||[Sep. 7th, 2009|03:53 pm]
So, the Obama people posted what President Obama is going to give as his "back to school" speech. A lot of people have been panicking and knee-jerk saying that their schools weren't going to show it, or (more sensibly) saying that they're going to allow parents to opt their kids out of seeing it. Of course, an early version of their recommended lesson plan didn't help the fear-mongers, by including questions asking students how they want to help Obama with his agenda.|
I found myself asking myself why in the world this "controversy" was news. No one really knew what was going to be in the speech, even though the administration was assuring people that it would be totally innocuous. (Of course, we've had the administration tell us things before and seen it not pan out.) I suppose it's because everyone loves to blow a story out of proportion. I figure, if a school doesn't think the speech works with their educational environment, there's nothing "must-have" about it, and if a parent doesn't want his/her child to be forced to watch Obama make a motivational speech, I'm not going to have a problem with that, either--I'm a firm supporter of parental discretion.
Now the actual text of the speech is out there, so people can read it for themselves. (I highly doubt they're going to deviate from the text. This is likely exactly what the teleprompter will be spitting out.) It seems like not such a big deal. The only times policy come in, really, is the following, early in the speech: "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."
And, as policy goes, that's really not all that controversial.
Of course, I also find myself questioning the effectiveness of the speech. I mean, Obama wants a speech broadcast to children (who are in school when the speech is played) encouraging them to stay in school. Wouldn't a better way to present the message be to buy up (or get donated) a bunch of commercial time on children-oriented television programs? That way you'd catch all the kids who habitually skip school. They're the ones who need the motivation, no?