Reporter's Note: As school kids across the nation return to their classes, the White House will offer a televised address from the president to young scholars everywhere. That’s the subject of my daily letter to the White House. I hope my old English teacher is proud.
Tom Foreman | Bio
Dear Mr. President,
Wow! As if you did not have enough hornets swirling around you over the economy, now you’re being swarmed over your plan to speak to the school kids of America.
As I understand it, you’re going to talk to students coast to coast next week, encouraging them to stay in school, study hard, and not bite off anyone’s finger while protesting about health care reform…(oh, sorry, lapsed into thinking about a different story which also left me shaking my head.)
Some conservatives think you are trying to indoctrinate the nation’s children into accepting a socialist point of view. They suspect it will be not so much a “Welcome Back to School, Kids!” as a “Welcome Back to the Factory, Comrades!” speech. (There is more to it, of course; the whole kerfuffle over the extra materials and lessons that may or may not be taught around this speech. I have no idea what to make of it all.)
As a father I appreciate the concern of other parents about what their kids are taught. I’ve known teachers to occasionally interject their political views into the lesson plan, and I’ve had long conversations with my children about those views.
On the other hand, you and I grew up in a time when most schools had a picture of the president on the wall, and we were taught that whoever held the office deserved a degree of respect, support, and…yes…trust.
So I guess my only advice is this: Imagine how you might feel if President Bush had come to speak at your daughters’ school, and ask yourself what words you would want your child to hear from that president. Then pick your own words accordingly. There are many wonderful words any president can and should say to the young people of our nation; words that are inspiring, uplifting, full of the common wisdom that has made our country great; words with which fair-minded folks in either party can find no honest fault.
Call if you need help with adjectives. I’m good at those!
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