The White House has dismissed criticism over President Barack Obama's
upcoming back-to-school address to the nation's schoolchildren.
spokesman Robert Gibbs said Friday the country has reached a "silly
season" when the president of the United States cannot tell children to
study hard and stay in school.
Some conservatives say President
Obama is using the opportunity to promote a political agenda and is
overstepping the boundaries of government involvement in schools.
White House says the speech Tuesday is not a policy speech. It says
the president will challenge students to work hard, set goals and take
responsibility for their learning.
School districts in at least
six states say they will not show the speech in classrooms after
objections from some administrators and parents.
sparked criticism after U.S. Education Secretary Arne Duncan sent a
letter to school principals urging them to allow their students to
watch. The Department of Education also had material that included a
suggestion that students write themselves a note on how they can "help
The Department of Education has since updated
the material to instead ask students to write a note about how they can
achieve their long-term and short-term education goals.
Obama is to deliver the address Tuesday at a high school in the
southern state of Virginia, in Arlington County, just outside
Washington. The speech will be broadcast live on the White House Web
site and the C-SPAN cable network.
Those in support of the
president's speech have noted former Republican President George H.W.
Bush also addressed students live on television in 1991.
Some information for this report was provided by AP.