Cover Story: Pres. Obama's speech to school children - | WBTV Charlotte

Cover Story: Pres. Obama's speech to school children

CHARLOTTE, NC (WBTV) - It's become a case of the President versus parents.  Obama's web speech to students stirring up controversy, and it hasn't even aired yet.  Some say the president's views are being shoved down their child's throat.  Others say, the speech is about education, what's the harm?  In our Cover Story, PrimeTime's Jeff Atkinson reports on what this debate is really about and why some say it has nothing to do with students.

Here are the lesson plan the administration created to accompany the speech.

It originally said students should "write letters to themselves about what they can do to help the president."

The lesson plan was amended Wednesday and now students are encouraged to "write letters to themselves about how they can achieve their short term and long term education goals."

The president's speech comes against the backdrop of one of the most intense debates the country's ever had.. reforming health care.

There's also a general distrust of government that some experts say they haven't seen in a long time.

A simple speech to school children.. it's caught the White House off guard and inflamed passions on both sides of the aisle.

The White House calls next Tuesday's 15-minute address to school children simply a plea to students to really take their learning seriously.

But critics are particularly upset about lesson plans the administration created to accompany the speech..

Recommending students "write letters to themselves about what they can do to help the president."

The curriculum was changed this week.

Considering where the country is right now.. caught up in the firestorm over health care reform.. this newspaper article titled it "The Angry Americans" Mr. Obama's opponents seized on his speech to school kids as a back door way in to further his agenda.

Talk Radio's been lit up.

Says one listener, "My rights are being circumvented so that this president can speak to my children.. She will not be going to school."

Some parents are boycotting school that day.

Indeed ironic considering it's supposed to be a speech about staying in school.

School districts in several states including Minnesota, Missouri, Texas, Illinois, Virginia and Wisconsin say they won't show the speech to their students.

So far no word on whether any districts in the Carolinas might do the same.

With Obama elected with just 53-percent of the popular vote.. and tackling such an ambitious agenda.. not to mention the government now owning companies like G-M anything the president does now seems to generate opposition with half the electorate.

When the first president Bush spoke to school children 20 years ago.. there was opposition from the Democrats.. but nothing to this extent.

This controversy is the latest example of how sharply polarized the political debate has become.

Today also much different-- talk radio and internet blogs provide a forum for people to get worked up in a hurry.

Some parents think critics are reading too much into the power of the president.. especially with a someone like an 8-year old.

"I think most kids don't know politics one way or another. I don't think he can influence that. I think parents at home will have an influence on their kids politicical beliefs."

Some parents say "Speak to kids fine.. but lesson plans to go along with it?"

Others say.. it's the President of the United States.. our country's leader should be allowed to speak to kids about their education.

Charlote Mecklenburg Schools asking students to take part in his historic webcast.. parents who object can contact their child's school and another "instructional opportunity" will be provided.

 

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