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“Stay In School, Kids”­­­­—Controversy?
the editorial board
September 30, 2009

“Disruptive, infuriating, uninvited.” Based on these responses to President Obama’s back-to-school speech, which broadcast in public schools across the country on September 8, you would think that he had spat out a string of inappropriate swear words.

However, in his address, which contained no profanities, he innocuously urged students to “set your own goals for your education—and to do everything you can to meet them.” Yet many parents complained that their children were being subjected to partisan propaganda.

Mr. Obama is not the first U.S. President to nationally address school children. Both President George H.W. Bush and President Ronald Reagan have also made similar speeches to students—but without the explosion of anger from parents claiming subversive political meaning.

Adults should not be so eager to politicize and create controversy over a speech that makes no mention of political parties or suggests any liberal agenda. President Obama’s message—which essentially urged students to work hard to reach their full potential—is neither Democratic nor Republican. These words should apply universally to all American students, regardless of their or their family’s political affiliation.