Obama to address students on education, responsibility

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Richard Essex/Eyewitness News

Indianapolis - President Obama's nationwide speech to students is scheduled for noon Tuesday, but not all Indiana students will be watching.

The president's speech is already available online. Obama will speak at Wakefield High School in Arlington, Virginia at noon eastern time. The speech is 2,453 words and there seems to be an opinion to match every word.

Maurice and Sheila Butler both voted for President Obama. They read the speech the president is giving Tuesday to the nation's school children. They could find nothing in the speech they were opposed to. 

"I've talked about your teachers' responsibility for inspiring you and pushing you to learn," the speech says.

"I think it is positive. I don't see anything that is negative or anything I would not want my children to see," said Maurice Butler.

Still, he would prefer that the speech not be given during school hours.

"That way it is not up to the school as far as politics. Politics shouldn't be in the school," said Butler.

Roderick Edwards, a Whiteland High School parent, feels the same.

"I just think the whole thing is political because obviously a politician is always going to be political. I don't care if you are Republican or Democrat," Edwards said.

He plans on taking his daughter out of school if the speech is mandatory viewing.

"It seems innocent enough but what he is trying to do is get the kids on board with his agenda," insisted Edwards.

In this case, Obama's agenda appears to be encouraging children to stay in school and get an education so they can realize their full potential. The speech does not delve into policy.

Many parents we talked with from both sides of the political spectrum are saying the same thing - that the speech doesn't belong in school. They want to filter the information.

"I don't think it should be up to the district. If it were me I would have it in a evening when the parents are home with the children. I think would be a better time," said Butler.

Obama will begin the speech by talking about his education in Indonesia. Because his mother didn't have enough money to send him to school with other American children, she made him get up early for lessons that she administered.

Later on in the speech, he talks about taking responsibility for one's education, and the importance of finding a field to excel in. Whatever that may be, Obama says to kids that they'll need an education to pursue their dreams.

"Every single one of you has something you're good at. Every single one of you has something to offer. And you have a responsibility to yourself to discover what that is. That's the opportunity an education can provide," he says.

The president will end the speech with, "Don't let us down. Don't let your family down or your country or yourself...make us all proud."

President Obama is not the first president to address American children directly. George W. Bush did so in 2001, and his father George HW Bush did in 1991.