Obama Back-to-School Lesson Plan Sparks Debate

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President Obama is set to deliver a back to school speech to students next week, but some political conservatives and parents say the lesson plan attached to the speech goes too far.

It started innocently enough with the president giving an interview to a young student reporter about his upcoming back to school speech.

"I'm going to be making a big speech to you people all across the country about the importance of education and the importance of staying in school, Obama said.  "(Also) how we want to improve the education system and why it's so important for the country.  So I hope everybody tunes in."

The speech will broadcast live on the White House Web site and C-Span, but along with that speech, the Department of Education is pushing a lesson plan as well.

It has come under criticism by some because it first asked kids to, "write letters to themselves about what they can do to help the president."  The White House has since removed the "help the president" words and it now encourages students to, "write letters to themselves about how they can achieve their short-term and long-term education goals."

The lesson plan also states that, "teachers can build background knowledge about the president of the United States and his speech by reading books about presidents and Barack Oibama."  It also poses sample questions to the kids like, "Is President Obama inspiring you to do anything?" "Is he challenging you to do anything?"

Some, however, see that as an Obama ideology push.

Florida Republican Party Chairman Jim Greer said, "as the father of four children, I am absolutely appalled that taxpayer dollars are being used to spread President Obama's socialist ideology."

White House spokesman Tommy Vietor disagreed.

"It's surprising that Mr. Greer would characterize a speech he hasn't read," he responded.  "It's not a policy speech. It's about encouraging kids to stay in school."

In addition to that statement, a White House spokesman told CBN News that parents will be able to read the speech before Tuesday.

CBN News was also told the White House will post it on their Web site.

Meanwhile, the site HallPassOnThat.com is encouraging parents to check with their local school district to see if they will be requiring students to watch it.  If so, they suggest the "hall pass" route, telling parents to have their kids bypass the president's speech.  pinions on this run the gamut.

Past presidents have spoken to school kids before.

Ronald Reagan did so after the Challenger disaster and the first President Bush spoke to kids about space exploration.  This is the first back to school address by a president.

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David Brody

David Brody

CBN News Chief Political Correspondent

David Brody is an Emmy Award-winning veteran news journalist who has interviewed many prominent national figures during his career of nearly 25 years. Currently, David covers the White House and interviews national newsmakers across the country.  Follow David on Twitter @TheBrodyFile and "like" him at Facebook.com/TheBrodyFile.