Numerous conservatives have claimed that President Obama's upcoming September 8 speech about "persisting and succeeding in school," along with classroom activities about the "importance of education," will "indoctrinate" and "brainwash" schoolchildren. Conservatives have compared Obama's address to Chinese communism and the Hitler Youth, while also calling for parents to "keep your kids home" from the "fascist in chief."
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Fox News' Major Garrett uncritically quoted a portion of an ad by Sen. John McCain's campaign that claimed that Sen. Barack Obama's biggest accomplishment on education was teaching "comprehensive sex education to kindergartners." Garrett gave no explanation of Obama's actual position on sex education, provided no response from the Obama campaign, and gave no indication that he had sought such a response, nor did Garrett note that the bill Obama supported would have required school sexual education programs to give "age and developmentally appropriate" materials and instruction for students in kindergarten through 12th grade and included material warning children about sexual predators.
Washington Post editorial page editor Fred Hiatt falsely claimed that Sen. Barack Obama "derided" teaching math and reading to "all children, especially poor and minority children" as "preparing children 'to fill in bubbles on standardized tests.' " In fact, Obama suggested that preparation for standardized tests shouldn't "come at the expense of music, or art, or phys. ed., or science." Hiatt also claimed that Sen. John McCain is the only current presidential candidate with "principles" that he "holds strongly enough to take an electoral hit" on issues such as the Iraq war, immigration, and "curbing the influence of money in politics." But McCain has shifted positions and demonstrated inconsistencies on all three of those issues.
A Washington Post editorial suggested that No Child Left Behind had led to improvements in reading and math test scores documented in a recent study. But as an earlier Post news article noted, the authors of that study "warned that it is difficult to say whether or how much the No Child Left Behind law is driving the achievement gains."