Why Johnny Birch Can't Think For Himself

Tomorrow Obama will deliver a national address directly to students, which will be the first day of classes for many children across the country. The address, to be broadcast live on the White House's Web site, was announced in a letter to school principals last week by Education Secretary Arne Duncan.

Obama intends to "challenge students to work hard, set educational goals and take responsibility for their learning," Duncan wrote. Obama will also call for a "shared responsibility" among students, parents and educators to maximize learning potential.

"The goal of the speech and the lesson plans is to challenge students to work hard in school, to not drop out and to meet short-term goals like behaving in class, doing their homework and goals that parents and teachers alike can agree are noble. This isn't a policy speech. This is a speech designed to encourage kids to stay in school."

Tommy Vietor
White House Spokesperson

Numerous conservatives have claimed that President Obama's upcoming September 8 speech about "persisting and succeeding in school," along with classroom activities about the "importance of education," will "indoctrinate" and "brainwash" schoolchildren. Conservatives have compared Obama's address to Chinese communism and the Hitler Youth, while also calling for parents to "keep your kids home" from the "fascist in chief."

"In general, I don't think there's a problem if the president uses the bully pulpit to tell kids to work hard, study hard and things like that. But there are some troubling hints in this, both educationally and politically...It essentially tries to force kids to say the president and the presidency is inspiring, and that's very problematic. It's very concerning that you would do that."

Neal McCluskey
Cato Institute's Center for Educational Freedom.

"I don't think it's appropriate for teachers to ask students to help promote the president's preferred school reforms and policies. It very much starts to set up the president as a superintendent in chief."

Frederick Hess
American Enterprise Institute

"...it seems very close to indoctrination..."

Sean Hannity
FOX New Host

"...just when you think this administration can't get any more surreal and Orwellian, here they come to indoctrinate our kids..."

Monica Crawley
FOX News Commentator

"...the left has always used kids in public schools as guinea pigs and as junior lobbyists for their social liberal agenda..."

Michelle Malkin
Frequent FOX News

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