Obama's Speech to Students Released: Will LA's Kids All Hear It? And More Importantly, Will They Listen?
There's been a national controversy bubbling around President Obama's planned speech to school-age students tomorrow, and specifically the initial course materials provided to accompany the talk, which features the country's leader talking about the importance of education and staying in school. Today the White House released the speech so that everyone can preview its content.
In the remarks, Obama talks about focusing on goals, and how an education is necessary in order to pursue most jobs. He references his own life obstacles, and how adversities and advantages come into play when it comes to the very serious business of school. He asks students to make it a goal to finish school and to do their homework rather than "spend every waking hour in front of the TV or with that Xbox." The core of the message is personal responsibility. Doing what you can for yourself, no matter your circumstances, in order to make the best out of your life.
What's caused the reactionary furor was the inclusion of a supplemental assignment that asked the students to do a writing exercise responding to the prompt of what they can do as individuals to help the President, which has since been re-worded to appease the clamor of dissent. What many may have objected to was the lack of immediate context in the question, if examined as a stand-alone point. Those on the other side of the aisle of Obama in the voting booth (or, for most school-aged children, their parents) seem to resent the idea that their child should be asked to "help" a Democratic President--nevermind that Obama is President of all of America, not just parts of it, and nevermind that what the classroom exercise was meant to inspire was a written response about how the student could work to make education their focus, thereby "helping" the President achieve his vision of a better-educated nation. Note that it's not asking students "help" him pass a Health Care bill, hand out free abortion coupons, erase the word "God" off the currency, or drive illegal immigrants across the border into US towns.