President Obama's Speech to School Kids Today

What was all the fuss about the Presidential Back-to-School Speech today?

This is the link to read President Obama's speech:

The President spoke to students in Virginia and talked about staying on track, staying in school, and working hard being the way to succeed. He told the kids that neither race nor background are the determining factors of your future success – you are the master of your destiny.

Obama made references to current events and pop-culture to bring it home for the students: Facebook, Google and Twitter were all created by students sitting in the same chairs 20 years ago; Michael Jordan was cut from his high school basketball team before he succeeded playing basketball; J.K. Rowling's first Harry Potter book was rejected twelve times before it got published. These examples, I thought, were right on the money for those aspiring high school seniors writing college application essays since some of the recent essay questions ask to describe a situation where the applicant had to try, try, again until they succeeded at something.

Among the reasons the speech created some controversy, it seems, was due to the Department of Education issuing lesson plans  for teachers to use after the speech, which included writing prompts students could use to express how they could help President Obama or how he's inspired them.

Classroom time in our school district has been taken up with other less motivational material than this speech; from watching Star Wars to An Inconvenient Truth filled more than a couple of hours of lesson time. And if indoctrination was suspected in President Obama's speech, then I think the latter movie was a close call in this respect for our local students.

In any case, Obama's speech was actually just a pep-talk, and not the political promotion of the present administration some thought it would be.

So, let's move on now … and enjoy this wonderful back-to-school season!

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