State Superintendent Tom Horne: Critical of Worshipful Tone

The Office of Tom Horne, State Superintendent of Public Instruction, has released the following statement regarding President Obama’s speech to students next Tuesday:


(Thursday, September 3, 2009) — State School Superintendent Tom Horne has raised questions about a White House effort to have students in schools watch a speech on the web, and react to it according to a curriculum provided by the White House. A copy of the White House communication is attached to this press release.

Horne stated: “An important part of educating students is to teach them to read and listen critically. The White House materials call for a worshipful, rather than critical approach to this speech. For example, the White House communication calls for the students to have “notable quotes excerpted (and posted in large print on the board),” and for the students to discuss “How will he inspire us,” among other things. There is nothing in these White House materials about approaching the speech critically, or engaging in any critical thinking whatsoever, but only adopting a reverent approach to everything they are being told.”

Horne added: “In general, in keeping with good education practice, students should be taught to read and think critically about statements coming from politicians and historical figures.”

Obama Speech Pre K-6 Guidelines
Obama Speech 7-12 Guidelines

You can also follow the Arizona Department of Education on Facebook and Twitter.



    Of course he is.

    And he’s not at all trying to placate the braying base.

  2. I agree that he is using this to his advantage. He still is right.

    The White House and the Department of Education changed the section“Write letters to themselves about what they can do to help the president “ to now read, “Write letters to themselves about how they can achieve their short‐term and long‐term education goals.”

    If you don’t see the difference in the two then this conversation isn’t for you. I for one think President Obama talking to our school children is a great thing but he must stay off controversial issues. I will be watching closely.

  3. Good job Tom! The American people have figured out Obama is clueless. Now the wee-weed-One is playing the “I love children card” to try and puff up his poll numbers.

    Responsible people should not let him get away from it.

  4. Veritas Vincit says

    How many other presidential speeches came with guidelines for teachers to follow???

    This is propaganda crap and an abuse of his office.

  5. Rightwoman Gayle says

    Thank you Mr. Horne!!

  6. Probably better to ban the speech from Arizona public schools. The students, teachers, administrators and parents wouldn’t understand it anyway. Better to have Sarah and John lecture on Joe the Plumber.

  7. Funny, liberal intellectuals. YOU think you are going to be one of the masters in this agonizing play. You won’t. You above all have tasted the bait with drooling lips and do not see the trap. Those of us who still have a sense of self-preservation and self-reliance aren’t fooled by the bait. Yes, it has a great variety of names and there is more and more tossed out to the hungry and depressed and STILL most of have the instinct for self preservation even though each may not recognize the EXACTNESS of the PROCESS of all of these wonderful tidbits thrown our way.

    Take a moment and see the master plan of each bill coming down the pike. Take a moment and see the thread of personality that runs through the czars, each of whom could not survive the vetting process. Look at the fear in Frank’s and Pelosi’s eyes as they contemplate the loss of this great plan and most of all, see their power slipping away.

    I say throw water on it and see it go up in smoke “eh? my pretties?” Might as well quote from the Wizard of Oz as we live the script. Remember: Emerald is green. In the end Dorothy lived thru some agonizing horrors, but ultimately gave up the wonder and rewards of OZ. She chose the farm (home) where everyone did their job and life was not guaranteed to be easy.

  8. This “speech” to students was made controversial intentionally by the administration to take everyone’s attention away from the health care debate. Keep your eye on the ball people.

  9. Are you kidding me? Wake up people! The ‘health care debate’? Did it occur to you that the health care debate is to take attention away from the nuclear weapons that are placed around Russia? Who is reporting this stuff on the news? No one in America, that’s for sure.

  10. Veritas Vincit says

    Kurthro, have you always suffered from a superiority complex? And changing the topic to John and Sarah who aren’t involved in this (and haven’t made a speech directly to children asking them to “help him”) isn’t valid argument. We call it a non-sequitur

  11. Rich Freeman says

    I think the larger issue here is the president has polarized Americans which are broken into two groups: you either voted for him, or you didn’t. Its a shame really. Those who didn’t, are using any White House initiative (as in this speech) as a pretext for condemnation. And what’s truly sad, as demonstrated with the protests over Health Care reform, the mis-information incites anger and outrage, and propagates the cycle. My fear is the outrage is really masking what could be racist undertones. I hope I’m wrong.

    In a perfect world; we would a) show respect for the President, and the office (whether you voted for him or not); and b) sit back and let him do his job.

    If after 4 years, he hasn’t improved the country, then everyone has a chance to vote someone else into office. That’s how it works.

  12. Rich,

    “If after 4 years, he hasn’t improved the country, then everyone has a chance to vote someone else into office. That’s how it works.”

    Richard, you don’t understand. The right was sold the idea that there was a permanent conservative majority. Ignoring 270+ years of American history, they actually believed this.

    It has completely shattered their worldview, and sent many people off the rails. Look at VV and his belief in the “Birther” mythology. He didn’t lose… there is a vast, mutli-national, multi-generational conspiracy that stole the election. It’s akin to believing the pyramids were built by aliens or that Bertrand Russell’s teapot orbits the sun – you can’t NOT prove it to be false.

    They’ve become everything they despised about the left over the last 8 years, and they cannot see it, as they have been struck blind by their own fear.

    This doesn’t apply to all conservatives. I don’t even think it applies to most conservatives. But they’ve taken a back seat to the radicals, because they’re afraid to speak out.

  13. Oh, and queue VV calling me a racist for calling him out on Birtherism in 5… 4… 3… 2… 1.

    I also don’t like Hee-Haw re-runs and Wonder Bread. More grist for VV’s mill.

  14. Rich Freeman says


    Let’s hope you are right and this view doesn’t apply to all conservatives. I’m a bit dismayed by the frenzy.

    I guess that old adage, the “noisy wheel gets the grease” applies here – all the media attention is focused on that small spectrum. It must change, otherwise, those with the intellectual capacity to discern between fact and myth will be driven insane.

  15. “Let’s hope you are right and this view doesn’t apply to all conservatives. I’m a bit dismayed by the frenzy.”

    It’s all very similar to the political science model for revolutions. Starts off with the moderates. Then the radicals take over. Then there’s a period of violence. Then the radicals kill themselves out of power, and then it goes back to the moderates and stablity.

    Right now at least, we’re dealing with metaphor.

    Moderates are afraid to speak out, lest they stand accused of being part of the “enemy” (RINO, squish, whatever the term is). For a great pop culture analysis of this phenomenon, I recommend the Star Trek: TNG episode “The Drumhead”.

  16. Klute..don’t you dare drag Star Trek into politics, them fighting words 🙂

  17. Locke,

    Heh! I’ll even start you off!

    The rest of the episode can be viewed in parts. It’s VERY revelant to the times we live in.

  18. I remember the episode where Data endorses capital punishment, remember that one 🙂 I will watch it later after goodness I am a nerd good thing I post anonymous

  19. I know that I am with “my people” when we are having a very deep intellectual conversation and somebody slips in a Star Trek line. I’m the grandpa in this situation and on Tuesday Grandpa is showing up to class and taking my grand-daughters out for ice cream. Yes we can!

  20. Basil St. John says

    Papa, I can’t think of a better way of showing that you disagree with Obama’s message of “stay in school and study hard” than helping your grandkids play hooky and showing them that school isn’t important! Bravo! Let’s ensure kids understand that if your political opponent says it’s true, then it must be false. After all, if we’re going to control what our kids do, we need to control what they think, and exposure to ideas different from ours could interfere with that.

  21. Basil,

    It’s the American way. If you don’t like what someone has to say, you put your fingers in your ear and shout “LA LA LA I CAN’T HEAR YOU!”.

    If theres one thing the Founders stood for, it was lack of political debate, and not listening to opposing views.

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