*** Update. Our school district is going to record the speech and show it on Wednesday in classrooms. In the meantime, parents in the school district have arranged for an educational event to see the speech live at Arrowhead Golf Course in Wheaton tomorrow (Tuesday) with arrivals at 10:45 am. I'm pleased with the change of plans from the school district and also will be participating with my children in the live event at Arrowhead tomorrow.
From the Community Unit School District 200 website – a transcript of a broadcast phone message (with text that was omitted due the the length limitations of the broadcast) I’ve added my interpretations. . .
Good evening, this is Robert Rammer, Director of Communications with District 200.
You may have seen on the news that President Obama is planning a national address on September 8 -- the first day of school for many children across America -- directly to students on the importance of education. According to U.S. Department of Education Secretary Arne Duncan, the President will challenge students to work hard, set educational goals, and take responsibility for their learning. He will also call for a shared responsibility and commitment on the part of students, parents and educators to ensure that every child in every school receives the best education possible so they can compete in the global economy for good jobs and live rewarding and productive lives as American citizens.
Code: There. We’ve told you what he’s going to say. We don’t need to show the speech now.
We’d like you to know that while we believe the President's message supporting education is important, we have not had an opportunity to preview his presentation and we do not have time set aside to watch the speech during the school day on September 8. Therefore, the President’s message to children will not be broadcast to students in District 200 on Tuesday.
Code: We don’t trust that our president will give an appropriate message to our students. And even if it is important, we don’t think that a speech from this president to students is worth making adjustments to our daily schedule.
We will record the broadcast and determine if and under what curricular circumstances it would be appropriate to share with students. Copies will be made available to each of our schools to use as they see fit.
Code: We’ll let students see it if we think it is free of socialistic propaganda.
Should a school or a classroom decide to show the President’s message at some later date, you will be notified and provided an option to exclude your student from viewing.
Code: We think the idea that the president is trying to indoctrinate our students with his left-wing propaganda has some merit.
If families would like to view a copy of the President’s broadcast together at home, we will make several DVD copies available at each school to be checked out on loan later next week.
Code: We expect there to be some parents who are angry about us not showing the video – but not enough for us to do anything significant about it.
Thank you for your patience and understanding.
Code: Please leave us alone.
[Due to the length of the phone message, the following information was not included in the electronic phone message; however, it speaks to the significant logistical issues surrounding this broadcast]
Once again, although we certainly support and appreciate the President's encouragement of students to do well in school, broadcasting a 20 minute program at 11:00 to all our schools, on a live web stream, is somewhat problematic from a logistical perspective. At the high schools and middle schools, for example, many of our students are eating lunch. These students would not be in a classroom setting where a discussion could take place. From a practical perspective, delaying the lunch schedule for an extended period would be disruptive at best. Some students will be in physical education classes or settings unsuitable for viewing. Streaming this message to all venues and computers at one time would cripple our technology.
Code: We are making up as much rhetoric about logistics as possible. We hope it dazzles you and that you accept it as the truth. Incidentally, we do have the capability to handle all the logistics and to make necessary adjustments to our school schedule for the day. We just don’t want to because we don’t think it is a good idea to do it.
Providing schools with multiple copies of the presentation allows teachers to present the message in a thoughtful, purposeful, and instructive fashion.
Code: That sounds really educational. Do you think it will diffuse the anger of people who want their children to experience the historic event as it happens? We think so. It’s not like we won a football game or something – it’s just the President of the United States, after all.
Any parents who are interested in having their children view the President's speech as it happens. I'm hosting a viewing event at my house at 11 central time Tuesday. We'll watch the speech, discuss it and then students will go back to school.