family lived in Indonesia for a few years, and my mother didn't have the money to send me where all the American kids went to school. So she decided to teach me extra lessons herself, Monday through Friday - at 4:30 in the morning. Now I wasn't too happy about getting up that early. A lot of times, I'd fall asleep right there at the kitchen table. But whenever I'd complain, my mother would just give me one of those looks and say, "This is no picnic for me either, buster."

So I know some of you are still adjusting to being back at school. But I'm here today because I have something important to discuss with you. I'm here because I want to talk with you about your education and what's expected of all of you in this new school year.

Now I've given a lot of speeches about education. And I've talked a lot about responsibility. I've talked about your teachers' responsibility for inspiring you, and pushing you to learn. 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.

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.


Godot 8 years, 5 months ago

continued text of Obama's speech....

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. Every single one of you has something you're good at. Every single one of you has something to offer. And you have a responsibility to yourself to discover what that is. That's the opportunity an education can provide. Maybe you could be a good writer - maybe even good enough to write a book or articles in a newspaper - but you might not know it until you write a paper for your English class. 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. Maybe you could be a mayor or a Senator or a Supreme Court Justice, but you might not know that until you join student government or the debate team. And no matter what you want to do with your life - I guarantee that you'll need an education to do it. You want to be a doctor, or a teacher, or a police officer? You want to be a nurse or an architect, a lawyer or a member of our military? You're going to need a good education for every single one of those careers. You can't drop out of school and just drop into a good job. You've got to work for it and train for it and learn for it. And this isn't just important for your own life and your own future. What you make of your education will decide nothing less than the future of this country. What you're learning in school today will determine whether we as a nation can meet our greatest challenges in the future. You'll need the knowledge and problem-solving skills you learn in science and math to cure diseases like cancer and AIDS, and to develop new energy technologies and protect our environment. You'll need the insights and critical thinking skills you gain in history and social studies to fight poverty and homelessness, crime and discrimination, and make our nation more fair and more free. You'll need the creativity and ingenuity you develop in all your classes to build new companies that will create new jobs and boost our economy. (continued)

Godot 8 years, 5 months ago

continued text of Obama speech:

We need every single one of you to develop your talents, skills and intellect so you can help solve our most difficult problems. If you don't do that - if you quit on school - you're not just quitting on yourself, you're quitting on your country. Now I know it's not always easy to do well in school. I know a lot of you have challenges in your lives right now that can make it hard to focus on your schoolwork. I get it. I know what that's like. My father left my family when I was two years old, and I was raised by a single mother who struggled at times to pay the bills and wasn't always able to give us things the other kids had. There were times when I missed having a father in my life. There were times when I was lonely and felt like I didn't fit in. So I wasn't always as focused as I should have been. I did some things I'm not proud of, and got in more trouble than I should have. And my life could have easily taken a turn for the worse. But I was fortunate. I got a lot of second chances and had the opportunity to go to college, and law school, and follow my dreams. My wife, our First Lady Michelle Obama, has a similar story. Neither of her parents had gone to college, and they didn't have much. But they worked hard, and she worked hard, so that she could go to the best schools in this country. Some of you might not have those advantages. Maybe you don't have adults in your life who give you the support that you need. Maybe someone in your family has lost their job, and there's not enough money to go around. Maybe you live in a neighborhood where you don't feel safe, or have friends who are pressuring you to do things you know aren't right. But at the end of the day, the circumstances of your life - what you look like, where you come from, how much money you have, what you've got going on at home - that's no excuse for neglecting your homework or having a bad attitude. That's no excuse for talking back to your teacher, or cutting class, or dropping out of school. That's no excuse for not trying. Where you are right now doesn't have to determine where you'll end up. No one's written your destiny for you. Here in America, you write your own destiny. You make your own future. That's what young people like you are doing every day, all across America. (continued)

Godot 8 years, 5 months ago

continued text of Obama's speech:

Young people like Jazmin Perez, from Roma, Texas. Jazmin didn't speak English when she first started school. Hardly anyone in her hometown went to college, and neither of her parents had gone either. But she worked hard, earned good grades, got a scholarship to Brown University, and is now in graduate school, studying public health, on her way to being Dr. Jazmin Perez. I'm thinking about Andoni Schultz, from Los Altos, California, who's fought brain cancer since he was three. He's endured all sorts of treatments and surgeries, one of which affected his memory, so it took him much longer - hundreds of extra hours - to do his schoolwork. But he never fell behind, and he's headed to college this fall. And then there's Shantell Steve, from my hometown of Chicago, Illinois. Even when bouncing from foster home to foster home in the toughest neighborhoods, she managed to get a job at a local health center; start a program to keep young people out of gangs; and she's on track to graduate high school with honors and go on to college. Jazmin, Andoni and Shantell aren't any different from any of you. They faced challenges in their lives just like you do. But they refused to give up. They chose to take responsibility for their education and set goals for themselves. And I expect all of you to do the same. That's why today, I'm calling on each of you to set your own goals for your education - and to do everything you can to meet them. Your goal can be something as simple as doing all your homework, paying attention in class, or spending time each day reading a book. Maybe you'll decide to get involved in an extracurricular activity, or volunteer in your community. Maybe you'll decide to stand up for kids who are being teased or bullied because of who they are or how they look, because you believe, like I do, that all kids deserve a safe environment to study and learn. Maybe you'll decide to take better care of yourself so you can be more ready to learn. And along those lines, I hope you'll all wash your hands a lot, and stay home from school when you don't feel well, so we can keep people from getting the flu this fall and winter. Whatever you resolve to do, I want you to commit to it. I want you to really work at it. I know that sometimes, you get the sense from TV that you can be rich and successful without any hard work -- that your ticket to success is through rapping or basketball or being a reality TV star, when chances are, you're not going to be any of those things. But the truth is, being successful is hard. You won't love every subject you study. You won't click with every teacher. Not every homework assignment will seem completely relevant to your life right this minute. And you won't necessarily succeed at everything the first time you try.


Godot 8 years, 5 months ago

Continued text of Obama's speech:

That's OK. Some of the most successful people in the world are the ones who've had the most failures. JK Rowling's first Harry Potter book was rejected twelve times before it was finally published. Michael Jordan was cut from his high school basketball team, and he lost hundreds of games and missed thousands of shots during his career. But he once said, "I have failed over and over and over again in my life. And that is why I succeed." These people succeeded because they understand that you can't let your failures define you - you have to let them teach you. You have to let them show you what to do differently next time. If you get in trouble, that doesn't mean you're a troublemaker, it means you need to try harder to behave. If you get a bad grade, that doesn't mean you're stupid, it just means you need to spend more time studying. No one's born being good at things, you become good at things through hard work. You're not a varsity athlete the first time you play a new sport. You don't hit every note the first time you sing a song. You've got to practice. It's the same with your schoolwork. You might have to do a math problem a few times before you get it right, or read something a few times before you understand it, or do a few drafts of a paper before it's good enough to hand in. Don't be afraid to ask questions. Don't be afraid to ask for help when you need it. I do that every day. Asking for help isn't a sign of weakness, it's a sign of strength. It shows you have the courage to admit when you don't know something, and to learn something new. So find an adult you trust - a parent, grandparent or teacher; a coach or counselor - and ask them to help you stay on track to meet your goals.


Godot 8 years, 5 months ago

continued text of obama's speech:

And even when you're struggling, even when you're discouraged, and you feel like other people have given up on you - don't ever give up on yourself. Because when you give up on yourself, you give up on your country. The story of America isn't about people who quit when things got tough. It's about people who kept going, who tried harder, who loved their country too much to do anything less than their best. It's the story of students who sat where you sit 250 years ago, and went on to wage a revolution and found this nation. Students who sat where you sit 75 years ago who overcame a Depression and won a world war; who fought for civil rights and put a man on the moon. Students who sat where you sit 20 years ago who founded Google, Twitter and Facebook and changed the way we communicate with each other. So today, I want to ask you, what's your contribution going to be? What problems are you going to solve? What discoveries will you make? What will a president who comes here in twenty or fifty or one hundred years say about what all of you did for this country? Your families, your teachers, and I are doing everything we can to make sure you have the education you need to answer these questions. I'm working hard to fix up your classrooms and get you the books, equipment and computers you need to learn. But you've got to do your part too. So I expect you to get serious this year. I expect you to put your best effort into everything you do. I expect great things from each of you. So don't let us down - don't let your family or your country or yourself down. Make us all proud. I know you can do it. Thank you, God bless you, and God bless America.

(the end)

booklover 8 years, 5 months ago

OMG! The Nerve of him! Here is what the President is going to say to your kids!

Now don't all of you naysayers feel TOTALLY ridiculous? Geez people! Leave the hysterics to Katie Horner!

rbwaa 8 years, 5 months ago

OMG!!! I can't believe he's going to brainwash our children like that, especially: "I expect you to put your best effort into everything you do."

ralphralph 8 years, 5 months ago

It would, I guess, be contrary to his self-interest to have an educated and hard-working populace. Perhaps he could set an example for the kids by, say, securing the borders.

rbwaa 8 years, 5 months ago

The poll so far:

65% yes students should watch the speech 30% no 3% not sure

FreshAirFanatic 8 years, 5 months ago

98% of this is good. But does he even know his audience? A K-6th grader won't be paying attention after the first few minutes. Little long don't you think?

Some of the other 2%...

"You'll need the insights and critical thinking skills you gain in history and social studies to fight poverty and homelessness, crime and discrimination, and make our nation more fair and more free."

-- How do "insights and critical thinking skill" fight those? Oh...unless the insights are derived from a biased view of history that stresses white men, capitalism and individual freedom are wrong and need to be destroyed. Critical thinking in today's education system? A conveyor built of memorization and regurgitation taught to the lowest common denominator is probably more accurate.

"Because when you give up on yourself, you give up on your country."

-- Really? All for the common good...

jonas_opines 8 years, 5 months ago

You can lead a partisan troll to the facts, but you can't make them think.

local_support 8 years, 5 months ago

The wheels have really come off over on the right side of the aisle. Between this and Glenn Beck screeching about communist symbolism at 30 Rock I literally have no hope that the GOP will make any sort of comeback.

These sorts of conspiracy theories are right up there with "9/11 was an inside job." The far right has taken up all the trappings of the far left circa 2003-2008 and they don't even realize it!

Oh the irony!

tomatogrower 8 years, 5 months ago

So the right is against people getting a good education? I suppose it will be easier to enslave them if they aren't educated. A person who choses to fail in life, fails their country. They go on welfare, do drugs, beat family members, become a criminal, etc. Is that not a burden on our society? If you really think that students don't need to be educated, and that you feel no responsibility to your community, national or local, then please feel free to buy an island somewhere, and become a hermit. Please leave your radio behind. Maybe you could break your addiction to your celebrity hero, Rush.

govenorteacup 8 years, 5 months ago

Good lord! He's telling the youth to do their homework, educate themselves, be responsible and use perseverance!

Can you imagine your grandparents keeping your mother or father out of the room while President Roosevelt gave a Fireside Chat?

To those of you who are opting out...proves that you fear the government. You shouldn't fear the government, the government you fear you. So be responsible, get educated and then your government will realize that it can't pull BS behind out backs.

This speech tells students who don't have a direct support system that they, too, can be successful. As long as they don't give up on themselves. The Mr. President is trying to use himself and few other kids as examples. What's wrong with that?

In a way, this is a kind of tough love speech. Saying no excuses, do your homework! What's wrong with that?

bad_dog 8 years, 5 months ago

"Obama and his admin have a hidden adgenda. Talk about crooks. This admin is full of crooks but the liberals seem to think is ok. “Beware of the ememy from within”

Indeed, it appears Obama's hidden agenda includes studying/learning spelling, grammar and analytical thinking. Too bad you apparently missed out.

ivalueamerica 8 years, 5 months ago

The right wing extremesist are so funny to watch these days.

They are so hungry for a scandal or something to criticize that they run around with every little thing just like chicken little screaming the sky is falling, the sky is falling (or maybe more like the boy who cried wolf).

Even Laura Bush said this is much ado about nothing.


Maddy Griffin 8 years, 5 months ago

Geez Louise!! What is the big deal? Obama's speech has to be more educational than the numerous NASA events and world Series' games I sat through in school as a kid. This man worked hard to get where he is. He wasn't born with a silver spoon in his mouth. He's the one who can show the kiddies that they really can be anything they want if they are willing to work hard for it. How is that a bad thing?

Kat Christian 8 years, 5 months ago

NO Labmonkey. When our President speaks we should listen and that is the lesson I taught my children and teaching my grandchildren. No matter if I agree with him or like him or love him. The point is patriotism and loyalty to this country. After the speech we discuss it. That is the point of open communication with your children so they understand, so they can form their own opinions. I'm not being bias here I'm being patriotic, respectful and using intelligence of the seat of President of the USA.

mr_right_wing 8 years, 5 months ago

We already have socialized education, we've had that for decades...why not have the our first hard-core socialist president speak to Obama's Youth?

Sigmund 8 years, 5 months ago

Yes they should! And for extra credit they can calculate their share of the debt and the compute how many years they will have to work to pay off their share of the Bush/Obama debt with interest. That should yield some very interesting discussion.

bossy2005 8 years, 5 months ago

He is the president of our country! The same country that gave you a right to post these thoughts no matter how rediculous. One poster said it best, if you don't like the fact that he is president, or the way this country elects our president, the borders are open for you to LEAVE! I wish MORE people told OUR youth to stay in school, study hard, and DO YOUR BEST!.. I say OUR because some have lost sight of the fact that we are ALL responsible for our nations youth, even if you do not have kids. It isn't too much to ask for people to stop looking for a hidden agenda, to stop being judgemental and egotistical and stand behind one thing together, our youth. Remember one day if you live long enough, you will need their help to wipe your own ass. Invest in something more than your IPOD, try investing in the kids! Yes they should all watch the president tell them to stay in school, do their best, and be responsible for paying attention in school. Obama is OUR president, and the youth of America is OUR youth, with it and stop crying!

Katara 8 years, 5 months ago

Sigmund (Anonymous) says… Yes they should! And for extra credit they can calculate their share of the debt and the compute how many years they will have to work to pay off their share of the Bush/Obama debt with interest. That should yield some very interesting discussion. ~~~~~~~~~~~~~ I like that idea. Why not?

getreal 8 years, 5 months ago

AngelforDennis writes: "We are self supporting individuals without government help,..."

Really, no government help? Public schools supported by the government, which your child obvioulsy attends, or how about those government roads you drive on, or the police and fire departments you rely on.

Government is NOT a bad thing, it provides very valuable services. I can't think of one person in this nation that does not in some way benefit from government.

blindrabbit 8 years, 5 months ago

Hey, how did that book "W" read to the schoolkids on 9/11 about his "Pet Goat" turn out? Tried to buy a copy, but was told all were bought-up by his ditto-heads co-conspirators. Oh well, goats are probably more clever anyway. Is that what he ment in "No child left behind".

ms_animal_rights 8 years, 5 months ago

Since the lesson plans were changed to focus on staying in school and studying hard, there should have been no more objections from anyone. Other presidents have given similar messages in broadcasts to schools. I can't understand why there is still controversy. Continuing negative emotions about their kids viewing his speech are coming from unreasoned fear, not facts. My question is -- where is all this opposition coming from, and where did they get their information? I suspect from Limbaugh, Beck, and Fox News, from which much of what you get is diatribe, demagogery, half-truths, lies, and misinformation. President Obama is a loyal American who loves his country and wants nothing but the best for this country and is working hard to get the best health care reform possible while keeping costs down and also the best educational policies for the benefit of students. There is no evidence to substantiate any untruthfulness on his part or any hidden agenda on the part of the Obama administration. Change and reform are always difficult for some people to deal with and make people uncomfortable, even though change is necessary. Ignorants throw out terms like "socialist", "communist", "fascist" with little understanding of the real meanings of those terms and just use them as derogatory labels. Government is not all bad. If it were, we would have no government and live in anarchy. There are many government programs that work well and benefit many people. I could not survive without Social Security and Medicare, being retired. Government makes mistakes and so does the private sector. But when the private sector is unable or unwilling to step up to the plate (profits get in the way) and do what's needed, then governmental organizations have to and should. President Obama is our duly elected president -- so lets get behind him and help him, not fight him, so he can move this country forward.

Tom McCune 8 years, 5 months ago

Here is what the lunatic fringe is really worried about....

The kids will go to school, listen to the speech, come home, and say, "Daddy, the speech was OK. Kind of boring, but OK. But I didn't see any horns. You said he has horns and a forked tail. He seems like a nice man to me."

kateku 8 years, 5 months ago

I plan on watching the speech, and if I had a child in the public school system (no children yet), I'd keep them out of school to ENSURE that they had the chance to watch the speech. It's amazing that we have a smart, Harvard educated President in office that wants to talk to the nations children about staying in school, studying hard, and doing their best and people have a problem.

To the woman who is a "self supporting individual without government help", I hope she doesn't drive on paved roads, use city utilities, or plan on ever dialing 911 for fire or police assistance.

triplegoddess13 8 years, 5 months ago

If I remember correctly, Reagan gave a speech to school children and there were no problems there. What's the difference this time? The President wants to speak to children about bettering themselves and that shouldn't be a problem with anyone unless your child is in that very small percentage that is perfect and needs no betterment. Here's a suggestion; watch the speech with your child or at some other time and then discuss it with them. It could be educational for both of you and you would be actually communicating with your offspring. What a wonderful concept! Everyone might learn something in the process.

Mike Blur 8 years, 5 months ago

right_thinker (Tom Shewmon) says…

At least he will have an audience that is unable to sift through the waist-high pile of BS he will be serving up. I guess that's where the indoctrination part comes in to play.

mike says: I don't know, right_thinker. I remember you wailing on Sebelius until the day she gave your kid an award, and then you pretty much shut up about her. Whatever my president B. Hussein O. (and I say that as a proud elitist liberal) goes, as far as I'm concerned!

bondmen 8 years, 5 months ago

Politicizing the children is a favorite activity of all national socialist governments historically so Obama's interjecting himself into the classroom is really no surprise. What would his minions say if he wanted to supply his political materials directly to children in the classroom written by his communist White House czars? Oh, he's already doing that you say. Well what if Barry O. offered brown tee-shirts to the children with his funky little circle on the sleeve and Barry's big eared mug on the chest, then have them assemble and visit the unbelievers in their neighborhoods? What would this be called?

Our President has no personal successes to relay to the children except how to organize ACORN nuts and SEIU thugs and Black Panthers in voter intimidation - not a great example for the children. He's never created 1 job in the private sector or made $1 of profit from running a business. His one big lifetime success is fooling the majority of voters to elect him POTUS.

acg 8 years, 5 months ago

I just don't understand opting your children out. What do you think he's going to say to these kids? I agree with whomever said the right has gone insane earlier. It seems they have. They have closed off their minds altogether and wouldn't listen to anything the President had to say even if he gave each of them $1000 and a lollipop. And whenever I talk to a far righter it feels like I'm trying to reason with my three year old. I can picture them wanting to put their hands over their ears and go "lalalala can't hear you lalalala". It's almost funny. It would be really funny if it weren't doing this nation so much harm.

Kat Christian 8 years, 5 months ago

You know what? You people who are so against our President, so against our government structure and so against this country why don't you just leave it and move elsewhere? There's a big ole world out there that will take people like you. We don't need your negativity and decension nor do a lot of us want it. Freedom of speech is good, but when it comes to raising your kids to be against our government that is where the line should be drawn. If you don't like it here then move somewhere else where you'll learn to appreciate this country for what it is.

Christine Pennewell Davis 8 years, 5 months ago

I think it really is up to parents but come on a kindergarten kid really is not going to understand any thing but stay in school. The older kids even in elem. school yeah but the younger ones no and by the time kids are in high school they can make up their own minds even if mom and dad do not think so. At least about this speech, the party on friday forget it.

frank mcguinness 8 years, 5 months ago

This poll confirms that 29% of the people polled are mentally retarded.

KansasVoter 8 years, 5 months ago

rooster (Anonymous) says… "This poll confirms that 29% of the people polled are mentally retarded."

That's about the same popularity rating that george bush had when he left office, so I'd say that you're right. I'll bet that those 29% will also prevent their kids from participating in the Presidential Physical Fitness Test since Obama is president.

Kat Christian 8 years, 5 months ago

I just read President Obama's speech and I think it is Fan-tablous. I printed it off and will re-read it to my grandson tonight. I thought it was honest and inspiring.

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