Monday, September 7, 2009

President Obama's Speech to Students

Tomorrow afternoon (Tuesday) President Obama is going to be giving a speech to the school children of our country. He is taking time from his packed schedule to address an issue he obviously holds in high priority - the future of our children and their education.

Being a teacher, I admire him and his approach toward the "root" of many problems in our country - our school system. And I love that he is speaking straight to the children to motivate and inspire them to make a difference.

But apparently I'm a radical, left-wing crazy person. Several schools (actually MOST schools) in our area are refusing to show this speech or giving parents the option to not allow their children to watch. I could understand this stance if it were regarding a sex-education video or a controversial campaign by PETA or some other "special-interest group". But this man is the PRESIDENT of our COUNTRY. Not a radical. Our President. I don't care who you voted for or what your political views are. He is OUR President and as such deserves our respect.

What message does that give our students, OUR CHILDREN, the future leaders of our country if our schools are refusing to show a speech by our President? How do we expect to teach children to make a difference or work hard for something we believe in if we refuse to show them someone who is doing so? Just because someone or something is different, does not mean it is bad.

Further, what do the directors of these schools think President Obama is going to say? Is he going to rally the children of our country to rebel against all morality and values of their "forefathers"? Will he spread some bizarre culture that could in some way hinder the progress of our nation? Hardly. He wants to help children broaden their horizons and work harder to make a positive change in their lives, a change that obviously needs to happen since their leaders are too closed-minded to embrace it.

If you have school-aged children, or know some, and they didn't get to see the speech, click here to find it. Or if you're interested in becoming inspired yourself, feel free to do so. I don't remember a President addressing ME as a school child, so I think these kids are pretty lucky that he cares so much to speak to them directly. Here's an excerpt of the transcript that I found amusing and inspiring all at once:

...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.

Good advice for us ALL. (For a full transcript, click here.)


Hilary said...

I couldn't have said it better myself Bon!

Molly said...

I read the whole script this morning and thought is was a wonderful speech. People are SO dumb.

Candace said...

Amen sista! He is the president of our country. He is not trying to indoctrinate your children with socialist ideals. He is trying to tell them to get real about education. Phewy. I'm just a baby in this whole education thing, but I don't understand what everyone is so afraid of. I am glad to know I have at least one other teacher who feels the same way I do!!!

Amy and Clark said...

People have certainly been making a really big deal out of something that shouldn't be an issue. The President, regardless of the party, deserves a certain level of respect.

ConnieStance said...

I would like to just forward this to my Principal now. But I really would like to keep my job and I think the filters on our computers wouldn't like the word porn.

Anyway, well said. I appreciate your views and how you formulate them into words. And then you share them. Thanks for doing it.

I will be using your links to educate myself and then I will educate my students (with a closed door, of course.) I think all people who consider themselves "Educated" are obligated to hear what this man has to say. The President of our country....geesh.

MisterE said...

Since when was education a political issue? I thought all parties were for it. I don’t know what all the fuss was over this. Most of the younger students won’t even have a chance to vote for Obama anyway if that is what people are afraid of. I couldn’t agree with you more, well put Bonnie! ps I linked this post on my Facebook page, hope that's okay.

Jess said...

So, so true! Presidents have spoken to school kids before (granted, not without controversy then either,) but regardless of how you voted, he is the president. Talking to our students about education, and especially the fact that they are personally responsible for the education they receive, can never be a bad thing! (If I'm being honest, this is especially true because of how popular he is with the youth!) I like that he gave examples of kids with hardships that were able to overcome and took away all of the excuses that many kids use. I thought it was great! It's too bad so many kids didn't get to hear it. Regardless of party, the office of president deserves respect. Ok, off of soap box now. :) Basically, I agree totally.