Socialist values: Work hard, stay in school

obama official photoThe crazies are out again, urging parents: “No school for kids on September 8th due to the beginning of Socialist Indoctrination of Americas children. Keep your kids home September 8th.”

Socialist indoctrination? Yes – President Obama’s spokesperson says he will deliver a speech “entirely about encouraging kids to work hard and stay in school.” Sure sounds socialist to me.

Some Republicans have joined the chorus. The Washington Post reports:

Jim Greer, chairman of the Florida Republican Party, said the speech is an effort to “spread President Obama’s socialist ideology” and “justify his positions” on health care, the economy and taxes. Conservative columnist Michelle Malkin claimed that “the left has always used kids in public schools as guinea pigs and as junior lobbyists for their social liberal agenda.”

According to the Pioneer Press, “Michael Brodkorb, deputy chair of the Minnesota Republican Party, said, ‘I think there’s reason to be concerned’ about what the message is going to be.”

What the wingnuts have forgotten is that President George H.W. Bush gave at least two presidential speeches to school children across the country. The first, in 1989, reported the New York Times warned against the dangers of drugs:

In a 15-minute nationally televised plea from the White House library, the President presented the latest round of an anti-drug campaign that began a week ago with another nationally broadcast message announcing a $7.9 billion package. …

At least 15,000 superintendents and 55,000 principals were notified by the Education Department of the speech today, and many schools held assemblies or brought television sets into classrooms so students could watch Mr. Bush.

The Daily Kos reports that the second Bush address to school kids, in 1991, urged kids to “Give yourself a decent shot at your dreams. Stay in school. Get that diploma,” and to eschew drugs, guns and violence. Bush also pushed his administration’s education program:

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.

No matter that President Obama’s speech will likely sound a lot like the pep talks of presidents past. Loudon County and Charles County, VA say their students will not hear it.

In Minnesota, reports the Minnesota Independent, Becker and Fergus Falls students might here a tape-delayed speech, allowing parents to opt out of allowing students to hear the nation’s leader, just as some schools allow parents to opt out of (equally dangerous) sex ed classes. The Pioneer Press reports that schools in the North St. Paul-Maplewood-Oakdale district have been told they may not show the speech, and that Inver Grove Heights district told schools they may only show the speech if parents are notified first. The North St. Paul-Maplewood-Oakdale district said that scheduling and technology were obstacles and that the decision was not political. That explanation seems a little far-fetched, since the district would not need to order all schools not to show the speech in order to accommodate logistical concerns, but could let them decide on their own. The Rosemount-Apple Valley-Eagan district told principals not to change school schedules to show the speech, but teachers are allowed to show the speech during their classes, if they so choose.

The White House said they will release the text of the speech on Monday, so parents can read it ahead of time. Not that what the president actually says is likely to make any difference to the crowd that sees a commie under every bed.

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