President Obama will deliver a speech to students on Sept. 8 at noon (Eastern). He “will challenge students to work hard, set education goals, and take responsibility for their learning,” says the Education Department.
The advice to teachers from the White House Teaching Ambassador Fellows is raising hackles. Before the speech, they’re urged to prep students by asking them:
Why is it important to listen to the president and other elected officials like the mayor, senators, members of Congress or the governor? Why is what they say important?
Too respectful of authority, write Green and Loesch.
After the speech, suggestions include discussing “main ideas from the speech, i.e. citizenship, personal responsibility, civic duty.” That doesn’t seem sinister. But there’s also:
• Students could discuss their responses to the following questions:
What do you think the President wants us to do?
Does the speech make you want to do anything?
Are we able to do what President Obama is asking of us?
I think the president is going to ask kids to work hard in school and teachers will try to get them to pledge to work hard in school and most of them will work just as hard this year as they did last year. (The law of inertia is the supreme law of the universe.) If parents think their kids are being turned into Obama Youth, they can tell them at home not to trust politicians.
Update: Rick Hess thinks the president’s remarks probably will be innocuous, but he warns of hubris. The president isn’t superintendent-in-chief.
Students will be urged to take personal responsibility for their education, Arne Duncan tells Ed Week’s Michele McNeil.