Jim Geraghty has before and after screen shots of the memo helpfully prepared by the Department of Education to aid teachers and students in getting the most from President Obama’s in-classroom video address next week.
Comparing and contrasting the two versions, Jim writes:
It appears there are two versions of the preparatory materials for the president’s address to schoolchildren floating around, one with language urging teachers to have students write letters to themselves about how they can help the president, and a second changing that to letters to themselves about achieving their short and long-term education goals.
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It looks like somebody at the Department of Education woke up, smelled the coffee, and realized they would have a lot of angry parents on their hands if homework assignments included requirements to pledge to help the Obama administration. In light of this, I expect the president’s remarks will be pretty uncontroversial. But this legitimizes quite a bit of conservatives’ skepticism and wariness, because it means some folks in the Department of Education didn’t realize what an atrocious and inappropriate idea it was.
What could go wrong? Besides the obvious comparisons (just imagine how Naomi Wolf and the rest of the HuffPoers would be blowing gaskets if such a classroom video appearance by the president was was happening prior to this past November), as Steve Green writes:
Yes, the speech itself will almost certainly be harmless. I don’t expect anyone’s kids to be coming home and berating their parents for being against this program or that agenda. I do expect Allah has it quite right, that this speech will be just another Daddy Speech, meant to encourage my son to work hard in school.
But you know what? The President of the United States — whether an Obama a Bush or a Lincoln — is not my son’s daddy. That’s my job. We’ve had enough nannystatism, and enough daddystatism, too.
The other thing I object to is a big portion (an entire portion?) of a school day being devoted to the President and His Works and Admonishments, for no reason other than he seems to think it should be. There’s no national emergency, this isn’t an inauguration or a joint address to Congress. It’s the President deciding, for reasons entirely his own, to take over the public school system for twenty minutes or an hour or a day.
And, yes, I object to that.
Can’t say I blame him.