Video: New Jersey Children Taught to Sing Obama’s Praises

This video raises an interesting question for educators and lawyers alike. These students at B. Bernice Young Elementary School in Burlington, NJ are being taught to chant and sing praises of President Barack Obama. Is that an appropriate exercise in a public school or does it smack of the type of cult of personality that we see in other nations?

The United States has always prided itself in the fact that we select citizens to lead for limited periods with limited powers. The President does not solely exercise the power of the United States, but exercises that power with two other branches. The training of students to chant or sing his praises seems out of place in our system and threatens to mix politics with education — particularly for children so young. I doubt many liberal families would be delighted to hear their children singing about George Bush in the same way.

The same controversy arose when a middle school teacher in Missouri arranged the video below. She was later suspended:

There is a considerable difference between the two tapes.

The lyrics and chant are certainly less militant:

Mmm, mmm, mmm, Barack Hussein Obama
He said all should lend a hand to make the country strong again
Mmm, mmm, mmm, Barack Hussein Obama
He said we must be fair today, equal work means equal pay.
Mmm, mmm, mmm, Barack Hussein Obama
He said take a stand, make sure everyone gets a chance
Mmm, mmm, mmm, Barack Hussein Obama
He said red, yellow, black and white, all are equal in his sight
Mmm, mmm, mmm, Barack Hussein Obama
Yeah! Barack Hussein Obama
…Hello Mr. President, We honor you today
For all your great accomplishments, we all do say hooray
Hooray, Mr. President you are No. 1
The first black American to lead this nation

This is not exactly a North Korean “Dear Leader” chant and certainly people like Michele Malkin appear to have taken this to an extreme of claiming indoctrination and fanaticism. However, I must confess that I feel uncomfortable with public school kids learning songs and chants for individual sitting presidents. It tends to reaffirm a type of cult of personality that we have seen with some prior presidents like George W. Bush and now Obama. I am also not comfortable with public school kids being taught to sing that a president is “No. 1” given the opposition of some parents to his election or his policies.

This is why I love Constitution Day. It celebrates what really makes our nation strong: not our all-powerful or all-loving leaders but a document that allows citizens to protect themselves from tyranny. I find that these type of songs send the wrong message.

What do you think?

74 thoughts on “Video: New Jersey Children Taught to Sing Obama’s Praises”

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  2. I still feel strong revulsion in how this singular event 7 months after its occurrence became so exploited in the media(fox). It was one foolish teacher acting who it has been reported retired at the end of the school year.

    It seems appropriate to quote William Safire today:

    “Insist on columns taking on only the truly powerful, and then only kicking them when they’re up.”

  3. Byron,

    I think it is always good public policy to have our schools teach useful information. Facts about sex are useful.

    Supporters of abstinence only (until marriage) sex education programs say it promotes the only method that is 100% effective in preventing pregnancy and STD’s.

    Critics say the abstinence only programs don’t deter teens from having sex and leave teens without crucial information on avoiding STD’s and pregnancy; and in some cases the programs provide false information about contraceptives generally, and efficacy in particular.

    While some studies do show teens who took “virginity pledges” as part of abstinence only programs, started sexual activity later and had fewer partners then did their peers; they were just as likely to contract STD’s and get pregnant. These teens tended not to use contraceptives regularly when they did become sexually active, and engaged in oral and anal sex in the belief that such activity did not violate their “pledge”.

    Many conservatives have argued that just giving teens information about birth control and how to avoid STD’s is to encourage teenage sex. Contrary to the tenets of abstinence only until marriage programs, premarital sex is nearly universal.

    The federal government has funded these programs with hundreds of millions of dollars for years is it money well spent?

  4. CEJ:

    I tried to teach my kids that, I don’t think it worked. A buddy of mine says I am going against a couple of million years of human evolution. But we are sentient beings and do have will power, we are not controlled by the lizard brain.
    With that being said I think you should teach both or neither.

    It actually isn’t up to the state to be teaching human sexuality. They can certainly teach human sexual biology as part of a biology class but human sexuality is complex and better left to the family and the individual.

  5. Puzzling and Denny,

    I agree that this partisan presentation was inappropriate and offensive but I don’t think it rises to the level of alarm you and many others are suggesting.

    If the President, the White House, the Secretary of Education, or the school Principal had sent “Our Wonderful Leader Songs” set to the music of christian hymnals to All public schools and ordered or even suggested that they be sung I would join the protest.

    This seems to be maybe one wacky teacher (not school wide sanctioned) who implemented a not so well thought out idea.
    I stand by my post @10:23pm and don’t think we are on the slippery slope to socialism.


    “It surpasses the last shocking incident involving school children in 2006, where children were forced to sing praises to Laura Bush.”

    Again your kidding right!
    As John Puma posted @2:21pm where were all “the extreme right temper tantrums caused by this cute ditty.(Of all topics, Katrina!!???)”

    At least the 2006 incident which was staged as a very public presentation and was very well organized in comparison, the parents who gave prior consent, had every expectation they might be opening up their children to potential public ridicule.


    I visited your site and found it as you might say “creepy, shocking and disturbing.” Nah! Actually it made me laugh!
    If you want an example of truly outrageous indoctrination how about the federally funded absurd Abstinence Only sex-ed programs!

    P.S. “When I think back on all the crap I learned in …”

  6. This DOES remind me of the ‘Dear Leader’ in North Korea. Anyone who does not take offense to this should just substitute the words “Barack Hussein Obama” with “George W. Bush.” If you still aren’t convinced, take a trip to Cuba and see REAL socialism without dissent (equals communism).

    Thanks for listening,

  7. CEJ,

    This is blatant manipulation of emotionally and intellectually immature children. What else should we call it?

    Many religious believers insist that children be inculcated with religious ideas as young as possible. This tells us something about religion.

  8. puzzling,

    “The more I have thought about the incident,the more I see it as a form of outright child abuse.”

    Your kidding, right?

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