Obama’s education speech

I’m rather embarrassed by the reaction many conservatives have had to the upcoming Obama address to students in America’s schools. The topic will be the importance of education, and giving a speech like this is a very fitting role for the president of the United States.

Read pastor John Piper’s perspective:

I am stunned at the outcry against the President of the United States speaking to the youth of this nation about the importance of education.

I am embarrassed by the governor of my home state saying, that the president’s plan to address them is “disruptive . . . uninvited . . . and number three . . . I don’t think he needs to force it upon the nation’s school children.”

This speech seems, for me, to be an answer to a prayer that I have prayed for the president repeatedly.

Father, the condition of our schools and families is so broken that nothing seems to be working, especially for the poor in our urban centers. Help our president to have the courage to use his amazing place of influence to speak into this situation in such a way that boys and girls would take their studies seriously and put school above sport and homework above hiphop and graduation above gangs.

O, Lord, create a culture where it is not cool to fail. Give our President the courage to call all children, especially ones who feel hopeless about academic work, to fight for knowledge the way gangs fight for turf.

And as the President plans his speech, help him to feel as helpless as he really is to meet the greatest needs of the children, so that he turns to Jesus who alone has the answer for the ruin and the wrongs of our cities. In Jesus’ name, Amen.

I hope my daughter hears the speech.

From Desiring God: I Hope My Daughter Hears the President’s Speech

Grace and Peace

14 thoughts on “Obama’s education speech

  1. ECM

    For the umpteenth time, it is not the address that is at issue: it was the study materials that went along with it. (Study materials that, once exposed to the light of day, were quickly re-drawn, revised and edited to remove the *extremely* objectionable materials.) The reason anyone is still going on about this is precisely because of those materials (whether or not they’ve been revised, it was certainly inappropriate for them to be floated in the first place which is why nobody trusts the guy to offer a straight speech on education) and it is disingenuous to imply that some people are being irrational over this–you seriously need to do more reading on this then come back here and tell people that they’re being foolish.


  2. ECM

    Ah, I see: an appeal to authority and some ad hominem, is that it? Surely you can do better than that…

    The fact is, via the link I posted, people are upset because this was even positioned to look improper and nobody at the White House thought there was anything wrong with it when there was, quite clearly, a lot wrong w/ it. And people are going on about it, still, because they don’t trust the guy because of the aforementioned materials! Is that really that hard to understand? I mean it isn’t as if there’s already plenty of things out of this White House that aren’t trustworthy, right?

    Heck, here’s a new one bubbling to the surface just *today*:


    Now, tell me again (w/o the fallacies, e.g. Hitler, etc.), why it’s strange that a great many people don’t trust this man? (And we’re dealing with children in the case of the original OP, which makes it even more sensitive.)


  3. Whose authority do I appeal to? A blogger? He does represent some popular opinion among conservatives though.

    I agree, the materials to accompany the speech were inappropriate, but I believe they were rescinded, so…

    I think the problem is done now.

    Once people admit a mistake and correct it, that’s usually good enough for the opposition. Not this time.


  4. Tim Helble

    A good point to ponder for those on the extreme right or extreme left (and the rest of us too):

    “He (the devil) always sends errors into the world in pairs–pairs of opposites. And he always encourages us to spend a lot of time thinking which is the worse. You see why, of course? He relies on your extra dislike of the one error to draw you gradually into the opposite one. But do not let us be fooled. We have to keep our eyes on the goal and go straight between both errors. We have no other concern than that with either of them.” C.S. Lewis, Mere Christianity, Book 4, Chapter 6.


  5. geochristian

    John Piper commented on Obama’s speech this morning:

    This is the speech I expected the President to give to our children—excellent.

    Given that he is not directing them to Christ, which would be the best counsel, his advice is a wonderful gift of common grace from God to the students of our land.

    If you settle for the news headlines that say the president tells the kids to wash their hands and take care of the environment, you will miss the wisdom and courage in this speech. Within its spiritual limitations it is simply amazing.

    Read the rest of Piper’s commentary at http://www.desiringgod.org/Blog/1989_ive_read_the_presidents_speech_amazing/


  6. geochristian

    Rod Dreher (Crunchy Con) commented on Obama’s speech: Obama’s school speech: Shockingly non-socialist

    “Clearly, it’s something a bit short of Lenin at the Finland Station… There’s not a single jot or tittle here with which any non-deranged conservative could disagree. And what a great speech for America’s first black president to deliver to minority students. I hope everyone who freaked out over this speech last week feels embarrassed for themselves and their own foolishness.”


  7. geochristian

    Al Mohler rips into both conservatives and Obama-ites: The Obama School Speech Controversy — What to Think?

    Much of the controversy is reckless, baseless, and plainly irrational. Some have called the speech an effort to recruit America’s children into socialism. Others have argued that any presidential speech piped into classrooms is illegitimate. But a presidential speech to students is hardly unprecedented. This speech by this president has led to an unprecedented uproar.

    At this level, the controversy is a national embarrassment. Conservatives must avoid jumping on every conspiracy theory and labeling every action by the Obama administration as sinister or socialist. Our civic culture is debased when opposing parties and political alignments read every proposal by the other side as suspect on its face.

    Furthermore, this controversy smacks of disrespect for the President and, by extension, disrespect for the presidency itself. Both fly in the face of Christian responsibility to pray for those in authority. Respect for our government, though never as an end in itself, is part of our Christian responsibility. This controversy threatens to sow seeds of permanent distrust and suspicion in the hearts of the young. In an age of rampant cynicism, this is inexcusable.


    When President Obama wonders who he should blame for this controversy, he should look directly to his own administration. Put plainly, his own Department of Education released suggested lesson plans that appeared to be more about the cult of Obama than about the President’s message. The lesson plans (changed after the controversy erupted) suggested: “Teachers can extend learning by having students write letters to themselves about what they can do to help the president. These would be collected and redistributed at an appropriate date by the teacher to make students accountable to their goals.”


    And there is more. At least some school districts have shown a video known as “I Pledge” that features Hollywood and pop music celebrities calling for students to make a pledge to do something great. But the celebrities include everything from advancing stem cell research to refusing to use plastic bags at the supermarket. Near the end, the video makes this appeal: “I pledge to be of service to Barack Obama.”

    Of service to Barack Obama? This is a strange admixture of the politics of celebrity and the purpose of government. Some of the goals listed on the “I Pledge” video are praiseworthy, such as ending the modern slave trade. Others are right off the platform of the Democratic Party. According to press reports, some school districts intended to show the video with the President’s speech.


    The nation — and the Obama Administration — should learn from this controversy and be determined not to repeat this fracas. The White House should shut down the cult of personality, and the nation’s conservatives should discipline themselves to discern the real issues from the conspiracy myths. There is plenty to deal with on the plane of reality.


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