School speech backlash builds

School speech backlash builds
By: Nia-Malika Henderson
September 3, 2009 07:35 PM EST

School districts from Maryland to Texas are fielding angry complaints from parents opposed to President Barack Obama’s back-to-school address Tuesday – forcing districts to find ways to shield students from the speech as conservative opposition to Obama spills into the nation’s classrooms.

The White House says Obama’s address is a sort of pep talk for the nation’s schoolchildren. But conservative commentators have criticized Obama for trying to “indoctrinate” students to his liberal beliefs, and some parents call it an improper mix of politics and education.

“The gist is, ‘I want to see what the president has to say before you expose it to my child.’ Another said, ‘This is Marxist propaganda.’ They are very hostile,” said Patricia O’Neill, a Democrat who is vice president of the Montgomery County School Board, in a district that borders Washington, D.C. “I think it’s disturbing that people don’t want to hear the president, but we live in a diverse society.”

The White House moved Thursday to quell the controversy. First it revised an Education Department lesson plan that drew the ire of conservatives because it called for students to write letters about how they can help the president.

Then Obama aides said they would release the text of Obama’s address on Monday, a day before his speech is to be beamed into the classrooms – an apparent attempt to show skeptical parents ahead of time what he plans to say.

Obama’s speech to students was first announced late last month but criticism grew this week, as conservative commentators including Glenn Beck and Michelle Malkin said Obama was trying to improperly influence the students. Beck even urged parents to take their children out of school on Tuesday to protest Obama’s speech.

The forum – a presidential address to students, where Obama plans to encourage them to take responsibility for education and do their best – might seem an unlikely forum for conservatives to make a stand. But some of the commentators said it was improper for Obama to insert himself so visibly into a classroom setting.

And it shows that the conservative anger with Obama and his policies is moving beyond the congressional town halls in August, where many members of Congress were loudly criticized by conservatives opposed to Obama’s health care policies.

Republican strategist Rich Galen said he didn’t have a problem with Obama reaching out to school children because “he is everybody’s president. But you have to be very careful that it is not seen as literally propaganda. The original idea to have them write letters about how to help the president crossed the line and the White House realized that.” 

But Democratic strategist Chris Lehane said the protest against the presidential speech “shows at some level how desperate the right is to find an issue to challenge Obama on…They have gotten some traction on health care, but the mere fact that they have jumped on this reflects that this is a party without a voice. Are they going to run in the mid-terms on a ‘Presidents shouldn’t talk to kids’ platform?”

 

The address has left districts in the awkward spot of deciding how to handle the speech. Six districts contacted by POLITICO all said they would leave it to local school superintendents, principals and teachers whether to show the speech – but all said they would provide alternative activities for students whose parents didn’t want them to see the broadcast.

In many ways, it wasn’t simply the address that rankled conservatives, but a pair of proposed lesson plans, for young students and middle- to high-schoolers. The initial classroom activities made available on the Education Department’s website were characterized by Malkin as having an “activist bent.”

The White House altered the language of one suggested activity, which initially read, “Write letters to themselves about what they can do to help the president.”

That was changed to: “”Write letters to themselves about how they can achieve their short-term and long-term education goals.”

“Parents who called me who voiced concern about the speech all mentioned the teaching material and particular activities that were suggested,” said Charles Pyle, spokesman for the Virginia Department of Education. One district in Virginia, in Loudoun County, said Thursday it wouldn’t show the speech at all.

“We had a few calls in our office and concerns from parents who didn’t feel it was appropriate for students to participate in a political activity. They wanted to make sure that if it is shown, it is an educational discussion and in no way a discussion about politics,” said Michael Vaughn, spokesman for Denver Public Schools. “We never second-guess our parents if they have concerns about classroom materials.”

A letter from the Denver schools Chief Academic Officer, Ana Tilton, posted Thursday on district’s website, reminds principals that “if there are parents who still don’t want their child to listen to the president’s speech, please have an alternate activity available.”

Secretary of Education Arne Duncan last month sent out a note to principals announcing the president’s address as a “historic speech” where Obama “will challenge students to work hard, set educational goals, and take responsibility for their learning.”

Obama isn’t the first president to be criticized this way. O’Neill recalled President George H. W. Bush made televised address to students in October 1991 as campaign season was heating up. A handful of Democrats denounced Bush’s address as pure politics. Bush asked students to “take control” of their education and to write him a letter about ways students could help him achieve his goals, strikingly similar to Obama’s messages.

“I never dreamed I would see an administration try to disavow all the things that have made this country different from all others”

Inhofe blasts Obama at Grove town hall

by: RANDY KREHBIEL World Staff Writer
Wednesday, September 02, 2009
9/2/2009 10:14:23 PM

GROVE — Right-thinking Americans can only hope the country will survive the next 16 months of the Obama administration until Republicans can regain control of Congress, U.S. Sen. Jim Inhofe said Wednesday.

“I never dreamed I would see an administration try to disavow all the things that have made this country different from all others,” Inhofe told more than 300 people at a town hall meeting in the Grove Community Center.

“I have never seen so many things happening at one time so disheartening to America.” Inhofe found a highly receptive audience. Many wore T-shirts of a local organization called Get America Back. Its Web site promises “a plan to eliminate the socialist government and return Americas (sic) freedoms.”

The “plan” is a link to a YouTube video by Lloyd Marcus, a Florida artist and singer making the circuit of anti-Obama “Tea Party” rallies.

Wednesday’s audience was similar to those at town hall meetings throughout northeastern Oklahoma in recent weeks. Concerns centered on the administration and Democratic-controlled Congress.

Inhofe gave his constituents plenty to worry about.

“Every institution that has made this country the greatest nation in the world is under attack,” he said at the end of the 75-minute session.

During those 75 minutes, Inhofe said President Barack Obama is disarming the military, is destroying everything good about America and is determined to turn foreign terrorists loose on U.S. soil.

The good news, he said, is that he does not think the Democratic leadership can push through health-care reform or the more controversial parts of its energy bill.

He also said he continues to be proven correct in his claim that global climate change is a hoax.

“More and more, with each month that goes by, more scientists agree with me,” he said. “We are winning.”

Inhofe opened by saying the noisy debate over health care has caused Americans to overlook other important issues, including climate change and energy policy.

He is also alarmed, he said, by the proposed closing of the detention camp at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba. The Obama administration wants to shutter the camp because of its association with torture.

Inhofe said: “There has never been a case of torture there. The people there are treated better than in the federal prisons.”

He continued, “I don’t know why President Obama is obsessed with turning terrorists loose in America.”

The administration says it wants to bring 60 to 80 prisoners to the U.S. for trial. Some Republicans have said those acquitted could be released in the U.S., but authorities say they would be deported as foreign nationals.

Inhofe’s third concern, he said, is that “Barack Obama is disarming America.” He conceded that Obama requested more military spending, but he criticized the elimination of several weapons systems, including the F-22 fighter.

Obama, at the urging of Defense Secretary Robert Gates, also scrapped one of Inhofe’s pet projects, a cannon that was to be assembled at Elgin in southwestern Oklahoma.

Gates, a holdover from the Bush administration, advocated abandoning high-tech systems such as the cannon and the F-22 for cheaper, more reliable weapons.

“Those of you who think like I do,” Inhofe said, “hope this country can hang on another 16 months.”

 

ObamaCare Supporter Bites Off Finger Of Protester…

Healthcare-reform opponent says bit-off finger could

 not be re-attached

By Adam Foxman
Originally published 09:54 a.m., September 3, 2009
Updated 01:35 p.m., September 3, 2009

Courtesy photo / Ventura County Sheriff's Department -- This image provided by the Ventura County Sheriff's Department shows the beginning of an altercation between William Rice, at right in the khaki shirt and olive shorts, and an unidentified man wearing black, who authorities say bit off Rice's little finger. The sheriff's department is seeking the public's help in identifying the man in black at far right, by calling the investigations bureau at (805)494-8201.Courtesy photo / Ventura County Sheriff’s Department — This image provided by the Ventura County Sheriff’s Department shows the beginning of an altercation between William Rice, at right in the khaki shirt and olive shorts, and an unidentified man wearing black, who authorities say bit off Rice’s little finger. The sheriff’s department is seeking the public’s help in identifying the man in black at far right, by calling the investigations bureau at (805)494-8201.

A healthcare-reform opponent whose finger was partially bitten off Wednesday during a Thousand Oaks rally said today that doctors could not re-attach the severed section.

William Rice, 65, of Newbury Park also confirmed reports that he threw the first punch in the confrontation that claimed part of his left pinky.

“When he got in my personal space, I popped him in the nose,” Rice said. “I felt like I had no choice other than to defend myself.”

The incident was reported at 7:26 p.m. Wednesday at Lynn Road and Hillcrest Drive, where more than 100 people gathered for a pro-healthcare reform vigil organized by Moveon.org.

About 15 people opposed to President Barack Obama’s proposed healthcare reform stood across the street from Moveon.org’s group. Members of Code Pink: Women for Peace also were there, authorities said.

The finger-biting incident occurred after Rice became involved in a heated discussion with a member of Code Pink, sheriff’s Capt. Ross Bonfiglio said.

After the argument, Rice returned to where his own group was standing. A man from Moveon.org’s area then walked over to the opponents and verbally confronted Rice, allegedly calling him names and acting aggressively, Bonfiglio said.

Rice later told investigators he felt threatened by the man and punched him in the nose, Bonfiglio said. The punch set off a fist fight between the two men, during which the tip of Rice’s left pinky finger was bitten off, Bonfiglio said.

Rice drove himself to Los Robles Hospital and Medical Center in Thousand Oaks. Another man found the bitten-off portion of the finger and brought it to Rice at the hospital, Bonfiglio said.

Doctors were not able to re-attach Rice’s finger.

Doctors told Rice the finger, severed near the second knuckle, would not survive because it had been cut by a human bite, he said in a phone interview today.

Rice said he did not initially plan to participate in any demonstration Wednesday. He was driving by the vigil when he spotted Code Pink members, and he stopped to see if they were protesting the military, he said. Rice has a son who is an officer in the Marine Corps.

After a brief conversation with Code Pink members, Rice said, he was satisfied they were not protesting the military. He was leaving when a man who seemed “deranged” approached and called him an “idiot,” he said.

Rice said he felt like the man had singled him out because he was the “easiest target.” But the incident happened quickly, he said, and he doesn’t clearly remember everything that preceded the altercation.

Scott Bush, 43, of Thousand Oaks said he was standing with Rice in the group opposed to healthcare reform when a man walked from the Moveon.org group across the street and over a traffic island toward them.

Bush said the man asked the group if they were for a public health insurer option, and they responded “no.” The man then singled out Rice and asked him why, according to Bush. When Rice responded that he didn’t want the government involved in anything, the man came to within 3 feet of Rice and yelled, “You’re an idiot,” Bush said.

Bush said Rice then hit the man in a defensive move. The man then pulled Rice into the street, according to Bush.

After a fight that lasted only a few seconds, Bush said, he heard Rice say, “He bit my finger off,” and he saw a stump.

Bush said he later found the roughly 1-inch piece of Rice’s finger next to the traffic island about 20 feet away.

The suspect fled the scene, authorities said. He was described as a short man with a medium build, wearing a blue cap, black shirt and black shorts. He remained at large this morning.

While who threw the first punch is not in dispute, much about what happened before and after remained unclear today, sheriff’s Detective Eric Buschow said.

Investigators had not determined, for example, if the man intended to bite off Rice’s finger, Buschow said.

Authorities did not consider the man a criminal suspect this morning and were not looking to arrest him, said the detective.

“We want him to come forward so we can talk to him. We want to hear his side,” Buschow said.

Anyone with information about the incident can call Crime Stoppers at 800-222-TIPS.

Obama speech to students draws conservative ire

Obama speech to students draws conservative ire

By LIBBY QUAID and LINDA STEWART BALL (AP) – 1 hour agoDALLAS — President Barack Obama’s back-to-school address next week was supposed to be a feel-good story for an administration battered over its health care agenda. Now Republican critics are calling it an effort to foist a political agenda on children, creating yet another confrontation with the White House.

Obama plans to speak directly to students Tuesday about the need to work hard and stay in school. His address will be shown live on the White House Web site and on C-SPAN at noon EDT, a time when classrooms across the country will be able to tune in.

Schools don’t have to show it. But districts across the country have been inundated with phone calls from parents and are struggling to address the controversy that broke out after Education Secretary Arne Duncan sent a letter to principals urging schools to watch.

Districts in states including Texas, Illinois, Minnesota, Missouri, Virginia, Wisconsin have decided not to show the speech to students. Others are still thinking it over or are letting parents have their kids opt out.

Some conservatives, driven by radio pundits and bloggers, are urging schools and parents to boycott the address. They say Obama is using the opportunity to promote a political agenda and is overstepping the boundaries of federal involvement in schools.

“As far as I am concerned, this is not civics education — it gives the appearance of creating a cult of personality,” said Oklahoma state Sen. Steve Russell. “This is something you’d expect to see in North Korea or in Saddam Hussein’s Iraq.”

Arizona state schools superintendent Tom Horne, a Republican, said lesson plans for teachers created by Obama’s Education Department “call for a worshipful rather than critical approach.”

The White House plans to release the speech online Monday so parents can read it. He will deliver the speech at Wakefield High School in Arlington, Va.

“I think it’s really unfortunate that politics has been brought into this,” White House deputy policy director Heather Higginbottom said in an interview with The Associated Press.

“It’s simply a plea to students to really take their learning seriously. Find out what they’re good at. Set goals. And take the school year seriously.”

She noted that President George H.W. Bush made a similar address to schools in 1991. Like Obama, Bush drew criticism, with Democrats accusing the Republican president of making the event into a campaign commercial.

Critics are particularly upset about lesson plans the administration created to accompany the speech. The lesson plans, available online, originally recommended having students “write letters to themselves about what they can do to help the president.”

The White House revised the plans Wednesday to say students could “write letters to themselves about how they can achieve their short-term and long-term education goals.”

“That was inartfully worded, and we corrected it,” Higginbottom said.

In the Dallas suburb of Plano, Texas, the 54,000-student school district is not showing the 15- to 20-minute address but will make the video available later.

PTA council president Cara Mendelsohn said Obama is “cutting out the parent” by speaking to kids during school hours.

“Why can’t a parent be watching this with their kid in the evening?” Mendelsohn said. “Because that’s what makes a powerful statement, when a parent is sitting there saying, ‘This is what I dream for you. This is what I want you to achieve.'”

Texas Gov. Rick Perry, a Republican, said in an interview with the AP that he’s “certainly not going to advise anybody not to send their kids to school that day.”

“Hearing the president speak is always a memorable moment,” he said.

But he also said he understood where the criticism was coming from.

“Nobody seems to know what he’s going to be talking about,” Perry said. “Why didn’t he spend more time talking to the local districts and superintendents, at least give them a heads-up about it?”

Several other Texas districts have decided not to show the speech, although the district in Houston is leaving the decision up to individual school principals. In suburban Houston, the Cypress-Fairbanks district planned to show the address and has had its social studies teachers assemble a curriculum and activities for students.

“If someone objected, we would not force them to listen to the speech,” spokeswoman Kelli Durham said.

In Wisconsin, the Green Bay school district decided not to show the speech live and to let teachers decide individually whether to show it later.

In Florida, GOP chairman Jim Greer released a statement that he was “absolutely appalled that taxpayer dollars are being used to spread President Obama’s socialist ideology.”

Despite his rhetoric, two of the larger Florida districts, Miami-Dade and Hillsborough, plan to have classes watch the speech. Students whose parents object will not have to watch.

“We’re extending the same courtesy to the president as we do with any elected official that wants to enter our schools,” said Linda Cobbe, a Hillsborough schools spokeswoman. Cobbe said the district, which includes Tampa, has gotten calls from upset parents but said officials don’t think the White House is trying to force politics on kids.

The Minnesota Association of School Administrators is recommending against disrupting the first day of school to show the speech, but Minnesota’s biggest teachers’ union is urging schools to show it.

Quincy, Ill., schools decided Thursday not to show the speech. Superintendent Lonny Lemon said phone calls “hit like a load of bricks” on Wednesday.

One Idaho school superintendent, Murray Dalgleish of Council, urged people not to rush to judgment.

“Is the president dictating to these kids? I don’t think so,” Dalgleish said. “He’s trying to get out the same message we’re trying to get out, which is, `You are in charge of your education.'”

Libby Quaid reported from Washington. Associated Press Writers April Castro, Monica Rhor, Zinie Chen Sampson, Christine Armario, Jessie Bonner, Scott Bauer, Tim Talley, Martiga Lohn, Tammy Webber and Alan Zagier contributed to this report.

The Joker Retreats From Indoctrination Attempt

The Joker Retreats From Indoctrination Attempt

September 2nd, 2009 Posted By Greywolfe.

obama_worlds_communist

From The Washington Times.

President Obama’s plan to inspire the nation’s schoolchildren with a video address next week erupted into controversy Wednesday, forcing the White House to pull out its eraser and rewrite a government recommendation that teachers nationwide assign students a paper on how to “help the president.”

Presidential aides acknowledged the White House helped the U.S. Education Department craft the proposal, which immediately was met by fierce criticism from Republicans and conservative organizations who accused Mr. Obama of trying to politicize the education system.

White House aides said the language was an honest misunderstanding in what was supposed to be a inspirational, pro-education message to America’s youths.

Among the activities the government initially suggested for prekindergarten to sixth-grade students: that they ” write letters to themselves about what they can do to help the president.”

Another task recommended for students immediately after listening to the speech: to engage in a discussion about what “the president wants us to do.”

The novel curriculum plan brought sharp criticism from conservatives, including some who complained that classrooms were being used to spread political propaganda.

In response, the White House last night confirmed they were revising the lesson plan that was distributed last week by the U.S. Department of Education.

“We’re clarifying that language,” White House spokesman Tommy Vietor said.

By Wednesday evening, the sentence asking children to think about how they can “help the president” had been replaced.

September 2nd, 2009 Posted By Greywolfe.

obama_worlds_communist

From The Washington Times.

President Obama’s plan to inspire the nation’s schoolchildren with a video address next week erupted into controversy Wednesday, forcing the White House to pull out its eraser and rewrite a government recommendation that teachers nationwide assign students a paper on how to “help the president.”

Presidential aides acknowledged the White House helped the U.S. Education Department craft the proposal, which immediately was met by fierce criticism from Republicans and conservative organizations who accused Mr. Obama of trying to politicize the education system.

White House aides said the language was an honest misunderstanding in what was supposed to be a inspirational, pro-education message to America’s youths.

Among the activities the government initially suggested for prekindergarten to sixth-grade students: that they ” write letters to themselves about what they can do to help the president.”

Another task recommended for students immediately after listening to the speech: to engage in a discussion about what “the president wants us to do.”

The novel curriculum plan brought sharp criticism from conservatives, including some who complained that classrooms were being used to spread political propaganda.

In response, the White House last night confirmed they were revising the lesson plan that was distributed last week by the U.S. Department of Education.

“We’re clarifying that language,” White House spokesman Tommy Vietor said.

By Wednesday evening, the sentence asking children to think about how they can “help the president” had been replaced.

“I pledge to be of service to Barack Obama”

Michelle Malkin 

“I pledge to be of service to Barack Obama”

By Michelle Malkin  •  September 2, 2009 01:05 PM

As if I needed any more evidence to bolster today’s column about the Obama junior lobbyist campaign in America’s schools, here’s another item fresh from the headlines in Utah:

A school principal has apologized for showing a video at an assembly that a politically conservative group leader is calling “radical, leftist propaganda.”

Children at Eagle Bay Elementary School in Farmington were shown a short video called “I pledge” on Aug. 28. The video opens with an image of President Barack Obama and part of a speech in which he says, “Let us summon a new spirit of patriotism, of responsibility where each of us resolves to pitch in and work harder and look after not only ourselves but each other.” The video then features celebrities making pledges about how they will help the president and the world — and that’s where some say the problem lies…

… Gayle Ruzicka, president of conservative Utah Eagle Forum, said the video was blatantly political. She said other offensive pledges included, “I pledge to be of service to Barack Obama,” “I pledge allegiance to the funk, to the united funk of funkadelica,” and pledges to not use plastic grocery bags and not flush the toilet after urinating.

“It’s very inappropriate to show a radical, leftist propaganda piece that political to children,” Ruzicka said. “If parents want their children to learn about those things and do them in the home, wonderful, fine, but it’s not the place of the school to show a one-sided propaganda piece to children without parents knowing about it.”

Cieslewicz said such values should be decided in the home, not at school.

Coming to a classroom assembly near you… watch video

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wqcPA1ysSbw&eurl=http%3A%2F%2Fmichellemalkin%2Ecom%2F2009%2F09%2F02%2Fi%2Dpledge%2Dto%2Dbe%2Dof%2Dservice%2Dto%2Dbarack%2Dobama%2F&feature=player_embedded

Whitewashing the Obama education speech guides

Whitewashing the Obama education speech guides

By Michelle Malkin  •  September 2, 2009 08:40 PM

Well, well, well.

The White House has re-written its activist talking points for teachers/administrators disseminated by the US Department of Education and removed the language about “helping the president.”

Whitewashing: It’s the Obama way.

What they can’t whitewash is the radicalism of many of the White House Teaching Fellows responsible for drafting the material — or the radicalism of the educational mentors with whom Obama served, starting with Chicago Annenberg Challenge/Woods Fund/neighbor Bill “education is the motor-force of revolution” Ayers.

You can take Obama out of Chicago. But you can’t take the Chicago out of Obama.

White House Withdraws Call for Students to ‘Help’ Obama

White House Withdraws Call for Students to ‘Help’ Obama

Obama’s plan to inspire the nation’s schoolchildren with a video address next week erupted into controversy.

 

The Obama administration is rethinking its course recommendations for students ahead of President Obama’s address to the the nation’s schoolchildren next week, rewriting its suggestions to teachers for student assignments on how to “help the president,” 

The Washington Times reported Thursday that presidential aides acknowledged they helped the U.S. Education Department write the suggested assignments, which stirred criticism by many who say Obama is trying to indoctrinate the education system.

White House aides said the language was supposed to be a inspirational, pro-education message to America’s youths, but its unintended consequences were evident.

Among the activities initially suggested for pre-K to 6th grade students was to “write letters to themselves about what they can do to help the president.”

Another assignment for students after hearing the speech was to discuss what “the president wants us to do.”

Click here to continue reading at the Washington Times