Obama’s Planned Back-to-School Address Upsets Parents, Politicans

By Catherine Gewertz — September 03, 2009 1 min read
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President Obama’s back-to-school address at a Virginia high school is rankling parents and politicians. And he hasn’t even given it yet.

The president is scheduled to deliver nationally broadcast remarks at Wakefield High School in the Washington D.C. suburb of Arlington, Va., on Sept. 8. And folks there are busily getting ready for the big event.

But parents in Texas and elsewhere resent the imposition of what they see as partisan propaganda on their kids, and the head of Florida’s GOP says it’s a vehicle for a “socialist” agenda. (To get a sense of the buzz here, note that the Texas story has already received more than 450 comments online.)

Hmm. Would the socialist agenda lie in the part of his scheduled address in which he urges students to “persist and succeed” in school? Maybe it’s a rabidly Democratic thing to challenge them to “work hard, set educational goals and take responsibility for their learning,” perhaps?

One area of ire seems to be the lesson plans that the Obama administration drew up for teachers to use around the speech. In a bit of a skinback yesterday, they revised their approach in response to the tone of the public reaction.

A version of this news article first appeared in the High School Connections blog.