In 1991, President George H. W. Bush broadcast a speech from a D.C. junior high, reports NewsBusters. Democratic Rep. Dick Gephardt, then House majority leader, complained it was “paid political advertising” improperly funded by the Department of Education. I believe the elder Bush came out for kids getting a good education.
Via Jim Miller.
A number of school districts have announced they won’t air President Obama’s speech live. Some have explained to parents how to watch with their kids at home. I’ll be interested to see what percentage of schools carry the speech live. Not that high, I’d bet — for logistical reasons as well as flak-avoidance reasons.
Update: Jim Lindgren at Volokh has more on the coverage of the 1991 speech, which was carried live on CNN, PBS, and Mutual radio.
The Secretary of Education sent a letter urging schools to have their students watch, but I didn’t find any evidence of how many schools followed that recommendation. And most striking: Bush laid out goals — to increase the graduation rate, improve student competency and better prepare students for entering school — and said, “Let me know how you’re doing. Write me a letter. I’m serious about this one. Write me a letter about ways you can help us achieve our goals.”
Of course, there was no fear of a George H.W. Bush personality cult.