No board vote on Obama speech

September 8, 2009 10:29:39 AM PDT
A Wake County school board member failed in his attempt Tuesday to get his colleagues on the record on President Obama's nationwide speech to school children.Conservatives have criticized the address - calling it an attempt at leftist indoctrination. The White House has called the claim ridiculous and asked what's wrong with the President encouraging kids to stay in school and work hard.

Wake school board member Ron Margiotta objected to the way the White House organized the speech and wanted other school board members to vote up or down on whether they supported showing the speech in the classroom.

"I wouldn't care if it were President Reagan, or if Abraham Lincoln were resurrected from the dead. We just don't need political figures to take over our schools," offered Margiotta.

Margiotta failed to get support for a vote from any other board members at a meeting Tuesday morning and the issue was referred to the board's policy committee.

The idea of a president speaking directly to public school students is not new. It's been done before, by other commanders-in-chief during the modern era.

"There was never any objection to having President Bush addressing school children, never any objection to having President Reagan address school children. I'm not sure why this issue is raised now," said board member Lori Millberg.

She said she supports letting the President encourage kids to stay in school.

"I believe that school children should be allowed to hear his comments. Certainly if a parent chooses to have their child excluded from that that's fine," she said.

Neither Margiotta nor Millberg actually read the president's remarks that were posted online a day prior to the speech to students.

"I've heard bits and pieces of it. I don't think anything's wrong with the speech, to be honest with you. But again, some of the follow ups to that speech, on the part of our staff members, is something that could be objectionable," said Margiotta.

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