Tuesday, September 08, 2009

Children, Are You Talking?

The school my kids attend did not run the president's speech, so here are some bullets from the text of the speech and some reaction from across the blogosphere.

The speech:

Hello everyone -

I know that for many of you, today is the first day of school.
[S]ome of you are probably wishing it were still summer, and you could've stayed in bed just a little longer this morning.

When I was young, . . . . my mother. . . . .decided to teach me extra lessons. [W]henever I'd complain, my mother would just give me one of those looks and say, "This is no picnic for me either, buster."

I'm here because I want to talk with you about your education and what's expected of all of you in this new school year.

what I want to focus on today: the responsibility each of you has for your education.

Every single one of you has something you're good at. Every single one of you has something to offer. And you have a responsibility to yourself to discover what that is. That's the opportunity an education can provide.

[N]o matter what you want to do with your life - I guarantee that you'll need an education to do it.

What you make of your education will decide nothing less than the future of this country.

[I]f you quit on school - you're not just quitting on yourself, you're quitting on your country.

[I}t's not always easy to do well in school.

I did some things I'm not proud of, and got in more trouble than I should have.

But I was fortunate.

[T]he circumstances of your life . . .[are] no excuse for neglecting your homework or having a bad attitude.

Where you are right now doesn't have to determine where you'll end up.

I'm calling on each of you to set your own goals for your education - and to do everything you can to meet them.

I hope you'll all wash your hands a lot, and stay home from school when you don't feel well. . . .

[B]eing successful is hard.

No one's born being good at things, you become good at things through hard work.

[F]ind an adult you trust - a parent, grandparent or teacher; a coach or counselor - and ask them to help you stay on track to meet your goals.

[W]hen you give up on yourself, you give up on your country.

The story of America isn't about people who quit when things got tough.

So today, I want to ask you, what's your contribution going to be?

I'm working hard to fix up your classrooms . . . .

I expect great things from each of you.

Make us all proud. I know you can do it.

Thank you, God bless you, and God bless America.

Reading the speech, I thought it was worthy of a local principal or school superintendent. Did the President need to make this speech to all students at the same time? Wouldn't it have been better (and more efficient) to record his piece and let school systems download or stream it? And leave the hype running up to the speech out. Perhaps if they had known the length, more schools would have balked. As it was, the speech appears as a grand publicity ploy rather than a substantive addition to learning. And don't get me started on the first draft of the lesson plan suggestions.

So what was the school-kid reaction to the speech?

From The Bookworm Room

My daughter, who attends middle school, told me that she understood the the take-away message from Obama’s speech to be “The future is your responsibility,” a thought she found unpleasantly burdensome. Generally, she thought the speech was long and boring.

From Lorie Byrd's child on Wizbang

On September 8th, 2009, I watched President Obama give his speech. Some kids got a note from their parents and got to do fun stuff instead. I was very jealous. I listened to him talk about school and how it was the first day of school (although it wasn't) and other boring stuff for FIFTEEN MINUTES! To a kid that's a looong time in school.

During the speech, my friend and her friend were talking, and my teacher said they were being very disrespectful to the president, the leader of our armed forces (blah, blah, blah and some other stuff).

Pointless fact: My grandmother once taught at the high school where the President gave his speech.

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