Obama to Push Personal Responsibility in Controversial School Speech

Obama's Back-to-School Speech Controversy

But not all educators agree. Some school districts are refusing to broadcast the president's live remarks after parents complained that Obama is using the address to indoctrinate their children. Some parents threatened to pull their kids out of school if the address was shown, citing fears that the president was going to use the opportunity to promote some kind of political agenda.

Some callers to the Joyce Kaufman radio show on WFTL in Florida Friday also took issue with having their children listen to the president speak.

One parent promised his child would not be in class, saying, "He does not have to sit in on this, he does not have to go to school and he sure as hell does not have to listen to what he has to say."

The firestorm surrounding the planned speech erupted when the Department of Education put out lesson plans suggesting that students, after watching the president's speech, write a letter about how they could "help the president."

The Department of Education has since removed the wording on the lesson plan after many argued it was a way of indoctrinating students.

Oddly enough, the original wording of the Obama lesson plan is remarkably similar to the request made by President Bush in 1991, when he asked an eighth-grade classroom, "Write me a letter about ways you can help us achieve our goals."

But the White House is still on the defensive.

Arne Duncan, the secretary of education, said Sunday on CBS's "Face the Nation" that the president's message is not political.

"The whole message is about personal responsibility and challenging students to take their education very, very seriously," he said.

Lamar Alexander, who was Bush's education secretary in 1991 and is currently a senator from Tennessee, is one Republican who defended Obama's plan. He said today on "Fox News Sunday" that schools should use the president's speech as an opportunity.

"If I were a teacher, I'd take advantage of it, and I'd put up Lincoln and Eisenhower and Reagan and teach about the presidency," Alexander said.

That's exactly what Mostoller said she plans to do Tuesday when her students listen to the president's speech.

"Whether they agree with his message or not, they still need to be informed citizens and learn to make their own decisions," Mostoller said. "And that is what education is about."

ABC News' Rachel Martin, Kathleen Hendry and Matt Hosford contributed to this report.

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