The fervor over Barack Obama's address to our children on Wednesday has reach a fever pitch that honestly, I just don't get. There are those who say that the President is mixing politics and his office by giving this speech to take some of the heat off the lousy job he's done with the healthcare reform issue.
My answer to that is, well, what president hasn't viewed this "back to school speech to kids" as a political opportunity? Hell, name a speech any politican gives that's not politically motivated to some degree or another.
No, the speech isn't the problem, at least on its face. The problem is the White House trying to control the method by which the educational community discusses...or not...the speech with the kids. If they had just left well enough alone, the speech would have been given and things would have moved on without much notice.
I actually read the speech, and it's fine to me. Work hard, don't give up, ask questions, education is important, this is the kind of advice the speech contains. Not much different than what my parents would drum into my siblings and me..all-the-time. Thank goodness they did! Now I do the same to my kids.
But the White House didn't leave it alone. So now, a relatively simple "do your best in school" kind of address, has morphed into a real or perceived "future voters for Obama" registration drive. Just like the lack of guidance has helped denigrate the healthcare debate into the debacle that it has become, this over controlling, "let's structure how educators discuss the president's speech" thing is not good judgement either.
I think our educators, for better or worse, do fine by themselves influencing our children by shaping political thought within their respective classrooms without White House intervention. Teacher influence on our kids - now that is an issue for a future blog posting.
Let the President give his speech so we can get back to the business of healthcare, the economy and Van Jones. Oh, my mistake, cross Jones off the list.