Why are public school students being asked to help President Obama?
A suggested lesson plan that calls on school kids to write letters to themselves about what they can do to help President Obama is troubling some education experts, who say it establishes the president as a "superintendent in chief" and may indoctrinate children to support him politically.
But the White House says the speech is merely "designed to encourage kids to stay in school."
Obama will deliver a national address directly to students on Tuesday, which will be the first day of classes for many children across the country. The address, to be broadcast live on the White House's Web site, was announced in a letter to school principals last week by Education Secretary Arne Duncan. . . . .
A copy of the US Department of Education announcement is available here. Among the questions students from pre-kindergarten to sixth grade to discuss in class are: "Why is it important that we listen to the president and other elected officials . . . Why is what they say important?" "Are we able to do what President Obama is asking of us?" "What is the president asking me to do?" Older students from 7th to 12th grade are asked to discuss such questions as: "How will he inspire us?" "Is President Obama inspiring you to do anything?"
Public schools have no business telling young children that they should listen to politicians. Having teachers ask students “how will he inspire us” looks like the Department of Education wants teachers to put the president’s speech in a positive light.