Obama's Controversial Speech to Students

September 4, 2009 9:04:49 PM PDT
During Tuesday's speech, President Obama is expected to challenge students to work hard so they can succeed. Past presidents like Ronald Reagan, George W. Bush and George Bush Senior delivered similar speeches.But some parents are pulling their children out of class fearing the president will be pushing his agenda instead of motivating students.

Students and educators at ACEL Charter School in Fresno are excited about watching President Obama's back to school message Tuesday that will ask them to plan their future and list their goals.

ACEL Principal Dave Childers said, "It's not very often that students are going to get an opportunity to have a sitting president speaking directly to them on issues that relate to them."

But every student will not have that chance. Some schools across the country are refusing to air the speech.

Student Charles Rocha said, "It's the president, I mean come on. I didn't support Obama but I'm going to listen to him because he's my president."

Fresno's Democratic Party chair says Obama's conservative critics are trying to politicize the speech.

Fresno Democratic Party Chair Gary Alford said, "To say that because he wants to speak to children he's running some kind of Nazi youth camp or some kind of communist brain washing scheme I mean give me a break."

Stuart Weil a spokesman for the Fresno Republican Party says there is a lot of mistrust and fear about the president's agenda.

Weil said, "There are so many things going on in the country, healthcare cap and trade ? why is he doing that now?"

Fresno Unified Officials say they've gotten a wide range of calls from parents who don't want their children to participate to parents who want to come to their child's school to watch.

Mateo Macias said, "I think they will see there is a president in my opinion that cares about students and them getting involved."

At Fresno Unified individual schools and parents make the call on who will view the speech. Central Unified will review the speech on Monday and then decide on whether to show it. Clovis Unified will let principals decide based on their curriculums.

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