Obama’s education speech is no cause for dispute

Protests against President Barack Obama seem to be getting louder every day, and some conservative leaders are now challenging the president over the most banal actions.

Obama will deliver a speech Sept. 8 directly to students in America’s schools. In a letter sent to school principals, U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan said Obama would remind students of the importance of an education.

“The president will challenge students to work hard, set educational goals and take responsibility for their learning,” Duncan said.

Democrats and Republicans should be able to agree with the president on the importance of education, and it is difficult to imagine why such a speech would provoke partisan debate.

Republican Party of Florida Chairman Jim Greer condemned the speech in a press release Tuesday, calling it “Obama’s attempt to indoctrinate students.”

Greer said, “The idea that school children across our nation will be forced to watch the president justify his plans for government-run health care, banks and automobile companies, increasing taxes on those who create jobs and racking up more debt than any other president, is not only infuriating, but goes against beliefs of the majority of Americans, while bypassing American parents through an invasive abuse of power.”

Greer is trying to provoke a confrontation by bringing up partisan issues that have absolutely nothing to do with Obama’s speech. What is most surprising is that nowhere in the press release does Greer even mention that the speech is on education.

Greer believes the president is trying to infiltrate the schools because “the Democrats have clearly lost the battle to maintain control of the message this summer.”

Political debate in this country should not become a shouting contest, where the side that shouts the loudest wins. While conservatives have plenty of reasons to disagree with Obama’s policies, there is nothing objectionable about this speech. Tommy Vietor, a White House spokesman, explained the speech in an interview with foxnews.com.

“The goal of the speech and the lesson plans is to challenge students to work hard in school, to not drop out and to meet short-term goals like behaving in class, doing their homework and goals that parents and teachers alike can agree are noble,” he said. “This isn’t a policy speech. This is a speech designed to encourage kids to stay in school.”

It is hard for healthy debate to occur when Republican leaders react so adversely to issues that should have bipartisan support.