Commentary: Teaching fear is the wrong lesson for schoolchildren

The audacity of the man!

How dare the president take precious time away from the curriculum to tell students about the value of education.

How dare President Bush address children to urge them to work hard and stay in school.

Oh, wait, it isn't either of the President Bushes whose classroom addresses are being lambasted by hysterical political foes.

It's President Barack Obama's plan to give a televised speech on education to schoolchildren that has Obama haters railing about a sinister plot to indoctrinate impressionable minds with his "leftist-socialist ideology."

This is simply irresponsible fear-mongering.

What ever happened to respect for the office of the presidency? What ever happened to using a presidential speech as a teachable moment — for lively, reasoned discussion about everything from the role of the executive branch to the role of the federal government in public schools?

Some school districts are debating whether to air the president's planned speech on Tuesday because officials aren't sure about interrupting lesson plans or about their buildings' capacity to handle the video feed. Legitimate concerns.

But others are responding to astounding complaints from parents and political activists who, having not even seen what Obama plans to say, insist he's going to propagate a political message that's inappropriate for children to hear.

To read the complete editorial, visit The Fort Worth Star-Telegram.