A Cross Section of My Brainwaves. For anyone who wonders what 'jcnork' is interested in, thinking about or doing...
In previous Presidencies, were teachers showing speeches by Bush, Clinton, Carter, Reagan? Or is this a new trend? What is the point of watching this particular speech? Will Obama present both sides of an argument? Or will there be a counter opinion provided?
Hi Chris, take a look at this editorial. There is president here. I believe the first president Bush gave a speech to schools around the country in 1991. (I think this might be a link to it).
<span>Both Presidents George Bush and Ronald Reagan gave speeches aimed specifically at students that were nationally televised. In 1989, Bush delivered a televised anti-drug speech, and Reagan's 1986 commencement speech and Q&A session was "beamed over public television into 171 school districts," according to Yahoo News.</span>
I have attached scan of the Superintendent's letter and pasted a copy of my response below:I just saw your letter regarding President Obama's speech on Tuesday. I am very disappointed that you have decided to exclude all students from watching our nation's president address the Bethany school community. I personally can't understand why parents would not want their children to hear our president. Never-the-less, I think it would have been better to have those families 'opt out' instead of depriving everyone of the opportunity. The Amity district has taken this approach and I think this is a more reasonable compromise.
What exactly would "both sides of an argument" include if the president is speaking about kids staying in school and doing their best? How exactly do these topics NOT fit with school curriculum?
I couldn't agree more!
That letter he wrote is as disgraceful as the decision itself. What a pile of bull. Tim needs to be reminded of his responsibilities. The position of School Superintendent is much too important to allow personal agendas, biases and special interests to taint his decision making process. Shame on him.
Ya, pretty lame excuse Noel, very dissapointing.
I thought you might be interested in the comment that the Chair of the Woodbridge Board of Education provided about this:My understanding is that, as the CSDE notes in its letter, this is a local matter for each BOE to decide. Accordingly as Chairman I've consulted with the Superintendent and signaled that after viewing the relevant material available at the whitehouse.gov website, and consulting with the Public Information officer at the CSDE, I have concluded that this initiative can in no way be viewed as controversial subject matter, and does not necessitate a letter home to parents or opt-out notice (such as we see routinely with sex ed or mature subjects in films like Schindler's List, etc.). Therefore, teachers will be free to incorporate this material into their curriculum, either live at noon or by viewing a recording the tech department will make available (many kids will be at lunch at noon, etc.). I've also advised that anyone calling with "political concerns" be directed to me, in my capacity as their elected representative in this little thing we call a democracy.And that's that, peeps!Have you spoken with the Chair of your local Board of Education? Perhaps you should, and should challenge the decision by the superintendent to prevent the students from an educational opportunity because a small group of people are politicizing a Presidential speech and attempting to undermine the importance of the office and of our constitution.
Facinating to see the letter from the Chair of the Woodbridge Board of Education on the Obama speech! Beecher seems to be the most enlightened out of the 3 districts. I wonder what Orange is doing. Do you know?
Hi Jack, please post the link to the text of the speech, only then can we make a valued judgement as to its contents being general or political. Sorry if some of us do not trust Obama but he now has a track record that is concerning many parents which is why this is controversial..
I received a reply from the Bethany Superintendent and have asked him to join the discussion here. Hopefully he will engage in an open discussion with the Bethany Community
I can honestly say that I wouldn't have had a problem with Dubya addressing the kids either or any other president. As a teacher, I find it ironic that many people are worried because they won't be there to police the speech as their kids are watching. Kids spend hours every day away from their parents in school <span>developing their individual thoughts and ideas, which is a GOOD thing. Do people really think that Obama is going to use a ridiculously scrutinized speech to start recruiting a tiny army of blindfaith followers? I sincerely hope that the parents spending all this energy into prematurely attacking this speech put the same amount into checking their child's homework and volunteering at school.</span>
Thanks Susan, your opinion as an inner city school teacher adds much to the discussion.
Why would anyone think it was inappropriate for the President to address students? I doubt there is any political content in his message. Past Presidents have done so without issue. Why this President. Why now? The partisanship and religion in this country have become out of hand. @cjtyrrell: What are the "both sides"? I'm sure his message will be something like: "Dream to be something. Staying in school will help you achieve your dream. Dropping out will keep you from achieving your dream. Don't do drugs. Be a good kid."
Thanks, Jack for hosting this thoughtful exchange. Aside from and in addition to my opinion as noted by Aldon (thanks too, Aldon!) the one thing I would emphasize here is a suggestion on how best to interact with a local school district, IMHO, on any given issue. You may already know that if you have a concern that directly involves your own child's education, start closest to the ground with your child's teacher, and make a simple inquiry to check your understanding. Then if what you hear is not satisfying, move up to the principal and give it another go. Still not happy? Next talk to the Superintendent and if that does not resolve your issue, call up your BOE representatives -- they were selected to be there to hear your concern, as a result of your municipal election.That being said, I would hope folks don't go crazy (on either side of this issue) inundating the Superintendent's or Principal's office with outraged phone calls and emails on this one. My take on this particular issue is that it is a monumental waste of time for our educators! (Hey, is that what the folks whipping up the alleged "controversy" are trying to achieve?! Well, let's not play into that game, eh?)Let your opinion be known, certainly. A brief email will do the trick for this -- make sure you are counted, so an honest assessment of what's going on in each community can be had. But I think to ask Superintendents to engage in discussion of what is at base a political concern is not the way to go -- and would be an unfortunate unintended consequence here.
My suggestion would be that we each allow -- no, insist -- that our elected Board of Education representatives take the heat as well as the appreciation on such subjects -- and do what I believe is the job: to protect our educators from all interference with doing what is in the best interest for the development of all students into lifelong learners and responsible citizens. I feel strongly that the role of BOE member is to interpret the will of the community they represent. Educators know education; they take direction on "political concerns" from the folks elected as part of the political process. Ultimately, that's where I think this fake-controversy belongs, not interfering with the much more important work our schools are very busy addressing!So let's not contribute toward pulling educators off task, just because some easily influenced people heard someone tell them to call their local public school and complain about Obama. Your school should not be the arena for this silliness, should it?So if your board did not step in, in time to help guide the decision (just my guess at what may have happened in your district), or if the board was involved and has in your opinion erred in that guidance (in essence, misjudged the community it serves), then it is the board who should hear your political concerns. From the other side of the issue, if I make a decision that members of my community believe is in error (not supported by a majority of citizens), then by all means let me know! And if that's the case, I would advise such callers to run for office, or find themselves a candidate who will represent their viewpoint and back that person for office. If that candidate can get him or herself elected, so be it -- then we will know the will of the community!That's little-d democracy, baby! Don't you just love it?
Here's the actualy text of the speech: http://www.whitehouse.gov/MediaResources/PreparedSchoolRemarks/I think it's worth taking 20 minutes from the school day.
<span>"My take on this particular issue is that it is a monumental waste of time for our educators!" I think it is a perfect example to fight over because it is a single easily understood event. Most teachers and administrators would have no idea how to change their school if parents wanted a more authentic education, wanted more project based learning, more inquiry, or more technology intergrated. Most teachers and administrators have no clue about the research showing the detrimental scientifically proven impact of grades, homework, rote learning, fact based tests, and "marble jars," ticket reward systems, and have no idea how to move their classes and schools to be more instrinsically motivated. This is a clear cut event. Something that will have nothing but positive benifits, but was banned from the schools. </span>By the way, this really hits home because I am a social studies teacher...but in a few days I will agree with you ;)
Sheila, I'm sorry but you're way off base and out of line. The proper procedure here IS to flood the irresponsible Superintendent's voice mail with messages of concern from the parents whom he has sadly misrepresented. There's no time for your "tiptoe" methodology when the speech goes live TOMORROW at noonCalling the Superintendent will not send the Teachers "off task." Don't be sillyThese are not "political concerns," and they are CERTAINLY not "silliness." These are EDUCATIONAL concerns. Stop confusing the issue. Concerned parents who are upset that their Superintendent made a bad decision that strongly affects them and their children DO NOT qualify as "<span>easily influenced people" and your remarks are insulting to Jack and any other parent who is rightfully upset about this.</span>- Noel
More great discussion over at Paul's bloghttp://blogush.edublogs.org/2009/09/04/317/
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