National Keep Your Child at Home Day...

Unless you've been living under a rock, (like me lately) you've probably heard about President Obama's scheduled address to our nation's children on Tuesday, September 8th.

The following is a letter sent to school principals from United States Secretary of Education, Arne Duncan.

Dear Principal:

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

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

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

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

On behalf of all Americans, I want to thank our educators who do society's most important work by preparing our children for work and for life. No other task is more critical to our economic future and our social progress. I look forward to working with you in the months and years ahead to continue improving the quality of public education we provide all of our children.

Sincerely, Arne Duncan

I haven't heard anything about plans to broadcast this in my daughters' schools, but I will be calling their teachers to see if they will showing my children the address.

Many parents do not approve of the President addressing their children in the schools and plan on keeping them home from school to protest Obama's message to students.

I will not be one of them.

As you know, I did not vote for Obama, but if he feels he can benefit my children by telling them to work hard, set educational goals, and take responsibility for their learning. I'm cool with it. ONCE.

If he starts popping into the classroom via cyberspace more frequently, I'm going to get a little creeped out. Let Mom and Dad decide whether or not they want their children to watch his messages.

Let us screen the messages, and if we decide to show it to our children, then we can download the activity sheets and watch his addresses together, at home, as a family.

I love the idea of personal responsibility. I also like the idea of knowing what my children are watching.

Let's see how this goes.

Oh and while we're discussing this...how would you feel if George W. Bush intended to address our nation's children in the same manner?

(I didn't proof this, and I don't feel like it...so take it as it is. Warts and all)


OHmommy said...

Children should be aware that if they hear of any "fishy" behavior going on in school, they should email the whitehouse flag or somethingorrather dot gov

Frau said...

I approve of Obama speech to the children of this Nation. He has a way of speaking to children, raising the bar for our children is not a bad thing. I wouldn't want George Bush address the kids cause he is an idiot. Just my opinion though!!

Kate said...

I'm a little sad that so many people would NOT want to have the president address their children! Although I don't agree with some of Obama's ideas, he is a wonderful speaker and is a great inspiration for children. I've said more than once that if Obama does nothing else in his presidency - the fact that he gives people hope is still a wonderful thing.

Anonymous said...

I would love to listen to Obama's speech today. I think we need to focus on education, push it, make children aspire to become well-educated adults, and take responsibility for themselves. I'm all about it.

But until G. Bush learns how to hold a book right-side-up, I think he best stay far, far away from our school systems.

MsMVNJ said...

I approve of the speech, and I think it's a good idea for the president to push education - we're not setting the world on fire right now. I wouldn't have had a problem with GW addressing the same thing, as long as he got the words right and used proper grammar...;-)

Kari said...

I will probably be in the minority on this, but, I am against the speech being aired during school. If he wants to give this kind of speech, encouraging kids to work hard on their education and to set high goals, etc. that is great. But, he could do it in the evening - when parents can watch the broadcast WITH their children. Maybe I'm paranoid, but, airing it during school just seems a little too "big-brother" for me. Just my opinion.

Poolside with the Girls said...

My kids don't start school until later that week so this isn't an issue for us.

That being said if this were taking place in our school, and I was given a choice, I might want to see the speech before letting the kids see it. I'm guessing that the speech is harmless.

I'm more concerned about the menu of activities that they recommend. I would want to know exactly what's on the menu?

With respect to your question "what if G Bush did this?" I would want to see his speech before hand as well if given the choice.

I have been asking myself this question a lot lately regarding things that Obama is doing. Things that I agree with and also things that I disagree with.

For example, Van Jones, who is one of many Czar's appointed by Obama, publicly called Republicans a**holes several times while addressing a crowd back in February (before he was appointed). So my question is, what would people have thought if G Bush appointed a Czar that called Democrats or any other group a**holes in a public forum and it was caught on tape? Would that person still have a job in the Bush administration?

It would appear that there is a much higher tolerance these days.

Bottom line is the speech is probably harmless. I try to pick my battles carefully and this probably wouldn't be one of them.

Anonymous said...

I think it's a wonderful thing. Kids need to get a sense of who the president is and that he cares about their futures. If this were to be aired in the evening how many kids would watch? Or, how many parents would have them watch it? Not that many I'd bet. Having it in schools is a good thing, they'll pay more attention and get a mini-lesson on social studies while they are at it.

Honestly I wouldn't have minded W giving a speech to the kids, even though he has trouble speaking entire sentences. Maybe he'd be a great example as to why an education is important ;-)

Constant Frivolity said...

I guess I'm okay with an address by the President during the school day. Although, I think there are many parents who could be "inspired" by such a speech as well, and by airing it at night, parents and children could discuss the address together.

Also, what's with 12pm? Every child in the eastern time zone will probably be at lunch or recess. I don't think any kid wants to miss recess to watch some speech by the President, no matter how charismatic he might be.

Preppy 101 said...

As a former teacher of 33 years in a high school setting, I am totally against this in the classroom. My reason are several, but I am totally against this. Has nothing to do with the fact that I am not an Obama fan. Nothing. I would've been against it when the Republicans were in office.

Anonymous said...

I'm not a fan of W, but I appreciate the idea of anyone my children see as an influential figure telling them that school is important. I would let my kids hear that message from Obama or W.

Tippy said...

On the one hand, I sorta agree with Kari - having the speech on tv in the evening so FAMILIES can view it and discuss it would be great. However, then it probably wouldn't be seen by too many children.

I agree with you Caffeine Court - once is fine. If this was a regularly scheduled thing, I might not be as happy about it.

Talking to children about responsibility, etc. can't be a bad thing. The parents that are so upset by it - what is their concern? That Obama will infect their kids with the socialist willies? Utter nonsense.

I would feel the same way if it were GWB instead of Obama.

Scarlet O'Kara said...

As a member of PTA at my daughter's school, I learned about this upcoming event via several frantic phone calls from concerned parents. I spent the better part of yesterday researching this topic.

I am not opposed to a President speaking to students about the importance of education. As a matter of fact, I think that is a wonderful idea.

I am also not opposed to students learning about Politics and having discussions about what government officials do.

What bothers me is that this speech is taking place during a time when most parents are not able to be with their children. Why not have the speech in the evening when parents and children can watch together. To ensure that famlies watch it, why not offer extra credit for those students who can enter discussions about the speech with their teachers on Wednesday morning.

As a parent, we are required to sign permission slips for our children to participate in various school related activities. Why shouldn't a high profile event like this be any different? And I would feel this very same way if President Bush or any other President (past or future) were the one speaking.

My daughter's teacher has decided not to show the speech. I will be taking the time to view it at home. Later, we will watch it together and discuss it.

Lynn said...

My objection is why is Obama doing this in the first place ?? To the best of my knowledge, he never showed interest in education before. Why was he not in the Chicago Public Schools when he was a community organizer, state senator or US senator speaking to at risk youth, encouraging them to be responsible, take their education seriously ???? If I'm not mistaken, Obama's opponent,in his US Senate race in Illinois, was a guy who left the business world to teach in the inner city, Jack Ryan.(before Axlerod got a hold of him) Why wasn't Obama involved in the Chicago public schools as a mentor, volunteer, etc...if he really cared so much ? (if he had been we SURELY would of heard about it during his campaign) He wasn't involved because he didn't care, or it wasn't politically expedient. Incedentally, what is most disturbing to me is the "Menu of Classroom Activities" put out by the WH. ex. question, "Why is it important tht we listen to the President and other elected officials, like the mayor, senators,members of congress, or the governor? Why is what they say important ?" Egads!!! The aforementioned people are some of the most vile persons(and I'm talking both Dems and Republicans) that have committed some really heinous acts. So no thanks. Sorry for the long entry.Thanks for letting me say my 2 cents worth.

Kate said...

I am sure he'll keep his audience in mind (short attention spans) and keep it short. Don't understand why people are getting their panties in a bunch.

Tippy said...

I just heard on the radio that both Reagan and G.H.W. Bush both did these classroom addresses. I do not remember either of them doing this. Nor do I remember Democrats threatening to pull their children out of school for it.

If Obama can indoctrinate children with an 18 minute speech, well, then he's more powerful than I thought. LOL.

Kate said...

i keep thinking about this topic. Many people mentioned that it should be broadcast in the evenings so parents can watch with their children. Well, sadly, many of our children live in poverty with (SHOCKER) no television or cable in the home. Or have parents who enjoy regular working hours and are home with them for dinner. I think it will reach some children who might not otherwise have a chance to see it.

Jillian, Inc said...

I feel the same as you if it just happened ONCE. You know I'm a no fan of Obama (still known as NO-BAMA at our house...yelled at the TV by my 3yo when he comes on). To pull your kid out of school because the President is speaking is a little rash. I mean, it's not like the kids are going to sit there listening intently and hanging on every word. They'll only hear about 50% of what he says and retain .09%. I don't think it's right to go running "scared" when someone you don't like does something. Only gives them more satisfaction and more ammo. And then I also have a lot to say on the demographic issues that I will just keep to myself because writing it in an email just won't come out right.

Poolside with the Girls said...

I learned this week that GB I gave a speech to the school children in 1991. He was criticized for this by Democrats who then ordered the General Accounting Office to investigate the cost and legality of Bush's appearance. Turns out he was within his rights to speak to the children.

Oddly his speech had the same basic message as Obama's.

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