Tom Horne sought worship from public school students in 2006, adopted a reverent approach to GWB

04 Sep 2009 12:47 pm
Posted by: Donna

I’m still irritated by Tom Horne’s concern-trolling of the President’s address to public school students.


(Thursday, September 3, 2009) — State School Superintendent Tom Horne has raised questions about a White House effort to have students in schools watch a speech on the web, and react to it according to a curriculum provided by the White House. A copy of the White House communication is attached to this press release.

Horne stated: “An important part of educating students is to teach them to read and listen critically. The White House materials call for a worshipful, rather than critical approach to this speech. For example, the White House communication calls for the students to have “notable quotes excerpted (and posted in large print on the board),” and for the students to discuss “How will he inspire us,” among other things. There is nothing in these White House materials about approaching the speech critically, or engaging in any critical thinking whatsoever, but only adopting a reverent approach to everything they are being told.”

Horne added: “In general, in keeping with good education practice, students should be taught to read and think critically about statements coming from politicians and historical figures.”

I did some googling about speeches Horne has made to students in our state. Just as I thought, not only has our illustrious Superintendent of Public Ed given talks to students, he saw fit to use the schools as campaign stops when the 2006 general election cycle was in full swing. Horne made a whirlwind tour of several AZ public schools on Sep. 21, 2006. That’s right, less than 6 weeks prior to the election.

“I’m Tom Horne,” he told them, “I’m in charge of 1,800 schools.” They nodded fiercely when Horne asked them if they had good teachers and they answered in unison when he asked them to promise to thank their parents for being involved in their education. Parent involvement is a staple of the model.

In addition to the blatant way he was shilling for reelection, Horne was also promoting Character Counts, an initiative to encourage adult involvement with students to keep them in school and off drugs. Character Counts was a pet project of President GW Bush, who proclaimed a week for it in 2006, and subsequent years.

America’s strength is found in the spirit and character of our people. During National Character Counts Week, we renew our commitment to instilling values in our young people and to encouraging all Americans to remember the importance of good character.

As the primary teachers and examples of character, parents help create a more compassionate and decent society. And as individuals, we all have an obligation to help our children become responsible citizens and realize their full potential. By demonstrating values such as integrity, courage, honesty, and patriotism, all Americans can help our children develop strength and character.

Countless individuals throughout our country demonstrate character by volunteering their time and energy to help neighbors in need. The men and women of our Armed Forces set an example of character by bravely putting the security of our Nation before their own lives. We also see character in the family members, teachers, coaches, and other dedicated individuals whose hearts are invested in the future of our children.

Our changing world requires virtues that sustain our democracy, make self-government possible, and help build a more hopeful future. National Character Counts Week is an opportunity to recognize the depth of America’s character and appreciate those who pass on our values to future generations.

NOW, THEREFORE, I, GEORGE W. BUSH, President of the United States of America, by virtue of the authority vested in me by the Constitution and laws of the United States, do hereby proclaim October 15 through October 21, 2006, as National Character Counts Week. I call upon public officials, educators, librarians, parents, students, and all Americans to observe this week with appropriate ceremonies, activities, and programs.

IN WITNESS WHEREOF, I have hereunto set my hand this thirteenth day of October, in the year of our Lord two thousand six, and of the Independence of the United States of America the two hundred and thirty-first.


So where was Tom’s call for students to think critically about that? Hmm?


  1. Comment by diane sanborn on September 4, 2009 2:06 pm

    For all of the above reasons and more, Horne must not seek re election.
    I am asking him to stay home from work on Tuesday, in fact stay home every day and give AZ educators and tax payers a break.
    Take your fanaticism and sour grapes attitude some where else. Remember we voted for CHANGE.
    Analyze that!

  2. Comment by Katie on September 4, 2009 3:30 pm

    Silly Donna. Students only need to think critically about information if the person giving it to them is not like us. (You know – white.)

  3. Comment by Katie on September 4, 2009 3:30 pm

    Diane, Horne is termed out and cannot seek re-election to that office.

  4. Comment by Donna on September 4, 2009 3:32 pm

    Diane, he can’t run for reelection as Sup. of Public Ed. because he’s termed out. He’s planning to run for Atty General in 2010. Seriously. The man must be stopped.

  5. Comment by Eli_Blake on September 4, 2009 6:27 pm

    As Superintedent of Instruction, Horne had a duty to fight for the schools.

    In the face of this year’s massive budget cuts being pushed through the legislators, why wasn’t Horne out there speaking out against it?

    I expect the Superintendent of Schools to show some leadership, something that former Democrat (that’s right, he is also a political opportunist who switched parties to advance his political career) never showed.

  6. Comment by Jewels on September 4, 2009 6:33 pm

    Horne is an idiot, and his stupidity is displayed in his press release.

    Asking students to identify what they think are notable quotes from the speech is somehow NOT critical thinking?

    Having students discuss and debate whether or not they were inspired is NOT critical thinking?

    Is this guy seriously an educator?

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