President Reagan’s Speech to Students

Far-right members of the Texas State Board of Education critical of President Obama’s planned speech to students next week apparently have selective memories. While they’re concerned that the president will politicize classrooms and try to “indoctrinate” students with a political agenda they oppose (even though the speech is simply about the importance of staying in school and getting a good education), they’re ignoring an earlier president who actually did drag politics into the classroom: Ronald Reagan.

As Media Matters reports, on Nov. 14, 1988, President Reagan addressed and took questions from students from four middle schools. The event was broadcast by C-Span and fed to schools across the country. During the event, President Reagan launched into a defense of tax cuts even in the face of growing budget deficits. He pressed the case that lowering taxes actually increases government revenue, an argument that Media Matters notes is sharply disputed by economists.

So we wonder whether far-right members of the State Board of Education will now denounce President Reagan for trying to indoctrinate students with his political agenda. But we won’t be holding our breath.

11 thoughts on “President Reagan’s Speech to Students

  1. TFN, you gotta admit, the TBOE has really been handing you a constant stream of astounding things to write about. This is another jaw-dropping example. Wow.

  2. Fascinating that the Obama-haters don’t want their kids to hear the president tell them to “work hard and stay in school.” Apparently, they feel that is a dangerous message for their kids to hear.

    Does this mean that the message they’d prefer their kids to hear is “DON’T work hard, and DON’T stay in school.”

  3. Whats wrong with a message of “Take advantage of the opportunity in front of you, work hard to make your family and and yourself proud.” The message shouldn’t be I the President challenge you and expect you, the message should be challenge yourself because your parents and your teachers are the ones that will hold them accountable and not the President.

    The problem with the event wasn’t as much about the speech it was the ridiculous lesson plan that was released with it!

  4. I just viewed archived speeches addressing America’s students of President Reagan (’88) and President Bush (’91). I read earlier this morning, the text of President Obama’s address to students in class today. I do not have a problem with President’s Obama’s message. I think I’m questioning the timing and why he feels he need to do so. With such weighty issues like US health care reform (which will ultimately impact countries around the globe) and the US involvement in more than one war, I’m wondering why now? I work in education as a school superintendent’s secretary. How many times a day do I encourage students to stay in school? How many times did I encourage my own two children , not to just stay in school, but to excel in school? I don’t think any President of the United States can deliver a message to encourage students to stay in school and graduate any more poweful and sincere than already being delivered on any given day by parents, grandparents, family members, relatives, and educators.

  5. Donna, I think the answer to your question regarding the timing of the speech is simply that a new school year is beginning.

  6. Donna is (was, now) struggling to find any possible reason to object to the speech. Her reasons kept changing. Why is that, Donna?

  7. Concerned parent is concerned.

    Ben, do you think any of these “concerned” people have any sense of reality outside themselves? I mean, do they have the capacity for self-reflection, to ask themselves if they’re being honest or fair regarding this president vs just about any president before now?

    Perhaps it’s just the conservative/right wing hatred for Dems/liberals in general, as we saw with President Clinton, amped up and boosted by echo chambers an order of magnitude more wired and ubiquitous than in the 1990’s. ( To be honest, I detested the thought of George W. Bush as president at least 10 months or so before the election, as I learned about his craven actions as Governor, his very likely awol status from the Reserves, his documented bad business sense, his family name enabling him to get paid large sums of money for his success at driving every company he ran, right into the ditch. To say I was astonished when he won the election is an understatement-I mean, c’mon; By all rights he shouldn’t have carried more than a couple of bass ackwards states, from where I was sitting. )

    I guess I’m bloviating to make the point that Donna may not be evading the question so much as, she may just not be able to put her finger on the reason, but she knows she doesn’t trust/like Barack Hussein Obama, and she’s unable to step out of her mindset to see how her reasoning looks to others.

    Yes, if I was running Lucy’s psychiatric stand, I’d have to charge half-price, or 2 for $.05 cents.

  8. trog, I think you’ve pretty much nailed it. I’m a moderate—liberal on some issues, conservative on others—but from my perspective, here in the middle, the right wing has a bunch more people who are dogmatic and uncompromising. That, and a bunch of flat-out nutjobs. I don’t see that as much on the liberal side.

  9. Exactly. Believe me, I’m pretty liberal, especially for an middle-aged guy, and just about every leftwing website I visit is pointing out the faults of Pres. Obama, and I and a fiscal-conservative econ. professor I read, were appalled by the FISA/Telecom Immunity renege, and we haven’t been impressed enough to forgive him as yet, since he’s been very much less than open about renditions and other foreign policy topics.

    Aww, I was gonna list some faults of Bush that went relatively unsung by the right, but you know them all as well as I. There’s a difference of opinion, and there’s blatant refusal to even acknowledge the lies pushed by just about every cabinet member of Bush’s administration, by people that otherwise are reasonably intelligent.

    I guess it’s like rape; I can’t see anything worthwhile in forcing someone to have sex. I just don’t get it.