If anyone isn’t convinced that Rep. John Kline has taken on a new role in the Republican Party, a letter the congressman sent to the White House yesterday might make them a true believer.
Kline, the top Republican on the House Education and Labor Committee, sent a letter to President Obama requesting a preview of next week’s speech to millions of students so that parents can determine whether it is appropriate for children. The speech has been billed as the first time “an American president has spoken directly to the nation’s school children about persisting and succeeding in school.”
“Just as parents are able to review a textbook before it is used or consider a planned field trip before children leave the classroom, public consideration of your remarks in advance of the live address would ensure parents can review them, make an informed decision about whether the material is appropriate for their children, and engage them accordingly,” Kline wrote along with Republican Policy Committee Chairman Thaddeus McCotter, R-MI.
The four-term congressman noted that “questions have arisen” about the purpose of the speech, and said a preview of the text would “facilitate the public’s understanding” of the event. Alexa Marrero, a spokeswoman for the Republicans on Kline’s committee, said several House members have approached them with concerns from constituents about Obama delivering a political speech to students.
Part of that concern, Merrero added, arises from the Department of Education’s suggested activities and discussions for schoolteachers. Though the DoE instructions have since been revised, they once encouraged students to write themselves a letter discussing “how to help the president.”
Following the release of Kline’s letter, the White House said it would post the text of the speech online, though it’s not clear how far in advance, according to the Washington Post.