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BS: Obama's address to school children

Riginslinger 04 Sep 09 - 10:20 PM
Alice 04 Sep 09 - 10:26 PM
CarolC 04 Sep 09 - 10:27 PM
Azizi 04 Sep 09 - 10:36 PM
Alice 04 Sep 09 - 10:38 PM
Azizi 04 Sep 09 - 11:08 PM
SharonA 05 Sep 09 - 12:45 AM
Barry Finn 05 Sep 09 - 12:59 AM
SharonA 05 Sep 09 - 01:08 AM
Amos 05 Sep 09 - 01:20 AM
SharonA 05 Sep 09 - 01:28 AM
Barry Finn 05 Sep 09 - 12:05 PM
SharonA 05 Sep 09 - 12:14 PM
McGrath of Harlow 05 Sep 09 - 02:59 PM
Peace 05 Sep 09 - 03:03 PM
McGrath of Harlow 05 Sep 09 - 03:09 PM
Alice 05 Sep 09 - 03:27 PM
Peace 05 Sep 09 - 03:34 PM
SharonA 05 Sep 09 - 03:39 PM
Azizi 05 Sep 09 - 04:10 PM
Peace 05 Sep 09 - 04:15 PM
SharonA 05 Sep 09 - 04:54 PM
Peace 05 Sep 09 - 05:13 PM
SharonA 05 Sep 09 - 06:06 PM
SharonA 05 Sep 09 - 06:14 PM
Azizi 05 Sep 09 - 06:16 PM
Azizi 05 Sep 09 - 06:19 PM
McGrath of Harlow 05 Sep 09 - 07:42 PM
Bobert 05 Sep 09 - 07:52 PM
Peace 05 Sep 09 - 07:54 PM
Bobert 05 Sep 09 - 08:25 PM
Alice 05 Sep 09 - 10:11 PM
Peace 05 Sep 09 - 10:13 PM
Amos 05 Sep 09 - 10:21 PM
Little Hawk 06 Sep 09 - 11:54 AM
wysiwyg 06 Sep 09 - 12:05 PM
Bobert 06 Sep 09 - 04:12 PM
GUEST,c yngve 06 Sep 09 - 08:42 PM
Q (Frank Staplin) 06 Sep 09 - 08:57 PM
Stilly River Sage 06 Sep 09 - 09:50 PM
Stilly River Sage 07 Sep 09 - 02:16 AM
Alice 07 Sep 09 - 12:15 PM
Alice 07 Sep 09 - 12:27 PM
Bobert 07 Sep 09 - 12:43 PM
Alice 07 Sep 09 - 12:58 PM
Amos 07 Sep 09 - 01:08 PM
Alice 07 Sep 09 - 01:12 PM
Q (Frank Staplin) 07 Sep 09 - 01:25 PM
SharonA 07 Sep 09 - 02:03 PM
Amos 07 Sep 09 - 02:20 PM
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Subject: BS: Obama's address to school children
From: Riginslinger
Date: 04 Sep 09 - 10:20 PM

He couldn't have fired up the right-wing-religious-wakkos to a greater extent if he'd tried.
            Fox news is running a special about what is wrong with public school text books, and they're really making hay with it.
            It's hard to understand why he keeps shooting himself in the foot this way. Last month it was that Gates beer party thing, and now this. One has to wonder if he really doesn't want health care to pass at all.


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Subject: RE: BS: Obama's address to school children
From: Alice
Date: 04 Sep 09 - 10:26 PM

Shooting himself in the foot?????

Who in their right mind would think a presidential address (like Ronald Reagan also did) would have anyone upset? NO ONE in their right mind would think there is anything wrong with it!!


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Subject: RE: BS: Obama's address to school children
From: CarolC
Date: 04 Sep 09 - 10:27 PM

I don't see any reason that the address itself should be a problem, but his people (or the Department of Education) really did seem to be rather stupid in the way they approached telling schools how to handle the teaching around the address.


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Subject: RE: BS: Obama's address to school children
From: Azizi
Date: 04 Sep 09 - 10:36 PM

"On eve of 1992 campaign, Bush 41 pitches education plan in televised classroom speech

Posted Sep 3, 2009, 11:26 AM PT by Jed Lewison • First broadcast: Oct 1, 1991

On October 1, 1991, George H. W. Bush pitches his education plan in a speech broadcast to school classrooms nationwide:

http://www.dailykostv.com/w/002099/


Bush's speech was delivered on the eve of his presidential re-election campaign, and although it did contain some inspirational rhetoric, significant portions of it were focused promoting his own education plan.

A conspiracy theorist might even claim Bush's goal was to influence parents by "indoctrinating" their children.

:::


Video transcript:

Maybe you saw today's headline, I don't know if you had a chance to look at it, about the release of the new National Goals Report. Get the camera to come in and take a look at this for a moment. In math, for instance, this national report card shows that, nationwide, five of six eighth graders don't know the math they need to move up to the ninth grade.

In spite of troubling statistics like this one, I don't see this report, however, as just bad news.

What we don't hear enough about are the success stories. You know, all over America, thousands of schools do succeed, even against tough odds, even against all odds. Kids from all over the District of Columbia petition to get into Alice Deal School here because parents know this school works.

We made a start nationally now by setting six National Education Goals to meet the challenges of the 21st century. By the year 2000, at least 9 in every 10 students should graduate from high school. We should be first in the world in math and science. We need to regularly test student's abilities. Every American child should start school ready to learn; every American adult should be literate; and every American school should be safe and drug-free. Reaching those goals is the aim of a strategy that we call America 2000."


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Subject: RE: BS: Obama's address to school children
From: Alice
Date: 04 Sep 09 - 10:38 PM

Text of Ronald Reagan talking to school children (and pushing his political agenda in the Q&A) November 14, 1988.

CLIcK here from archives of U Texas


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Subject: RE: BS: Obama's address to school children
From: Azizi
Date: 04 Sep 09 - 11:08 PM

Here's another video on this subject:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0y9fhmbFI0s

"Republican Party of Florida chairman Jim Greer debates Roland Martin on "Anderson Cooper 360" over President Obama's scheduled speech to schoolchildren on Tuesday, September 8.

Cooper calls out Greer for having no proof that Obama is going to subject kids to learn about his plan to "justify government run healthcare".

"Right wingers, led by radio talk show hosts... want to find politics in everything," said Martin, who also argues that the Obama in-school speech is no different than "writing a letter to the First Lady" in class. "Presidents go to school all the time."

"You have made this a partisan issue," Greer tells Martin."


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Subject: RE: BS: Obama's address to school children
From: SharonA
Date: 05 Sep 09 - 12:45 AM

Wow, next thing ya know, Obama will be sitting in a second-graders' classroom listening to them read "My Pet Goat" aloud.

(*rolling eyes*)


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Subject: RE: BS: Obama's address to school children
From: Barry Finn
Date: 05 Sep 09 - 12:59 AM

Keep rolling your eyes Sharon, at least this president will be able to read to the kids, the last one couldn't even color in his book with the numbers already drawn for him. He even had to keep his mouth shut & eyes blank for 7 minutes while the towers fell. He had to have the kids read to him, the dunce

Barry who thinks Obama's getting down with school kids is more than any president has done for education since JFK

Barry


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Subject: RE: BS: Obama's address to school children
From: SharonA
Date: 05 Sep 09 - 01:08 AM

Hmmm, just in case the meaning of my previous post wasn't clear (and it does seem a bit obtuse on second inspection), what I'm trying to say is that Bush 43 (a.k.a. "Dubya") was among the former republican Presidents who promoted their politicsl agendas with regard to education by communicating directly with children. Dubya's "My Pet Goat" incident of 9/11/2001 was an infamous example, where his hesitancy in responding to the news of the terrorist attacks on New York and Washington made it appear that he was more concerned with his political agenda than with the safety of the nation.

Yet when Obama announces that he wants to speak to America's children, suddenly the Republicans are all over him, accusing him of brainwashing kids! So I am envisioning the ridiculous uproar the R's would make if Obama did go beyond making televised speeches and visit classrooms to interact with kids the way Dubya had done in 2001. That's what my little bit of sarcasm was all about.


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Subject: RE: BS: Obama's address to school children
From: Amos
Date: 05 Sep 09 - 01:20 AM

He's no6 shooting himself in the foot so much as having his feet shot at by people who intend to make him fail even at the cost of making things go from bad to worse. There are nutballs who will stop at nothing to just stop others. It's the core nature of insanity, being made loud.


A


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Subject: RE: BS: Obama's address to school children
From: SharonA
Date: 05 Sep 09 - 01:28 AM

"...even at the cost of making things go from bad to worse..."

Don't forget that those are the nutballs who WANT things to go from bad to worse: fundamentalist religious zealots who think that they are helping the "End Times" to come sooner, so that Christ wlll decide it's time for his Second Coming sooner, by actively worsening the political climate (as well as the environmental climate!).


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Subject: RE: BS: Obama's address to school children
From: Barry Finn
Date: 05 Sep 09 - 12:05 PM

Sorry Sharon, my misinterpretation of your posting

Barry


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Subject: RE: BS: Obama's address to school children
From: SharonA
Date: 05 Sep 09 - 12:14 PM

Nothing to be sorry about, Barry. I'm the one who should apologize, and I do apologize. My post wasn't at all clear (hence the explanation!). I was brought up short in another thread recently, for making a quip that could easily be misinterpreted (and was!), so I'm trying to keep a weather eye on myself when I do that.


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Subject: RE: BS: Obama's address to school children
From: McGrath of Harlow
Date: 05 Sep 09 - 02:59 PM

Maybe that "ironic fonr" I was talking about in another recent thread really is needed.


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Subject: RE: BS: Obama's address to school children
From: Peace
Date: 05 Sep 09 - 03:03 PM

The White House
1600 Pennsylvania Avenue NW
Washington, DC 20500


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Subject: RE: BS: Obama's address to school children
From: McGrath of Harlow
Date: 05 Sep 09 - 03:09 PM

That should have been "ironic font".


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Subject: RE: BS: Obama's address to school children
From: Alice
Date: 05 Sep 09 - 03:27 PM

www.whitehouse.gov
click on 'contact' at the bottom of the page and you can send a message of support


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Subject: RE: BS: Obama's address to school children
From: Peace
Date: 05 Sep 09 - 03:34 PM

http://www.whitehouse.gov/


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Subject: RE: BS: Obama's address to school children
From: SharonA
Date: 05 Sep 09 - 03:39 PM

Okayyyyyy, so now we've got the email address AND the snail-mail address! Looks like everything is covered (especially if Obama really is a dress).

:-)


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Subject: RE: BS: Obama's address to school children
From: Azizi
Date: 05 Sep 09 - 04:10 PM

Survey USA poll taken in Fresno, CA asked respondents four questions about the speech. Overwhelming majorities expressed favorable opinions:

Q: President Obama plans to deliver a national address to school children on the importance of them taking responsibility for their own success in school. Do you think it is appropriate? Or not appropriate? For President Obama to deliver this address?
A: Appropriate 63% Not Appropriate 30%

Q: Do you think it would be appropriate? Or not appropriate? For ANY President to deliver this address?
A: Appropriate 64% Not Appropriate 30%

Q: If you had a child attending a school that was going to show the address, would you tell your child to pay attention? Would you tell you child to NOT pay attention? Or would you keep your child home?
A: To Pay Attention 78% To NOT Pay Attention 5% Would Keep Child Home 14%

Q: Who should decide whether to show President Obama's national address to school children? School districts? Or individual teachers?
A: School Districts 52% Individual Teachers 28%

SUSA asked the same questions of residents in Missouri with almost identical results.

http://www.dailykos.com/storyonly/2009/9/5/777475/-Polls-find-OVERWHELMING-support-for-Obamas-school-speech


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Subject: RE: BS: Obama's address to school children
From: Peace
Date: 05 Sep 09 - 04:15 PM

I think it should be school districts, Azizi. If it's left to individual teachers, and the school district hasn't ruled on it, then individual teachers are on their own when some folks complain. They don't have time for that garbage, imo.


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Subject: RE: BS: Obama's address to school children
From: SharonA
Date: 05 Sep 09 - 04:54 PM

I agree with Peace that it shouldn't be up to individual teachers, but "school districts" is a misleading term IMO. Unfortunately this would not mean administrators of the individual schools (principals, vice-principals, etc., who are primarily concerned with the children's education) but instead it means each district's school board (a more politically-charged group made up of community members who are elected officials concerned with local politics and their own re-election)!!!

Perhaps the decision should be up to each district's teachers' union. Perhaps it should be up to each state's teachers' union, or to the National Education Association, or perhaps to the American Federation of Teachers.

Or maybe it should be up to each state's Department of Education (division of the state government), or to the US Department of Education.

All this is to say that the survey's question is far too simplistic! Not only that, but it tends to perpetuate bad feelings in communities, between school board members and teachers, as well as partisan politics. IMO the decision should be made at a higher level than the school district level, whether it be at the county, state or national level.


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Subject: RE: BS: Obama's address to school children
From: Peace
Date: 05 Sep 09 - 05:13 PM

The federal contribution to education nationally in the USA is about 8%, and the funds are usually targetted. Therefore, maybe it best be left to the states and communities.


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Subject: RE: BS: Obama's address to school children
From: SharonA
Date: 05 Sep 09 - 06:06 PM

Makes sense to me.


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Subject: RE: BS: Obama's address to school children
From: SharonA
Date: 05 Sep 09 - 06:14 PM

(...which is to say, Peace's idea of leaving it up to states and communities makes sense to me!)


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Subject: RE: BS: Obama's address to school children
From: Azizi
Date: 05 Sep 09 - 06:16 PM

I very much agree with your 05 Sep 09 - 04:15 PM
comment, Bruce.

See this dailykos diary about a teacher who was fired because she said she honked for peace (no pun intended):

http://www.rbguy.dailykos.com/storyonly/2009/9/4/776972/-I-was-on-the-Ed-Schultz-Show-to-talk-on-Obamas-speech-to-students


**

Here is an excerpt from that diary:

"In 2003, before the war in Iraq began, I said four little words, "I honk for peace" that would change my life forever. I was teaching the curriculum using Time for Kids magazine, the issue was about Iraq. I was required to teach that Iraq had weapons of mass destruction (no one challenged that), and other facts about our history with Iraq. We also read a tiny article about a peace demonstration being held in Washington, DC. When a student asked if I would ever march in a peace march, I answered honestly, saying that "I honk for peace" when I drive by the demonstrators with signs reading Honk for Peace.

A small group of zealous, right-wing, Bush-loving parents complained, called me unpatriotic and anti-Bush, demanded that I be fired, and I was. I fought for my job and my right of free speech by suing the school district. I took my fight all the way to the Supreme Court of the United States which declined to hear it in October, 2007, thus affirming the lower court decision that teachers have no right of free speech at school.

Neither, it would seem, does the President.

Teachers must walk on eggshells these days as they prepare to teach the curriculum. One false statement and they could lose their jobs . . . and the NEA or AFT will not be there to support them. So, teachers choosing to do an activity as innocuous as watching the President encourage their students to set goals, take responsibility for their own learning, and stay in school is risky business these days"...

-snip-

This woman has not been able to find a teaching position since she was fired.

So yes, I definitely believe that the school district should approve the showing of President Obama's speech,and the school district should go on record as approving open discussion by students and teachers in classrooms about the content of that speech.


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Subject: RE: BS: Obama's address to school children
From: Azizi
Date: 05 Sep 09 - 06:19 PM

By "school districts" I mean the superintendent of the school district, not the principals and vice principals of individual schools. And I definitely believe that that approval should be in writing so that the superintendent can't weasel out of his or her words if some complaints are made.


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Subject: RE: BS: Obama's address to school children
From: McGrath of Harlow
Date: 05 Sep 09 - 07:42 PM

I gather several Presidents before have done this, including Bush the First - at which time it was criticised by Democrats, and defended by Republicans.

Sauce for the goose, sauce for the gander.

However it seems a pretty strange idea all along. I can't envisaged a national address to schoolchildren by a Prime Minister if any political complexion.


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Subject: RE: BS: Obama's address to school children
From: Bobert
Date: 05 Sep 09 - 07:52 PM

If opposing everything about the current administartion is the Republicans plan to recapture the governemnt then it is the Repubs who are shooting themselves in the foot... One has to keep in mind that only rabid righties are falolin' into the Repub line and this is not going to sway moderates and independents, who BTW had enought of Repub bad governemnt to turn against them, to turn back to support them...

The Repub party has some very serious problems that they think they can cover up by riling up the most pissed off of the country who are allready riled up...

Whomever is advisin' the Repub needs to rethink this strategy 'cause what it is doin' is galvanizing independents and moderates against the Repubs...

Oh, the ads ads I could write for Dems in next years elections... Like shooting fish in a barrel...

B~


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Subject: RE: BS: Obama's address to school children
From: Peace
Date: 05 Sep 09 - 07:54 PM

Well, unlike Bush, if Obama addresses school children we can be pretty much assured he'll speak a language they'll understand.


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Subject: RE: BS: Obama's address to school children
From: Bobert
Date: 05 Sep 09 - 08:25 PM

Obamics???


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Subject: RE: BS: Obama's address to school children
From: Alice
Date: 05 Sep 09 - 10:11 PM

doesn't sound at all like you are THINKING


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Subject: RE: BS: Obama's address to school children
From: Peace
Date: 05 Sep 09 - 10:13 PM

"GUEST,One who thinks... - PM "

Gee, what a surprise. It's a GUEST.


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Subject: RE: BS: Obama's address to school children
From: Amos
Date: 05 Sep 09 - 10:21 PM

What a complete crock. Where do you get your flimflam from? Nether anatomical devices?


A


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Subject: RE: BS: Obama's address to school children
From: Little Hawk
Date: 06 Sep 09 - 11:54 AM

I can't recall any Canadian prime minister who ever delivered a nation-wide address to Canadian schoolchildren. (?)

Anyway, regarding Obama's speech, I see little point in anyone getting upset about it until they actually know what he says in it. Plenty of time to get upset afterward, if that's what you want to do.

Azizi - Your story about the teacher who said "I honk for peace" is chilling. Sounds a lot like Nazi Germany to me...or WWII Japan. It was not considered the least bit kosher to speak for peace in those societies either during the war years. If you did, you didn't just lose your job, you got arrested and imprisoned.


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Subject: RE: BS: Obama's address to school children
From: wysiwyg
Date: 06 Sep 09 - 12:05 PM

I thought I'd do something REALLY radical and wait to hear it before I decide what I think he's about with it.

~S~


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Subject: RE: BS: Obama's address to school children
From: Bobert
Date: 06 Sep 09 - 04:12 PM

As fir intense reactions to Bush nad/or his policies the only time I remember anything as intense as what we are seein' from the righties against Obama was when Bush and Co. were plotting to invade Iraq... I really don't rmember anything that resembles what we are seein' now with everything that Obama does gets openly attacked by a bunch of lunatic liars who wouldn't know the truth if it bit them on the asses...

B~


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Subject: RE: BS: Obama's address to school children
From: GUEST,c yngve
Date: 06 Sep 09 - 08:42 PM

On the morning of 9/11,news of the terrorist attack was delivered to President Bush as he sat in an elementary school room surrounded by children. It was videotaped. After he was given the news, he sat for approximately seven minutes with no response. No one questioned his right to be in the classroom, no one asked to have a copy of what he said to the children to see if it was appropriate. I am so disgusted with the majority of the Republican party, and their inability to do anything constructive! They offer no plans for the future. Unless you have something constructive to say, get out of the way! Have they always been like this? Are there no sane Republicans left? Is this because we elected our first black President and they are couching their racism with every evil thing they can conjure up? I am a retired psych nurse, white, female. They are teetering on the brink of crazy,treason, or both! I printed my end of life requests off the internet when I retired in 2004. I didn't want my children to have to make those decisions. No death panel, just allowing myself to make my own decisions while I am still able! Hop aboard the looney tune, snake-oil selling, express. In the words of Daffy Duck, "what maroons"!


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Subject: RE: BS: Obama's address to school children
From: Q (Frank Staplin)
Date: 06 Sep 09 - 08:57 PM

Canadians have the right to select Protestant or Catholic schools ('public and separate' in street lingo), and direct their school tax dollars accordingly.
In provinces like Alberta, in addition to the two divisions based on religion, there are many charter or private schools whose funding comes to them from provincial general revenues, as well as fees paid by parents.
Moreover, in Quebec province, French is the primary language of instruction except in select instances.

Because of these major tax-supported divisions, and language divisions, Canadians are ill-equipped to judge U. S. proposals; it also explains why (see Little Hawk post) Canadian prime ministers steer clear of "nation-wide addresses to Canadian school children."

Any efforts to improve education are important; I wish Obama well in this regard, but with such fundamental differences in systems, I feel I should reserve comment.


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Subject: RE: BS: Obama's address to school children
From: Stilly River Sage
Date: 06 Sep 09 - 09:50 PM

I'll just jump to the bottom here and suggest that George Bush has had more influence on text books than Obama. Texas has the worst policies for tampering with textbooks because of the fundamentalist idiots who keep get appointed to the board that oversees text books. And Texas buys so many that publishers subject school children around the country to the Texas standards rather than write a set for Texas and another for everyone else. This board keeps trying to change or eliminate parts of the history of Texas, the U.S. and the world. And when you look at the way they want to eviscerate science texts, well, no one does it better.

Obama's speech is welcome in our household, but I don't know if my son will hear it at school.

SRS


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Subject: RE: BS: Obama's address to school children
From: Stilly River Sage
Date: 07 Sep 09 - 02:16 AM

Speak of the devil. . .


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Subject: RE: BS: Obama's address to school children
From: Alice
Date: 07 Sep 09 - 12:15 PM

Here is the text of the President's address to students, posted today on the whitehouse.gov web site:

http://www.whitehouse.gov/MediaResources/PreparedSchoolRemarks/


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Subject: RE: BS: Obama's address to school children
From: Alice
Date: 07 Sep 09 - 12:27 PM

More on the control Texas has over how textbooks are written for all of America's public schools: CLICK HERE


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Subject: RE: BS: Obama's address to school children
From: Bobert
Date: 07 Sep 09 - 12:43 PM

I really not sure how the fringe right wing gained such a foothold of power in this country but it is very disturbing that they seem to get their way way too muvh over the rest of the country...

I know that the makeup of the Senate has alot to do with it with 3% of the population controlling 47% of the population but that isn't all of it...

I also feel that the fact that them right wing is heavily armned has something to do with it but that also isn't all of it...

All I do know is that we are rewarding bad behavior and that does not bode well for the future of our country...

B~


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Subject: RE: BS: Obama's address to school children
From: Alice
Date: 07 Sep 09 - 12:58 PM

The control Texas has on textbook contents has gone on for decades. If you eliminate critical thinking in schools, it helps to increase the audience for people like Limbaugh, O'Reilly, Hannity and Beck and voters for people like Gingrich, Cheney and Bush.


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Subject: RE: BS: Obama's address to school children
From: Amos
Date: 07 Sep 09 - 01:08 PM

This is the message the nutballs are all so upset about. Go figger!!


"Prepared Remarks of President Barack Obama
Back to School Event

Arlington, Virginia
September 8, 2009


The President: Hello everyone – how's everybody doing today? I'm here with students at Wakefield High School in Arlington, Virginia. And we've got students tuning in from all across America, kindergarten through twelfth grade. I'm glad you all could join us today.
I know that for many of you, today is the first day of school. And for those of you in kindergarten, or starting middle or high school, it's your first day in a new school, so it's understandable if you're a little nervous. I imagine there are some seniors out there who are feeling pretty good right now, with just one more year to go. And no matter what grade you're in, some of you are probably wishing it were still summer, and you could've stayed in bed just a little longer this morning.
I know that feeling. When I was young, my family lived in Indonesia for a few years, and my mother didn't have the money to send me where all the American kids went to school. So she decided to teach me extra lessons herself, Monday through Friday – at 4:30 in the morning.   
Now I wasn't too happy about getting up that early. A lot of times, I'd fall asleep right there at the kitchen table. But whenever I'd complain, my mother would just give me one of those looks and say, "This is no picnic for me either, buster."
So I know some of you are still adjusting to being back at school. But I'm here today because I have something important to discuss with you. I'm here because I want to talk with you about your education and what's expected of all of you in this new school year.
Now I've given a lot of speeches about education. And I've talked a lot about responsibility.
I've talked about your teachers' responsibility for inspiring you, and pushing you to learn.
I've talked about your parents' responsibility for making sure you stay on track, and get your homework done, and don't spend every waking hour in front of the TV or with that Xbox.
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.
But at the end of the day, we can have the most dedicated teachers, the most supportive parents, and the best schools in the world – and none of it will matter unless all of you fulfill your responsibilities. Unless you 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.
And that's what I want to focus on today: the responsibility each of you has for your education. I want to start with the responsibility you have to yourself.
Every single one of you has something you're good at. Every single one of you has something to offer. And you have a responsibility to yourself to discover what that is. That's the opportunity an education can provide.
Maybe you could be a good writer – maybe even good enough to write a book or articles in a newspaper – but you might not know it until you write a paper for your English class. Maybe you could be an innovator or an inventor – maybe even good enough to come up with the next iPhone or a new medicine or vaccine – but you might not know it until you do a project for your science class. Maybe you could be a mayor or a Senator or a Supreme Court Justice, but you might not know that until you join student government or the debate team.
And no matter what you want to do with your life – I guarantee that you'll need an education to do it. You want to be a doctor, or a teacher, or a police officer? You want to be a nurse or an architect, a lawyer or a member of our military? You're going to need a good education for every single one of those careers. You can't drop out of school and just drop into a good job. You've got to work for it and train for it and learn for it.
And this isn't just important for your own life and your own future. What you make of your education will decide nothing less than the future of this country. What you're learning in school today will determine whether we as a nation can meet our greatest challenges in the future.
You'll need the knowledge and problem-solving skills you learn in science and math to cure diseases like cancer and AIDS, and to develop new energy technologies and protect our environment. You'll need the insights and critical thinking skills you gain in history and social studies to fight poverty and homelessness, crime and discrimination, and make our nation more fair and more free. You'll need the creativity and ingenuity you develop in all your classes to build new companies that will create new jobs and boost our economy.
We need every single one of you to develop your talents, skills and intellect so you can help solve our most difficult problems. If you don't do that – if you quit on school – you're not just quitting on yourself, you're quitting on your country.
Now I know it's not always easy to do well in school. I know a lot of you have challenges in your lives right now that can make it hard to focus on your schoolwork.
I get it. I know what that's like. My father left my family when I was two years old, and I was raised by a single mother who struggled at times to pay the bills and wasn't always able to give us things the other kids had. There were times when I missed having a father in my life. There were times when I was lonely and felt like I didn't fit in.
So I wasn't always as focused as I should have been. I did some things I'm not proud of, and got in more trouble than I should have. And my life could have easily taken a turn for the worse.
But I was fortunate. I got a lot of second chances and had the opportunity to go to college, and law school, and follow my dreams. My wife, our First Lady Michelle Obama, has a similar story. Neither of her parents had gone to college, and they didn't have much. But they worked hard, and she worked hard, so that she could go to the best schools in this country.
Some of you might not have those advantages. Maybe you don't have adults in your life who give you the support that you need. Maybe someone in your family has lost their job, and there's not enough money to go around. Maybe you live in a neighborhood where you don't feel safe, or have friends who are pressuring you to do things you know aren't right.
But at the end of the day, the circumstances of your life – what you look like, where you come from, how much money you have, what you've got going on at home – that's no excuse for neglecting your homework or having a bad attitude. That's no excuse for talking back to your teacher, or cutting class, or dropping out of school. That's no excuse for not trying.
Where you are right now doesn't have to determine where you'll end up. No one's written your destiny for you. Here in America, you write your own destiny. You make your own future.
That's what young people like you are doing every day, all across America.
Young people like Jazmin Perez, from Roma, Texas. Jazmin didn't speak English when she first started school. Hardly anyone in her hometown went to college, and neither of her parents had gone either. But she worked hard, earned good grades, got a scholarship to Brown University, and is now in graduate school, studying public health, on her way to being Dr. Jazmin Perez.
I'm thinking about Andoni Schultz, from Los Altos, California, who's fought brain cancer since he was three. He's endured all sorts of treatments and surgeries, one of which affected his memory, so it took him much longer – hundreds of extra hours – to do his schoolwork. But he never fell behind, and he's headed to college this fall.
And then there's Shantell Steve, from my hometown of Chicago, Illinois. Even when bouncing from foster home to foster home in the toughest neighborhoods, she managed to get a job at a local health center; start a program to keep young people out of gangs; and she's on track to graduate high school with honors and go on to college.
Jazmin, Andoni and Shantell aren't any different from any of you. They faced challenges in their lives just like you do. But they refused to give up. They chose to take responsibility for their education and set goals for themselves. And I expect all of you to do the same.
That's why 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.
I know that sometimes, you get the sense from TV that you can be rich and successful without any hard work -- that your ticket to success is through rapping or basketball or being a reality TV star, when chances are, you're not going to be any of those things.
But the truth is, being successful is hard. You won't love every subject you study. You won't click with every teacher. Not every homework assignment will seem completely relevant to your life right this minute. And you won't necessarily succeed at everything the first time you try.
That's OK. Some of the most successful people in the world are the ones who've had the most failures. JK Rowling's first Harry Potter book was rejected twelve times before it was finally published. Michael Jordan was cut from his high school basketball team, and he lost hundreds of games and missed thousands of shots during his career. But he once said, "I have failed over and over and over again in my life. And that is why I succeed."
These people succeeded because they understand that you can't let your failures define you – you have to let them teach you. You have to let them show you what to do differently next time. If you get in trouble, that doesn't mean you're a troublemaker, it means you need to try harder to behave. If you get a bad grade, that doesn't mean you're stupid, it just means you need to spend more time studying.
No one's born being good at things, you become good at things through hard work. You're not a varsity athlete the first time you play a new sport. You don't hit every note the first time you sing a song. You've got to practice. It's the same with your schoolwork. You might have to do a math problem a few times before you get it right, or read something a few times before you understand it, or do a few drafts of a paper before it's good enough to hand in.
Don't be afraid to ask questions. Don't be afraid to ask for help when you need it. I do that every day. Asking for help isn't a sign of weakness, it's a sign of strength. It shows you have the courage to admit when you don't know something, and to learn something new. So find an adult you trust – a parent, grandparent or teacher; a coach or counselor – and ask them to help you stay on track to meet your goals.
And even when you're struggling, even when you're discouraged, and you feel like other people have given up on you – don't ever give up on yourself. Because when you give up on yourself, you give up on your country.
The story of America isn't about people who quit when things got tough. It's about people who kept going, who tried harder, who loved their country too much to do anything less than their best.
It's the story of students who sat where you sit 250 years ago, and went on to wage a revolution and found this nation. Students who sat where you sit 75 years ago who overcame a Depression and won a world war; who fought for civil rights and put a man on the moon. Students who sat where you sit 20 years ago who founded Google, Twitter and Facebook and changed the way we communicate with each other.
So today, I want to ask you, what's your contribution going to be? What problems are you going to solve? What discoveries will you make? What will a president who comes here in twenty or fifty or one hundred years say about what all of you did for this country?
Your families, your teachers, and I are doing everything we can to make sure you have the education you need to answer these questions. I'm working hard to fix up your classrooms and get you the books, equipment and computers you need to learn. But you've got to do your part too. So I expect you to get serious this year. I expect you to put your best effort into everything you do. I expect great things from each of you. So don't let us down – don't let your family or your country or yourself down. Make us all proud. I know you can do it.
Thank you, God bless you, and God bless America."


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Subject: RE: BS: Obama's address to school children
From: Alice
Date: 07 Sep 09 - 01:12 PM

I posted a link to it, Amos, less than an hour ago.


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Subject: RE: BS: Obama's address to school children
From: Q (Frank Staplin)
Date: 07 Sep 09 - 01:25 PM

Thanks for putting it here, Amos. It IS the subject of this thread. A very good address.


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Subject: RE: BS: Obama's address to school children
From: SharonA
Date: 07 Sep 09 - 02:03 PM

Now I see what the hard Right is all upset about: that speech is WAYYYY too long for their attention span! If it doesn't fit into a 10-second platitude (15 seconds tops), they can't focus on it.

:-)

(Actually, I have to wonder how many kids will pay attention through that whole thing. It's a bit heady for the younger ones.)


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Subject: RE: BS: Obama's address to school children
From: Amos
Date: 07 Sep 09 - 02:20 PM

Alice:

Apologies--I did not mean to slight your post, but I wanted to preserve the copy.


A


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