I’ve decided to put a dozen comments from people – across the board – about President Obama speaking to the nation’s students. Here’s what they said:
"He is not just an elected official; he is our president," says Hillsborough, Fla., school board member April Griffin, the Tampa Bay Times reports. she said. "And the children need to respect that, whether their parents voted for him or not."
The president's speech is a perfect example of 'a good idea gone astray,' " Prescott, Ariz., Superintendent Kevin Kapp wrote on the district's website, The Arizona Republic reports. "After reviewing the materials associated with the speech, (Prescott schools) will not televise the speech or broadcast it via computers."
According to The Oklahoman, the Oklahoma City School District issued a statement saying the district "will always be respectful of the three branches of government. As an educational entity, we will listen to each and be respectful of their message.”
Minnesota Gov. Tim Pawlenty, a Republican, told WCCO-AM radio that showing the address during school time in the morning could be disruptive and raises concerns "about the content and the motive." He also said that the speech is "uninvited."
Anchorage School Superintendent Carol Comeau says she instructed teachers that if they want, they can air the speech on education and work it into their curriculum, and that parents can opt to not have their children watch, the Anchorage Daily News reports.
Stu Silberman, superintendent of Fayette County Public Schools in Lexington, Ky., says about 50 people have called to protest. “Some "got riled up" after hearing on talk radio that the speech will have political themes, he says.
David Bradley, a Republican and member of the Texas State Board of Education, says Obama's speech bypasses the authority of states and local school administrators. His advice to parents: "If you're concerned, keep your kids home for the day."
Chuck Saylors, National PTA president, a father of four and a trustee of the Greenville County, S.C., School District, approves of any president's involvement in "doing something positive" to encourage students. "It's sad that we've had to turn yet something else into a political issue."
Mark Enderle, superintendent of the Fort Osage, Mo., School District, started getting calls on Monday. He's not requiring teachers to show the speech, nor is he discouraging it. Parents who object can have their children excused.
Enderle wonders why the speech has stirred such controversy. He supports a positive message about education from the White House, he says, "regardless of whether my president's name is Obama, Bush or Millard Fillmore."
Lesson plans sent to schools originally suggested that students write letters to themselves "about what they can do to help the president."
That language prompted conservative radio host Glenn Beck to say the White House goal is the "indoctrination" of children. The wording has since been changed to suggest that students' letters focus on ways to achieve their educational goals, White House spokesman Tommy Vietor said. The speech was posted online Monday.
“Granite School District in Salt Lake City has gotten a few complaints at each of its 89 schools,” says spokesman Ben Horsley. The district is sending a notice to parents advising them that they also can watch online.