Independent student content

BG Falcon Media

Independent student content

BG Falcon Media

Independent student content

BG Falcon Media

Join Falcon Media for Fall Semester
We are accepting applications to join Falcon Media for Fall 2024 - paid leadership, staff, and summer internships, as well as internship and volunteer opportunities. Get all the details here
The BG News
Follow us on social
BG24 Newscast
February 22, 2024

  • Danez Smith at AWP
    Richard Saker/Contour by Getty Images As we end Black History Month, here is one of my favorite poets, Danez Smith, who writes on intersectionality between their Black and Queer identities. At the Association of Writers and Writing Programs (AWP) conference in Kansas City, MO, I had the opportunity to personally meet Smith, and they are […]
  • Lying in Memoir
    Lauren Slater crafts diligent, depictive metaphors in narrative, and I hate her writing, simultaneously. Should there be lying in memoir? In her book, Lying: A Metaphorical Memoir (2000), Slater crafts lies from epilepsy to nunneries to doctor visits and proposed peer reviewed theses to AA meetings. However, within these lies, she allows us to question […]
Spring Housing Guide

Allowing students to watch Obama speech will ensure they stay informed about the nation

Today, President Barack Obama will be addressing schools all across the country via C-SPAN and the Internet on the reasons why children should value and put effort into their education.

It is hardly a first for a president to address students directly. Presidents George H.W. Bush and Ronald Reagan spoke to the demographic during their presidencies. However, Obama’s speech is drawing the ire of conservative detractors, who claim that this address will be used to inspire children to believe in the same policies as the president.

This is not a speech meant to present a platform to children or indoctrinate them into a certain line of thinking. While it’s easy in today’s polarized political climate to nitpick all aspects of a politician’s actions, looking for bias and propaganda, it is possible that the president’s speech is simply to stress the importance of education to students.

Yes, the accompanying material sent to the schools, in which teachers were instructed to ask students ‘what they can do to help the president’ contained material that was ill-advised. However, changes made to the material, with questions focused more on student educational goals rather than presidential goals, can still allow for students to think about what messages the president is sending to them without outright support of a political platform or ideology.

President John F. Kennedy famously stated, ‘Ask not what your country can do for you; ask what you can do for your country.’ Without directly quoting his predecessor, it seems Obama’s message is similar to that of Kennedy’s. It means that one must take responsibility for the direction of their country by being involved in its future.

What simpler way can students impact their future and the country’s future than by doing their best in school to ensure a good job later in life? Obama’s message is not one of political fulfillment, but of the self-fulfillment of those listening. It’s possible to do well by yourself and your country without directly supporting a political agenda. Allowing students to view the speech will not tie them to a political ideology.

Schools receive funding from the government the president leads, so it does not seem much of a stretch for him to speak directly to those affected by his actions.

President George W. Bush employed the same public relations move when signing No Child Left Behind into law in 2002, by appearing at Hamilton High School in Hamilton, Ohio, for a large-scale photo opportunity. While the signing was not nationally broadcast like Obama’s speech, it did use the public education system as a means to promote a political agenda.

President Obama will not be actively campaigning specific Democratic legislation to the children, so why are so many people up in arms, threatening to keep their children home from school and refusing to let them watch the speech?

If students or their parents disagree with President Obama’s message, this speech probably won’t succeed in changing their minds about him. However, what’s the harm in being educated about what’s going on in the government, even if you disagree with it? Education not only involves developing informed opinions, it also should involve possessing a fair degree of knowledge about the opposing side of an issue.

Whether a parent or school administrator thinks Obama’s policies are positively or negatively affecting the country should not matter. Not allowing children to hear him speak will not help students figure out why they should or should not support his policies. Rather, it will breed further ignorance amongst a generation that already has enough distractions in their lives keeping them from paying attention to current events.

Of course, even if parents and schools’ efforts to prevent students from seeing the speech (and subsequently supporting Obama’s policies) succeed, the damage may have already been done. As Conan O’Brien stated in his monologue Friday night, the fact that students may be able to miss school to avoid the speech is why they have named Obama ‘best president ever.’

All joking aside, allowing students to listen to the president’s speech, no matter the topic, will help students know more about their leader and form their own opinions about him. Educators should be allowing children the opportunity to hear what President Obama has to say to them. He is their president just as much as he is the president of the voting public, and students should be familiar with him, no matter the party affiliation of their parents or educators.

A call for continued education should not be denied. The speech can send a message to students, not only about the importance of attending school, but also of paying attention to the actions of their leaders.

Respond to Marisha by leaving a comment below or email her at [email protected].’

Leave a Comment
Donate to BG Falcon Media
$725
$1500
Contributed
Our Goal

Your donation will support the student journalists of Bowling Green State University. Your contribution will allow us to purchase equipment and cover our annual website hosting costs.

More to Discover
Donate to BG Falcon Media
$725
$1500
Contributed
Our Goal

Comments (0)

All BG Falcon Media Picks Reader Picks Sort: Newest

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *