Back to school with Barack

It is astonishing that American President Barack Obama’s Sept. 8 back to school address to students across the United States has ballooned into the country’s latest controversy.

“At the end of the day, we can have the most dedicated teachers, the most supportive parents, and the best schools in the world and none of it will matter unless all of you fulfill your responsibilities.

Unless you show up to those schools; pay attention to those teachers; listen to your parents, grandparents and other adults; and put in the hard work it takes to succeed,” Obama stated in his address.

This is the message inciting controversy in America today: stay in school, work hard, do your homework.

Some American parents are in an uproar, calling these statements socialist indoctrination bent on spreading Obama’s leftist political agenda.

People are shouting “Pied Piper Obama,” comparing the intent of this speech to the Hitler Youth strategy.

They cannot be serious?

In anticipation of Conservative protest to such an event, the White House released Obama’s speech transcript a day prior to the delivery. Regardless, this did little to prevent a political backlash.

The right, who view the speech as a liberal indoctrination of the nation’s children, led the protest.

Conservatives are openly accusing the Obama Administration of using the back to school address as a means of recruiting youth support.

The majority of complaints stem from a lesson plan formulated by the U.S. Department of Education. One particularly controversial passage of the lesson plan, which suggested activities for students to partake in after the president’s speech, asked students to state “what they can do for the president.”

The mere wording of this question ignited mass protests and mainstream news coverage.

Subsequently, the question was rewritten. In the end, instead of asking students to state what they can do for Obama, the new wording now encourages students to “write letters to themselves about how they can achieve their short-term and long-term education goals,” The Daily Press reported.

However, the damage was already done.

The original contentious statement immediately produced a fiery response from people such as Michael Leahy, spokesman for the conservative grassroots Nationwide Tea Party Coalition.
Leahy told Agence France-Presse, “That’s Obama-centric. It’s not focused on education but on the worship of Barack Obama….this is indoctrination, pure and simple, into the cult of Barack Obama, and we are opposed to that.”

The wording may not have been the wisest choice, but jumping to conclusions of promoting Obama worship is just ridiculous.

In theory, it was a speech about studying and working hard. In practice, instead of taking advantage of this opportunity to have an influential leader tell the American children something everyone wants them to hear, people have demonized the president, overreacting to an appalling extent.

The speech spoke encouraging and inspirational words to students, telling them to not be discouraged by failure and to work hard in school.

Are these the ingredients that produce mass paranoia of Obama cults and brainwashing?

To be perfectly honest, if we assumed that these children could not formulate their own opinions, just as Leahy stated, brainwashing these kids with ideas of paying attention in school may not be such a bad idea.

Studying and working hard? How dare we let Obama tell our kids that! Pardon me as I roll my eyes and remind myself how ignorant some people can be.

Overall, Secretary of Education, Arne Duncan handled the situation best – labeling the entire controversy as “silly.” The Digital Journal reported Duncan saying, “All the drama, all the hoopla–if at the end of the day, the president motivates one C student to become a B student, one B student to become an A student or one student who’s thinking about dropping out to stay in school and take their education seriously, it’s all worth it.”

Whether we like it or not, politics is an unavoidable reality, even in schools.

It does not take rocket science to understand the value of Obama speaking to the nation’s children.

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