Saturday, September 5, 2009

The President's Speech

President Obama plans to address the students of the United States on Tuesday, September 8th with a message stressing the importance of graduating from high school. The entire speech has been made available for everyone to read.What should never have surprised me is the fact that many people are demanding that schools not allow the speech to be heard or seen in the schools and that students not be "exposed" to the President's message. One could argue that regardless of the President's party affiliation or stance regarding such issues as health care or war, all Americans owe the President the respect of hearing his messages. But that is not the position I want to take. My point is that it is wrong to pass judgment on any text without first having read or heard the message. What many people are advocating is contrary to the development of reasoning and critical thinking, which should be the primary goal of schools.

Understand, schools are neither Democratic or Republican. Schools are non-denominational with regard to religion. Schools are neither liberal or conservative. Schools must be neutral. By showing the President's speech, a school is not saying that it supports the President's position on health care or on the war in Iraq. The school is allowing a text to be presented so that the students may consider the text and weigh it against what they already know or what they thought they knew. Students may also get to hear opposing views so that they may learn to appreciate the varying perspectives that exist regarding an issue. This is key to critical thinking.

Preventing students from hearing a speech or from reading a text because of the adults' prejudices is a violation against the educative process. Such practice also stresses that intolerance is preferred to tolerance; is it any wonder that prejudice, racism, and hatred still exists in America?

The President's message is that students should stay in school and get their diploma. I've heard self-proclaimed conservatives on the television state that they are opposed to President Obama's views and do not want their children to hear his speech. This can only be interpreted that such conservatives do not want children to stay in school and believe that it is not important for students to earn their high school diploma. Okay, I'm sure that is not their position, but isn't that what it sounds like?

Don't make an uneducated decision. Suspend judgment until you have the facts. You may arrive at the same conclusion, but you will have done so intelligently.

To learn more about President Obama's address to our nations children, go to

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