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Obama speech spurs concerns among parents

Original post made on Sep 8, 2009

Plans by President Barack Obama to address students across the nation Tuesday met with protest from parents across the country who said they were opposed to the president "pushing an agenda" with their children. In the San Ramon Valley Unified School District, some parents discussed the possibility of bringing their children to school late Tuesday in order to not be in the classroom during the president's presentation.

Read the full story here Web Link posted Tuesday, September 8, 2009, 9:30 PM

Comments (47)

Posted by Rick Pshaw
a resident of Danville
on Sep 8, 2009 at 9:53 pm

What the liberal jerks aren't willing to admit is that this is only the first of many more such "speeches." They WILL get more political and they WILL become more subversive.

Ever hear of the camel's nose?

Posted by Mike Rafone
a resident of Danville
on Sep 9, 2009 at 1:43 am

Yeah, how much more subversive can you get? The unmitigated gall of someone telling our children that regardless of their circumstances, they must strive for excellence, because their success at striving for excellence, i.e. academic excellence as opposed to on the football field or bassetball court, is good for them AND their country.

Historically and unfortunately, this country has tolerated education rather than embracing it. That along with the thinly masked racism shown by those who claim to be offended by Obama's speech will only hold this once great country back and will doom it to being second rate, if it isn't already. Instead of watching FOX, try reading a book sometime.

Posted by Shari
a resident of Danville
on Sep 9, 2009 at 6:39 am

The speech was too long for most elementary kids. Maybe 5th grade and up would get something from it. I was opposed to my 3rd grader watching it until I viewed it...just because I don't trust him. However, the speech was spot on. It was great. I just wish he and Congress would put the $$$ where his mouth is. I'd rather my tax dollars fully fund Public Education than Public Health Insurance. IDEA, ESEA, and NCLB federalized public education...they should support it.

Posted by Citizen Paine
a resident of Danville
on Sep 9, 2009 at 7:24 am

So, Rick, was it "subversive" (oh, brother) when President Reagan stuck his nose in the same tent in the '80s? Howsabout Bush the Elder in '91?

"Stay in school, work hard to improve yourself and think about your future." Which part of that do you find objectionable?

I think the Buffalo Springfield had it right a while back:

"Paranoia strikes deep,
Into your heart it will creep.
It starts when you're always afraid..."

I hope the folks whose baseless fears and rage have once again been demonstrated to be part of an extended Silly Season will consider examining their motives and reflecting on their disquiet. Bush the Shrub had eight years to mire us in these messes at home and abroad -- it's time for a different, wiser and truly compassionate approach.

Who better than a classic American success story, a brilliant self-made person, to lead us?

Posted by Bill
a resident of Danville
on Sep 9, 2009 at 7:27 am

What a fine way to enter into a dialogue. "Liberal Jerks". This is all the far right has is name calling and inducing fear and mistrust in our government. They have no ideas and are afraid they are losing their hold on this country. It's not so subtle racism they just can't hide. This president doesn't look like those that came before him. The fear they have makes them make ridiculous claims that have no basis in reality. One woman said that her daughter came home from school after hearing the presidents speech to kids and said she now wanted to become a doctor. If this is brain washing we need more of it!

Posted by Kathy
a resident of Danville
on Sep 9, 2009 at 7:31 am

If you don't want to listen to our President, MOVE TO ANOTHER COUNTRY! Please move out of Danville at least. How sad. I listened to George Bush for years WITH MY KIDS! Most CLEARLY didn't trust Bush, but we had to deal with it. Teach your children to respect the President. Stop being sore loosers. It was a major win, and it appears you still can't handle it. Get a grip people. I was a speech!

Posted by Ron
a resident of San Ramon
on Sep 9, 2009 at 7:45 am

I have been a registered Republican for 55 years but after listening to all of these bigoted conseratives, I am changing to a Democrat. I can still vote for the man, not the ticket, but I don't have to feel guilty for belonging to a group who find themselves being led by the nose by other radicals trying to incite them.

Good speech and I am sure most students, hopefully including my grandkids, understood it and were motivated by it.

Posted by cardfark
a resident of Diablo
on Sep 9, 2009 at 7:46 am

The retrograde Righties, once again proved wrong, are left with:

"Yeah well, just wait'll the NEXT one," and

"It was too long."

That's kind of pathetic.

DW also does a dis-service by allowing its headline to suggest that concerns were widespread, rather than limited to a marginal minority of misguided souls.

Posted by Kevin
a resident of Danville
on Sep 9, 2009 at 7:48 am

What does it teach your children if you hold them out of class so they don't hear a president's speech? Doesn't that attitude teach your children that if you don't get your way, you just go and pout and hide from reality? Wouldn't it be far better to have your children listen to the speech and then discuss it afterward and share opinions? Isn't that what living in a democratic society is about?

Posted by Beth
a resident of Danville
on Sep 9, 2009 at 8:03 am

Thanks, Kathy. Those Sarah Palin groupies on the far right just can't get beyond playing politics. Does anyone really believe they were worried about what Obama would say to their children? Obama's speech was the perfect excuse to start all their hate mongering again. Perhaps, they would rather have had GW tell their children how success in school was not contingent upon good grades and personal responsibility. Rather, drinking, drug use, and having a rich daddy are the keys to success in this country.

Posted by Sue
a resident of Alamo
on Sep 9, 2009 at 8:08 am

And, we wonder why we are Raising Generation "ME" ? Parents telling the Principal their kids won't be there if they are going to listen to a speech given by the PRESIDENT of the US?!
Sounds like the ultimate - entitlement/ rules don't apply to you and don't bother listening to any other adults either if you don't like what they have to say. Perhaps the kids may end up having different political opinions than their parents?....Imagine that!

Posted by Shari
a resident of Danville
on Sep 9, 2009 at 8:10 am

Just for the record, the WH did change the lesson plan because there was an emphasis on how kids could help them, not themselves. And, to comment on those of you who say you watched Bush with your kids, etc....last year my 2nd grader had students in his grade (here in D-ville) who would say that Bush was a murderer, stupid, and that they hated him. So-if some parents feel that way about BO, then I think the balance is there. I do not support BO's policies, for the most part, but this speech was by far the most conservative thing he's done. If only he'd implore his logic from this speech to all of his policies-America could get back on track from too many years of government misspending and misdirection (please note, that includes the previous 3 Presidents).

Posted by DW
a resident of Danville
on Sep 9, 2009 at 8:20 am

He did not say one thing I would not say to my kids as a parent. I thought it was great! I read the speech to my son because he could not go to school Tuesday. He listened, with a few comments, amazingly. Geez, we need to teach our kids to respect our President and our country. Seriously folks what is the problem???

Posted by Kevin
a resident of Danville
on Sep 9, 2009 at 8:26 am

Shari-- I'm so confused by your comments. So you say you do not support President Obama's policies - what if he came out (as he has done) saying we need to improve education? Sounds like you'd be one of the ones saying "stop the spending - waste of money - socialization of the country".

Posted by Les
a resident of Danville
on Sep 9, 2009 at 8:30 am

It is truly astonishing that the more radical members of the conservative right aren't embarrassed by such overt demonstrations of their ignorance.
"They never open their mouths without subtracting from the sum of
human knowledge." - Thomas Brackett Reed  

Posted by Rick
a resident of Danville
on Sep 9, 2009 at 8:54 am

Here's the deal ya'll...

If anyone is not aware, I'm a conservative. I voted for Barack Hussein Obama. I am proud of my vote because HE'S A CONSERVATIVE.

Only a black man with his name can speak truth to the minority communities, which he did yesterday.

He told them to stop their f***ing bellyaching and pull yourselves up by your own damned bootstraps.

For those who don't know politics and are not aware of the multitude of layers of the onion, no that speech was not aimed at white youths.

People whom I've argued with countless times could take heed from Obama's speech. He took the wind out of your sails. Stop talking about how the only reason the ghettos are full of gangbanging dropouts is because of their "structural inequailty," which doesn't exist in the first place, but even if it did, Obama's telling all of you to shut it. Get over it. Move on through your own good works.

God bless Obama for giving conservatives the ammunition they require to finally end this system of overwhelming overspending.

Posted by Bill
a resident of Danville
on Sep 9, 2009 at 9:02 am

My Tad certainly has an uplifting intelligent comment to share, grammar and spelling aside. I know his comments do not represent the majority of students in this district, and that is a relief.

Posted by Eilish
a resident of Danville
on Sep 9, 2009 at 9:07 am

What an opportunity to witness such a great mind in the White House. Thank you everyone who voted for Barack Obama. I find it so odd that folks are willing to show absolute disrespect for authority and insecurity about their ability to teach their own children to think and understand right from wrong. Why have you abdicated this to the media and you have done so when you fear the unknown *speech* and agitate over allowing your children to hear it!

Posted by Aaron
a resident of Alamo
on Sep 9, 2009 at 9:09 am


The "I can say disparaging things about blacks because I'm friends with one" argument doesn't fly, at all. Your views are about 40 years too late. Why don't you move to a retirement town like Rossmore . . . only in Idaho, with other paranoid old white people.

President Obama did something I would hope all great leaders do - speak to our children and seek to inspire. My first and third graders came home and told me about how the president "talked to us!" They got it. They were inspired and feel respect for the office of the president, a value greatly degraded in the past 20 years of divisive political backbiting.

Of course the current political climate is not nearly as bad as your race-baiting and fear mongering. You are a sad, and paranoid man with only a keyboard and the mask of the internet that allow you to vent your pathetic views.

Posted by Lin
a resident of Alamo
on Sep 9, 2009 at 9:14 am

I find it very disturbing that parents would actually consider not letting their children listen to what the President of their country would have to say to them. What sort of a lesson are they teaching them? Where is respect for those in positions of authority...especially one that has done no wrong and reached out to try to make the world a better place?

Posted by Danville neighbor and college professor
a resident of Monte Vista High School
on Sep 9, 2009 at 9:29 am

I brought Obama's speech into my college classrooms as well. The important thing is for students to be taught how to think for themselves. I think that Obama encourages students to do just that. He told them not to give up because they sometimes fail. Because his speech was addressed to students, he gave them a voice of their own.

Parents are not the owners of children but their guardians. The more we prepare students to become independent thinkers, the better decisions they can make for themselves when they become adults. I think that listening to Obama's speech and discussing it in a classroom helps students learn about their world. That IS the objective of education, after all.

Posted by Duffy
a resident of Danville
on Sep 9, 2009 at 10:45 am

Other than the outright lie in the third paragraph of his speech it was almost conservative.

"I know that feeling. When I was young, my family lived in Indonesia for a few years, and my mother didn’t have the money to send me where all the American kids went to school. So she decided to teach me extra lessons herself, Monday through Friday – at 4:30 in the morning."

According to his own autobigraphy, he was sent to an Indonesian school run by the Catholic Church - I think this is called a "private school." Perhaps his mother didn't have the money for the tuition but his step-father must have.

But then that isn't really a lie but merely a distortion of the truth!

Posted by Citizen Paine
a resident of Danville
on Sep 9, 2009 at 10:56 am

Oh my, Duffy -- is THAT all you've got?

-- because there just isn't any distortion to be found, even in your unfriendly characterization of both messages. Do you believe there's only one private school in Indonesia?

I guess it just reinforces his message about the importance of staying in school and learning to think.

Posted by Steve
a resident of Alamo
on Sep 9, 2009 at 10:56 am

I find it totally unacceptable that the "ME" generation parents did not want to let their kids hear President Obama’s speech to America’s schoolchildren Tuesday. When Presidents Reagan, Bush and others spoke to our nation's schools while in office, it was never an issue as to whether or not the address would be heard in the schools. Clearly, the decision not to let the President be heard live is a disgrace to the office of the President of the United States. Make no mistake; there was nothing political in the message, but the message we are sending our children is that we have let them know whether or not they can listen to the President who was overwhelmingly voted into office. How utterly ridiculous and how undemocratic in and of itself!

When former President Reagan spoke to school children people where honored to have the President – regardless of their political beliefs do so. There was no public outcry and talk of leaving our children home. I am saddened to see what has evolved and even sadder to know that some parents has opted out of this wonderful opportunity to hear our President uplift the benefits of education and encourage our children to give it their all.

We need to encourage our children to study and not watch TV, play video games or get involved with gangs. Think about it people the kids today are the future of the United States.

What is wrong with our country today?

Posted by Farmer Dave
a resident of Danville
on Sep 9, 2009 at 11:13 am

Farmer Dave is a registered user.

Oh Duffy,

You need to do a little research before you make your liar, liar claims. President Obama moved to Indonesia in 1967. He began attending the Basuki school, a public school that doesn't focus on religion, in 1969.

That would indicate TWO YEARS of home schooling.

Can this president do nothing right in your eyes, or must you find some evil in everything he does? Constructive criticism is one thing; paranoia is quite another.

Posted by Lou Natick
a resident of another community
on Sep 9, 2009 at 11:47 am

Beware! He says he wants to talk with the children, but it's really de wimmin he wants...

Posted by Anthony
a resident of Alamo
on Sep 9, 2009 at 12:27 pm

The "controversies" surrounding the public option, and now Obama's speech to our children, are manufactured to appear as though they're from the grassroots. These are not grassroots efforts. I suppose that if Obama invented a better lightbulb or found a cure for cancer, he'd be criticized for that, too.

Lou, that's funny! You almost made me pass a soda through my nose...

Posted by Just so you know
a resident of Walnut Creek
on Sep 9, 2009 at 2:41 pm

Just so you know is a registered user.

Obama's message of taking personal responsibility for your education was a good one.

I am opposed to showing live broadcasts to students, however. I was a student when the Challenger disaster occurred. It's best to record an event and then broadcast it to students to ensure they don't inadvertently become witnesses to an unfolding tragedy.

Posted by Mike
a resident of Danville
on Sep 9, 2009 at 3:33 pm

Who organized this spate of bitter Liberal write-in campaign? I'mreading this in disbelief!
THese e-mails vividly illustrate why our country has become so divided. Can't you control your emotions and approach the issues logically and rationally? And who is Kathy who tells me to move out of this country and Danville if I disagree with Obama. Kathy- I served in the US Armed forces for 20 years including combat duty and hazardous missions-just so that narrow minded people like you can have the freedom to spout out your venomous rhetoric which in essence wants to abrogate the freedom of speech to everyone who does not agree with you.
Since our country won its independence, we Americans have been free to express our opinions and chose whether we want to tune in to any of the Presidents' oratories. Would the Obama worshipers- such as the ones above, voicing their indignation at opposing points of views- insist on doing away with these rights?
And, by the way, Mike: I do read books as well as watch FOX, MSNBC, CNN, and other news outlets. Why are you so affraid of differing points of view? Maybe if you listened to and seriously considered comments and analyses from various sources, you might learn that freedom of speech and expression is what our country is all about, and that is what made the US of A such a great country to be a citizen of. Don't try to change it!

Posted by Citizen Paine
a resident of Danville
on Sep 9, 2009 at 3:45 pm

You know, I used to have a dog who would snarl and bite my other dog for no good reason -- and then whimper and play the victim when the bitee answered back and drubbed him.

If I ever get another dog like that, I think I'll name him "Mike."

Posted by Louise
a resident of Danville
on Sep 9, 2009 at 4:31 pm

Shari gets to the crux of the matter- "I was opposed to my 3rd grader watching it until I viewed it...just because I don't trust him. " Huh? I'd love to hear the reasons you don't trust Obama- His skin color? His middle name? The fact you believe he forged his birth certificate? or more generally you don't trust ALL liberals? ALL politicians? I must admit I generally don't trust ALL politicians (left or right) because they say what they need to get your money/vote. However, I LOVED this last presidential campaign because we had TWO very trustworthy candidates- this doesn't happen very often! So, Shari, why don't YOU trust Obama? Could be that you didn't trust your child to end up with the same opinion about Obama that you do? I totally agree with the college professor above about developing free thinkers- How is denying a student's right to listen to an opininon that may be different from yours allowing your child the ability to think and discuss his own opinions? Oh, but that may NOT be your ultimate goal. Too many parents seem hell bent on "owning" their childden's thoughts instead of letting them think for themselves. It gets down to "trusting" that others can have different opinions, including your own children!

Posted by Louise
a resident of Danville
on Sep 9, 2009 at 6:41 pm

And oh, for Mike: thanks for your service, and your good arguments, but it seems like you arguing exactly for Kathy's point- You can believe whatever you want, just don't refuse/allow others to have differing opinions.(I Think she was particularly arguing for those who would drag their children OUT OF SCHOOL, to avoid listening to OUR president although she didn't clarify this.) But she has the right to be irritated that she lives in the neighborhood as someone so narrowminded! I believe YOU certainly have the right not to listen to the president (despite it making you seem extremely narrow minded in his first year as president), but, it's denying this right to your children that seems cross the line. I'm curious: if you were still in the armed service, would you refuse to listen to the speech made by your commander-in-chief because you disagreed with his political views? Again, I can disagree with you but still honestly thank you for your service to ALL Americans!

Posted by Alamoite
a resident of Alamo
on Sep 9, 2009 at 7:40 pm

What about all those children who never got a chance to excell? yes, the many that didn't even get a chance to be born.....

Posted by cardfark
a resident of Diablo
on Sep 9, 2009 at 7:55 pm

"alamo-ite?" Is that vegetable or mineral?

Posted by Chet
a resident of Danville
on Sep 9, 2009 at 9:18 pm

Parents who decide not to let kids see an uplifting speech by Pres Obama are just plain dumb. What is sad is they are trying to make their kids the dumber in dumb and dumber.

Posted by Sharon
a resident of San Ramon Valley High School
on Sep 10, 2009 at 7:40 am

I'm so happy to see so many level-headed posts here. The expressions that I have seen in many DV topics have been incredibly disheartening. At least this topic has some even willing to challenge their previous held beliefs and open to the possibility that they could be mistaken. That takes a pretty big person.

I literally suffered through Bush's two terms of office, but if he spoke to my kids in their classroom, I would have taken the opportunity to make sure they knew that the president thought they were important and wanted to talk just to the kids in the schools. It's great to see parents that don't agree with the President's politics that seem to have done just that.

And Chet - gotta love that sense of humor!

Posted by Phil
a resident of Danville
on Sep 10, 2009 at 6:55 pm

Uh, Mike, in wondering why others cannot control their emotions and instead approach the issues logically and rationally, your post became quite emotional (angry) and not necessarily logical or rational. Please have another look.

Yes, it's always best if one can be dispassionate when expressing a logical or rational opinion.

Posted by Shari
a resident of Danville
on Sep 11, 2009 at 7:28 am

1. Education already is socialized. I have 10 years teaching expereince. I don't like unfunded mandates. I would rather see money spent on vocational education and the improvement of meaningful education over stupid standardized tests that teach nothing more than how to take a test. Our kids need skills, not rote memorization and test taking regurgitation.

2. I don't trust Obama because I don't think he has the experience to be President, he has very questionable friends, and did I mention he's inexperienced. Plain and simple. He's never held a real job. He is very reminiscent of Woodrow Wilson. An idealist. Wilson wasn't a bad president-but he didn't understand the "game". Unfortunately it is a game. Wilson lost out on world peace because he couldn't coalition build. Obama will lose out on meaningful health insurance reform because he cannot coalition build. He and his people are too polarizing. William Ayers, Rev Wright and Van Jones...all loons. Race has nothing to do with it. You don't know anything about me, obviously, and just because I don't trust him-doesn't mean I am a racist. It means that I don't trust him, his advisors, and the people who support him. Have you read Blink? the Gift of Fear? I don't watch any major media-period. I just have a gut feeling that I don't trust him. Sorry that I cannot drink the Kool Aid like you! Distrust is ALWAYS better than blind obedience.

Posted by Shari
a resident of Danville
on Sep 11, 2009 at 7:31 am

And, for what it's worth-my biggest criticism of CA schools, NCLB, etc is that they don't teach free thinking and critical analysis. As a parent, I have a RIGHT to CENSOR whatever my 8 year old sees or hears. THAT'S MY JOB AS A PARENT!!!! Louise-how many kids do you have?

Posted by Michael
a resident of Walnut Creek
on Sep 11, 2009 at 8:27 am

Rick, the discussion you bring to this forum would be entertaining if not so outright bigoted and full of venom. President Obama was elected based on his ability to get the job done, not his race or the fact that his name is different. President Obama was elected for all the reasons even you Rick, would want the President of this country elected. Because he is brilliant, he is tactical and at least we are certain that we as a country won't be getting into another war because of a need to retaliate. Rick, you are a very proud man.

Posted by Rick
a resident of Danville
on Sep 11, 2009 at 8:45 am

I never said I voted for him because of his race (although we know a lot of blacks did. Dont deny it). I said I like him because he appears to be more conservative than what comes across at first look. His speech to America's youth, in particular I believe minorities, was to pull themselves up by their own bootstraps. No more making excuses about whitey and looking for a handout. Read my comment. I believe you may have misconstrued it.

Posted by Gomez
a resident of Danville
on Sep 11, 2009 at 9:56 am

Why is it that when a white male has a difference of opinion, he is considered a racist? I do not support the policies of our President, but that doesn't make me a racist. I just have a different view on the issues facing our country. That being said, I had no problem with my kids watching the President's speech. The office deserves its proper respect. However, I do take issue with most of you "preaching" to us that we should respect the President. I didn't see a lot of respect from the "left" for our last President.
Last thought...FDR gave us Social Security, Johnson gave us welfare, and now Obama will give us Healthcare. These three programs are never ending entitlement programs that this country will never be able to pay for in the future. How about truly reforming healthcare as opposed to another entitlement program?

Posted by Michael
a resident of Walnut Creek
on Sep 11, 2009 at 10:12 am

C'mon Rick, you can not stand behind your statement as not being racist when you point out that the President's speech was not for white youth. If it wasn't racist why then wouldn't you believe the speech was for everyone and not just a few? BTW, I am a Republican and have been for twenty years. People that I know vote based on the best person for the job rule.

Posted by DW Reader
a resident of Alamo
on Sep 15, 2009 at 4:20 pm


Nice way to teach your children. These right wingers are not so subetly hiding their racism. They can't stand that the citizens of the US properly (unlike W's supreme court election) elected an african american as President.

Move to Alabama, South Carolina, Mississippi, join the KKK, seceed from this country, but keep away from my kids at the San Ramon Valley schools.

Posted by Rick
a resident of Danville
on Sep 15, 2009 at 6:08 pm

[Post removed due to disrespectful comment or offensive language]

Posted by Just so you know
a resident of Walnut Creek
on Sep 16, 2009 at 6:23 pm

Just so you know is a registered user.

If you want to protect your children please support the 2010 California Marriage Protection Act. Let's get it on the ballot.

Posted by FlameHaze
a resident of another community
on Oct 15, 2009 at 1:57 pm

[Post will be removed due to disrespectful comment or offensive language]

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