If this turns out to be some hamfisted attempt by The One to pitch his agenda to kids — which would be politically insane given the outcry it would cause... — there’ll be ample time for outrageous outrage later. For all the media fainting spells over Obama’s oratory, you can count on one hand the number of truly memorable lines he’s uttered; I doubt he’s going to come up with such a corker next week that kids will be planning their lives around it.We haven't heard the speech yet, so we can only react to the idea of the President speaking to schoolchildren. I'd say: Let the kids hear it and the teachers teach it — here's the official teaching guide — and then respond. Nothing's going to be so damaging that parents need to preemptively hold their kids out of school. And that would itself be a matter of adults pushing a political message down kids throats.
Ideally, children should learn to understand political speeches and think for themselves about what they mean. I remember as a schoolchild being assigned various political speeches to read and understand. These were historical speeches — by Washington, Lincoln, etc. — but they were by Presidents, Presidents who had a political agenda. These assignments can be especially useful educational experiences, equipping children to live in the world — where politicians will try to influence them and lead them along. Teach them how to see what is being done and why.
I know many of you will say that the teachers are all such big liberals and Obama sycophants that no critical thinking will be taught. But let's see! I love reading things and applying my critical thinking to the text. I do it as a lawprof reading the stuff judges present as legal analysis, and I'd love to do it as a blogger reading about what the President said and how the teachers dealt with it.
Please, send your kids to school and get a full report on what happened. Encourage your kids to observe and report accurately, and then tell us all about it. The teachers could do anywhere from a brilliant to an abysmal job with the assignment. This is a great opportunity — whatever happens. If the teachers handle it well, the children learn valuable skills. If they handle it badly, that will be the basis of a lesson we can teach them.