Obama Education Speech to Children

September 7, 2009 6:22:27 PM PDT
Critics fear the President is using the back to school address to push his agenda or as some put it, "brainwash" students.A new Action News poll shows a number of people here in the Valley are worried about what the president might say in Tuesday's address to children.

The exclusive poll, conducted by Survey USA, asked 500 people around the Central Valley if they think it's appropriate for the President to deliver a back-to-school speech to kids.

- 63 percent said they think the speech is appropriate.

- 30 percent say it is not.

Action News Reporter Deshaunta Bullock has reactions from experts who got an early look at the president's speech.

I've read a copy of the President's three paged address. The White House posted the entire speech to school children, online this morning.

Critics fear the president is using the back to school address to push his agenda or as some put it, "brainwash" students.

We talked to two experts who have read the speech: One in education, one in politics, and they both agree, the content is not political.

On Tuesday President Obama plans to talk to students across the country asking them to take responsibility for their education.

President Obama said: "Yes, I'm going to have something to say to our children, telling them to stay in school and work hard, because that's the right message to send."

Here in the Central Valley, Fresno County Superintendent Larry Powell says it's a message all students need to hear.

Larry Powell, Fresno County Superintendent said: "I think any time you have the president of the US speaking to our students about doing the right thing and staying in school you ought to make that available to them."

It's not mandatory for schools in Fresno County to show the speech. Powell says in most cases teachers will make the final call, some are not showing it at all, others will watch it at a later date, and many will watch the speech as a class activity.

Larry Powell, Fresno County Superintendent said: "High school civics, or American Gov. or history folks seem most likely to review it and talk about it."

An exclusive action news poll conducted by Survey Usa, asked who should decide whether to show President Obama's national address to school children. 52 percent of those polled said it should be school districts, 28 percent said the individual teachers and 20 percent are not sure.

Don Larson, Political Analyst said: "I think it's sad we've come to the point where everything is partisan."

Political Analyst Don Larson says the speech is not partisan, but public reaction is. He said that could have a negative effect on students.

Don Larson, Political Analyst said: "The thing that does is make the children become partisan rather than listening objectively to what is being said."

The President's speech encourages students not to give up and Larson said by using personal examples like being raised by a single mother could inspire many students in the same situation.

Don Larson, Political Analyst said: "Who better to say I wasn't born with a silver spoon in my mouth it wasn't easy but we made it. And if I made it you can make it."

We want to thank those of you who took part in our Action News Survey.

Superintendent Larry Powell hopes African-American students will be inspired by the President's speech because of the large achievement gap that exists in the County.

President Obama will deliver his address to the nation's students Tuesday morning at 9am.

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