In response to the blizzard of controversy over President Obama's planned back-to-school speech which was announced by the DOE last week, the White House has now released the transcript of the speech and posted it online so parents, principals, teachers, and those interested can read it in its entirety at www.whitehouse.gov.
Late last week, The Associated Press reported on their interview with White House deputy policy director Heather Higginbottom, who stated, "I think it's really unfortunate that politics has been brought into this," and also noted that President George H.W. Bush made a similar address to schools in 1991. Like Obama, Bush drew criticism, with Democrats accusing the Republican president of making the event into a campaign commercial.
The AP also noted that most of the criticism was about the lesson plans that were created to accompany the speech, particularly the ones recommending students to "write letters to themselves about what they can do to help the president." Higginbottom admitted that it was "inartfully worded" and the White House has since revised the wording to say "write letters to themselves about how they can achieve their short-term and long-term education goals."
The actual Back-to-School Speech is set for Tuesday, September 8th at 12:00 PM EDT at Wakefield High School in Arlington. The President's message will be streamed live on WhiteHouse.gov/live, and broadcast live on C-Span, or you can read the text in advance and decide how controversial it is for yourself.
Will this calm the storm and nullify the criticism? Time will tell, but maybe we will put our rulers and pencils back into our backpack, learn a few lessons from this current event and move on.