Teach your children

I'm not getting the controversy over President Obama's upcoming speech to school children.

In fact, the furor over it upsets me.

Sure, I'm of the opinion that George W. Bush made some questionable calls in the Oval Office. But I still respect him for his courage and ability to take on the highest office in the land. And still, would I raise the kind of ruckus that people are raising over Obama's speech if it were Bush talking to school children? Of course not.

He's the President of the United States. The leader of the Free World.

The President is a figure schoolchildren should be encouraged to look up to for his work ethic and leadership. He's a person we, as citizens of this country, should respect and honor, whether he's black or white, male or female, Democrat or Republican.

For all of his accomplishments, why wouldn't a parent want Obama to encourage his or her child to work hard in school and go after their dreams?

The speech -- which will likely last a mere 10 minutes and probably won't seriously disrupt classroom instruction, as some opponents of it are charging -- implores students to take responsibility for their education and work hard toward their goals. The Presidents relays some of his own childhood experiences and makes a request for the students to "show up to those schools; pay attention to those teachers; listen to your parents, grandparents and other adults; and put in the hard work it takes to succeed."

A news report on the controversey tonight included a parent who cited Obama's stance on abortion and healthcare, among other hot-button issues, as her reasons for not allowing her child to have the president's views "pushed down her child's throat" -- or something to that effect. ... For godsakes people, the speech is a universe away from those subjects! He's only encouraging your children to stay in school and put forth their best efforts!

And what else does it say of the schools who agree to block -- or censor? -- students from seeing Obama's speech. To borrow a point from one of my cohorts, it's almost like parents telling their children's schools that they can't teach about the legacy of Abraham Lincoln, or the lessons of 9/11, or science.

One school in our area is prohibiting its teachers from showing the speech to students on Tuesday, but allowing them to show a recorded version later only if it fits into the teacher's curriculum. Furthermore, the school is barring any student from entering the White House's video contest in conjunction with the speech because "it violates the school's policies on proper Internet usage," or something like that. ... What does that say about encouraging our students to learn technology, or be creative, or helping them discover new interests that could, say, inspire them to become filmmakers?

I applaud the schools that encourage their students to watch Tuesday's address.

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