Obama’s speech to students: show it live

schoolbadge2I spoke with Northfield Supt. Chris Richardson this morning. He’ll have a statement on the District’s web site around noon, basically stating that the District is leaving it up to the classrooms teachers on whether or not to show President Obama’s speech to students live, recorded, or not at all. I think that’s the best approach, unlike the recommendation from Northfielder Charlie Kyte, executive director of the Minnesota Association of School Administrators, to show the speech later. I’m hoping teachers show it live, as events are always more compelling when they’re live. I still remember watching President Kennedy’s inaugural address live as an 8th grader. I suppose others remember President George H.W. Bush’s speech to students in 1991.

Strib: Parents, schools wary of Obama back-to-school speech

MPR’s Today’s Question: Should the president have direct access to the nation’s students?

MPR: Minn. schools move to address protests over Obama’s speech

Some districts, like Fergus Falls, are not showing the speech live – but will instead tape it and have administrators review it to see if it’s appropriate to show later. That’s the tactic that the Minnesota Association of School Administrators suggested. The group’s executive director, Charlie Kyte, says most – if not all – districts in Minnesota were probably dealing with this issue Thursday. In an email to schools, Kyte suggested administrators "not change their first day schedules to accommodate this broadcast. Rather make sure it is recorded and available (it will probably remain on the white house website). "It is always appropriate to preview curriculum, movies, videos, etc before using them for instruction," the email continued.

201 thoughts on “Obama’s speech to students: show it live”

  1. John: 4 comments (48.6,48.7, 49, and 49.1) to answer my one, and you know what John? I keep getting drawn in by your twisted arguments, and I know better… and Griff has told us not to respond to each other… but I keep thinking there must be a way to make you see the non-logic of these circular arguments of yours which always come back to your feeling of being threatened by the government with regards to your loss of your particular mindset of freedoms.

    If you think a universal healthcare system provided by the gov’t is going to be ‘cheap’ based on ‘volume purchasing power’ rather than on controlling profit motives of insurance and drug companies … it’s just pointless to further discuss.
    Watch Robert Reich’s two minute, thirty eight second,video explanation on You Tube.

    Additionally, you pervert the main subject matter of every thread.

    I’m sorry I got involved again…

    and P.S. re:48.7. what you refer to as an “accrostic” is not one, and if it were it would be an ACROSTIC.

    1. Well, Kiffi, I think Prov. 29:9 is appropriate here. You have offered nothing to refute my comparison between big-box retailers and the government system being proposed. You call my comparison non-logic and circular reasoning, but you haven’t given me any evidence to support your accusation. Both function on the same principle, volume purchasing power. I think it is a good principle, and I am glad it is being considered.

      Also, I don’t remember saying anything about “cheap” medical care. The question I have raised is whether anyone really knows what it is going to cost to cover the millions of people without coverage right now. So far, I have not been able to find any good statistics. They may be there, but I haven’t been able to ferret them out. I have a friend who teaches college level political acience. He was telling me about a discussion he had with a government finance official after Congress approved the Part D prescription plan for Medicare. His atatement was that the proposal had about an hour of discussion, and when it passed, it doubled the medicare debt, if I understood him correctly. My concern is that we will start into a program and become overwhelmed with the cost and not be able to carry it through.

      Regarding the tenor of the rest of your comments, every time I try to discuss an issue with you, I have hopes that it will not disentigrate into a belittling name calling session. So far, my hopes have been dashed. I haven’t had that experience with anyone else I have engaged on this thread.

  2. The liberal wackos want peace and
    love. The conservative wackos want to
    hoard guns, run around in cammo and
    shoot people who don’t agree with

    This should be named to most childish and absurd post of the month on LG.
    Liberal wackos want peace and love?

    Liberals are the ones that have created the current division in this country by creating labels for all kinds of people. To make things worse they then elevate minorities in to a special status and make them depended on the government dollar.
    By telling them “Oh you can’t succeed on your own, we need to help you and give y0u special privileges”

    Only we know what’s best for you.

    Despite all the ” so called compassion” our poverty rate has increased, MediCare is about to go bankrupt. Social security is a joke.
    To make matters worse those three items represent the largest items within our budgets, especially in Minnesota.
    When the new deal was implemented we all were promised that all the poverty would go away..40+ years later it has gotten worse (based on some liberals comments).

    Instead of taking an honest look what do liberals do ? They go in debt create more programs and promise that this time it will work. LOL

    All under the disguise of compassion and

    “The liberal wackos want peace and


    Please Jane spare me the drama.

    I am a conservative (not republican) I have three kids for them I want nothing more hen love and peace.
    Unfortunately the world we live in is not all good. There is and always will be a segment of people who are envious of or prosperity and use our prosperity to manipulate their own population for their own gains.

    We don’t need radicals within our population to support the enemy on the outside, by spewing the same imperialistic nonsense that they use to bring us down.

    And America makes an easy target, because we are the most free and prosperous country in the world…despite what the left wants to tell us.

  3. Kiffi- I’m sorry I got involved, also. Try as I might, it is hard for me to be objective all the time. Please forgive me for anything I have said or inferred that offends you.

  4. Pawlenty update:
    Just caught the morning shows, and on ABC this morning, Tim Pawlenty gently walked back his “nullification” assertion from earlier this week.

    Maybe he does want to stay a little bit to the left of Rush, after all.

  5. Back to the original subject, President Obama’s speech, it doesn’t appear that there has been any negative effect on our school children so far, unless the incubation period is not up yet. I still say it is unfortunate that this caused the flap that it did. It reminds me a little of an Executive Exercise program I once read about. One of the exercises was “jumping to conclusions.”

    1. John: An observation – Neither the President nor the educators treated it as a “flap”. It’s hard for me to tell how this issue got made into such a big deal.

    2. David,
      Because it was the state leader of the Republican Party, in his official capacity. Because the news (for example, CNN) ran with it. Standard operating procedure would be that CNN would solicit a response.

    3. David,
      Apologies for being distracted by your question.

      The problem wasn’t the “response” – unless by “response” you mean all the other Republican politicians (ex: Pawlenty) who picked up the theme, and the news media who ran with it.

    4. David,
      Apologies again. It just occured to me that you may have been asking “why did the school respond?” No idea. It seemed just as baffling when it came out as it does now in hindsight.

    5. I see both the MN Assn of School Administrators/Superintendents (whatever the correct title is) and the local School District Superintendent as having created the “flap” by their questioning the validity/ importance, and even more significantly the “appropriateness” (yes, they used that term) of an address from the President of the United States to the schoolchildren of this Country.

    6. David L.- You are correct in your evaluation. The term “flap” is my own perspective, because I think it was an ant hill that got turned into a mountain. The whole thing reminded me of a science film I saw years ago (so many, in fact that it was in black and white). It was a demonstration of a nuclear reaction. The scientists had put about 500 set mouse traps into a pexiglass enclosure. Each mouse trap had a ping-pong ball on it. The scientist dropped a ping-pong ball onto one of the traps, setting it off. The ball on this trap flew over and tripped another trap. In a matter of a few seconds, the whole enclosure was a mass of flying ping-pong balls and mouse traps. I think that is a pretty good illustration what happened with this affair. Someone, somewhere, has to choose not to react to stop the balls from flying about. I think it would be good if both sides would retreat to their corners and make a realistic assessment of what the whole exercise actually accomplished. My assessment is that it just proved how short fused and intolerant of each other both of our political parties are right now.

    7. Patrick: The real issue was/is who gets to decide whether to play the President’s message. The “battle” was between a liberal President and an education constituency that is also quite liberal.

      So, to claim that the Republican are responsible or involved strikes me as disingenuous. It was the liberals who didn’t want to play the message, which it turns out, was quite conservative in tone. It was much ado about nothing.

  6. Scott,
    I could see your comments to me in the LoGro thread, but I couldn’t access them for some technical reason. Griff sent them to me so I could read them.

    In 32.5 you commented to me:
    “You said “I didn’t actually read the text of the speech” and yet you mentioned “folks wondering if the President was going to ask children to ‘line up behind me’ and help me advance my agenda”. Was that based on what you gleaned from the paper AFTER the speech, or from the hue and cry raised based on the preliminary news release when plans for the speech were 1st announced?”

    I mention the folks that were concerned about the President sending a message into virtually every one of our schools, without having any real advance notice of the speech. As a former school board member, I don’t really care who sends the request to talk to all our students in….but I’d like to know what is going to be said before I simply turn the pulpit over to someone.

    The phrase you asked me about (‘advance my agenda’) popped out of my head, but it is something that has been said about many politicians….not very original at all. I’ve used it when speaking to groups when I held elected office. When I was working hard on getting an e-waste bill passed in St. Paul I was on a speaking circuit where I worked to rally support for the bill, asking people to “help me advance my agenda” that I was talking to them about.

    In 32.4 you raise several questions about past elections, indicating that you feel President Obama is somehow superior to past Presidents because he received a larger majority of votes. I don’t really follow that at all. President Reagan received a huge majority vote in this nation, winning 49 states, but I don’t think that elevated him to some special level.

    You go on to comment about people speaking to studnets:

    “IF that is correct, do you feel this should apply to ALL elected officials at ALL levels ANY time they speak to children during school hours? Say, members of a local school board or State Representatives addressing a school assembly or maybe a high school government class? Just curious.”

    Yes….I do think every speaker should be reviewed before speaking to students. That is the job of our school administration and teachers. You cannot take a speech back once it is unleashed on students. And a speech in school carries a lot of weight since it is essentially sanctioned by the school. As I noted above, as a State Representative, when I was invited to speak to students in classes I always reviewed with the teacher what specific topic they wanted me to address. I offered to give a copy of my notes to the teachers ahead of time. At the high school level I usually had a handout for the students that I also gave to the teacher ahead of time.

    1. Ray,

      1st, please accept my sincere appreciation for your response to my questions. Please allow me to clarify my position, respond to points you raise, and acknowledge the 1 direct answer I feel you gave to the questions I posed.

      Regarding thread 32.4, specifically addressing your contention that I somehow “feel President Obama is somehow superior to past Presidents because he received a larger majority of votes”, you go on to point out that “President Reagan received a huge majority vote in this nation, winning 49 states, but I don’t think that elevated him to some special level.”

      Fair enough. Did you feel it was proper for President Reagan to address the nation’s schoolchildren and insert a message advocating his economic agenda into the middle of THAT speech? Did you feel, at THAT time, that he should have provided an advance copy of said speech? When the 1st President Bush addressed our schoolchildren, did you AT THAT TIME worry that HIS speech had not been provided for advanced vetting? At either time, did you register your objection ANYWHERE?

      Regarding the rest of your answer to 32.4, I commend you for your diligence in providing advance copy of your talks, although I doubt that our kids had anything to fear from what you said regardless of the grade level you addressed. To me, this applies to both sides of the political spectrum.

      Regarding 32.5, you say “As a former school board member, I don’t really care who sends the request to talk to all our students in….but I’d like to know what is going to be said before I simply turn the pulpit over to someone.” This goes back to the last 2 questions posted above regarding 32.4.

      My question regarding the phrase “advance my agenda” was QUITE specific. NOWHERE in the question I asked was there any reference to any speeches which YOU had made in the past which incorporated that phrase. My SPECIFIC question was directly focused on YOUR statement “So it was essentially dumped on the school districts to deal with a bunch of riled up folks wondering if the President was going to ask children to ‘line up behind me’ and help me advance my agenda”

      THIS was what I asked…”Here is why I ask. THAT phrase (in substance if not word for word) was the rallying cry for the faction of the political spectrum (both elected and in the media) who opposed this speech from day 1. My problem is, when quoting that news release, focusing SPECIFICALLY on that part of the lesson plan suggestions, thsy ALWAYS ended like this “ask the children to email the president about how they can help him.”

      Help him WHAT? Is that where it truly ended? Improve education? Make America better? Quit smoking? DID IT ACTUALLY SAY “‘line up behind me’ and help me advance my agenda”? IF it did, did it specify an agenda as Reagan did in his ACTUAL speech?

      THIS is what I was TRYING to get at. As I said earlier, I don’t feel a need to shield children from statements from public officials. It will pass over the heads of those who don’t “get it” and for the rest, unless things have changed greatly since I was young, their “BS” detectors are somewhat in place. Then again, when I look back on the 80’s (S&L and Junk Bond meltdowns) and compare them to today, I can only HOPE.

    2. Scott, I think the answer is no president should address school children in a nationwide live feed. The main reason being this is not part of the job description of the office for which presidents are elected to serve. This is easy to know since the technology did not exist at the time the job description was written. The majority elects the president for a specific purpose and that purpose does not include subjecting the children of those who voted for other candidates to a nationwide mass live event.

  7. I tend to agree with David on this issue. I was not aware of President Reagan giving a speech to all the school children in America. But if he did so, I raise my same concerns. I seem to be vaguely aware that President George H W Bush gave a speech for students, but I don’t think it went out live to all, but rather to a select group. Not sure what that was all about.

    As far as Scott’s question about where I got the words I used in an earlier post…..as I said they came from my head when I wrote it. Did I hear something on the radio during my work day that was similar? Probably. …it is pretty hard not to hear talk on this from MPR to standard commercial stations. There was no intention on my part to use words from someone else.

  8. you guys know that our governor’s wife does this all the time. Ray, call up your buddy timmy p and tell him to stop this right now.


    As first lady of Minnesota, Judge Pawlenty frequently visits elementary schools to teach students about democracy and the three branches of government, with a special emphasis on the judiciary. She has also created the First Lady’s Heart Health Initiative, an awareness campaign for women about reducing the risk of heart disease and the First Lady’s Military Family Care Initiative, a program that allows community-based organizations to volunteer their time and services to help families of deployed soldiers.

  9. I would hope Judge Pawlenty does find some time to speak to school students about the judiciary, just like several members of the Mn Supreme Court do from time to time. As I said earlier, I have no problem with people speaking to our students….I just believe we need to be clear about what they are speaking about and in what manner. A sitting Judge talking about the judiciary is pretty basic stuff. I would also suspect many of the judges that do this have a fairly standard talk. Judges are not elected to political offices.

    I do think when you invite people elected to political offices into the schools you need to know what they plan to talk about. And schools need more than a weekend to decide about the presentation.

    1. The teachers are not even elected. I think it is perfectly fine for the president (Obama) to visit as many schools as he wants or even record a presentation for all schools to use at their option. But a nationwide live feed has the potential as a propaganda media and really no big up side.

  10. The vast majority of our judges are elected, including Judge Pawlenty.
    We do not elect our Supreme Court or Appelate Court judges.

    1. I guess that makes Judge Pawlenty an elected official, just like any other elected official. Why do you think it is okay for Judge Pawlenty to speak to our children without prior vetting of the contents of her speech by the school board on each occasion, while it is not also okay for other elected officials, such as the President of the United States, to do the same?

  11. I need to note a correction in #63….we do elect all our judges, but with the Supreme and Appelate it is generally after an apointment. But I believe we did elect one judge to the Supreme court recently without an apointment—Judge Alan Page. I seem to remember he challenged a sitting judge up for election.

    I believe it is fine for Judge Pawlenty or any other Judge that has been invited to a school to speak about the judiciary to go and talk…..and I would hope they would offer to provide a summary of their remarks to the teacher before they speak. However, if they don’t make the offer I suspect there also has not been any problem with their talks. I’m sure most any judge can give a good factual talk about how our judiciary works and not get into any ‘trouble’.

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