I've been quite vocal lately about Obama's speech for all students.......I was highly disappointed that my local school district decided against airing the speech live for all our students. Here are the emails shared between myself and our school board:
I am writing to you to express my disappointment that Lee County School District has decided to not allow my child to watch President Obama's message for all students on 9/8/09. The President would like to appeal to all students to encourage persistence and success in school, something that I hope each and every one of us would like from all students. I believe the district will miss an important opportunity to reach out to not just children of minorities, but all children. Just a few short months ago, my son was given homework assignments to watch the Republican and Democratic conventions, so I'm finding it hard to grasp that when the elected President wants to address all students, the district questions its appropriateness.
Politics aside, with this last election, I witnessed my children, who normally could care less about the election process become so involved in the process. We had an opportunity to meet VP Joe Biden when he was at FGCU last year, my 12 year old son was so excited to have met VP Biden and I was proud of him. When 12 year olds are typically more interested in sports figures, he couldn't stop talking about his handshake and conversation with the potential VP. On the night of the election, my son stayed awake and followed the election results until most of the results were in, he didn't watch Family Guy or The Simpsons, but the election results and he enjoyed it.
I'm asking that the district reconsider their decision and allow Lee County's children to be witness to this historical address.
Thank you for your consideration,
"Schools belong to children... ALL children. Schools must continue to change classrooms to meet the needs of children, rather than trying to change students to meet the needs of classrooms!"
"Flatter me, and I may not believe you. Criticize me, and I may not like you. Ignore me, and I may not forgive you. Encourage me, and I may not forget you."
-- William Arthur Ward, author, educator, speaker (1921-1994)
Dear Ms. Hawkins,
Thank you for your concern that your child can not watch the Obama speech during school hours. This has gotten a lot of attention both locally and nationally but, in our particular case, it will NOT be played in the Lee County schools next Tuesday. Not due to any other reason but that we have a procedure and process for reviewing EVERY educational tool and this falls into that category. The program will be recorded by our media department (in the same manner as many other education related programs are recorded) and sent through our standard process of review.
If it meets the requirements and criteria that supports the Sunshine State Standards and is not detrimental to current school policies or detract from our mission or academic goals, it would be made available at the library of schools for teachers to check out like any other material that is currently available that has been vetted and meets the aforementioned guidelines.
If the message is deemed to be politically biased or have a negative connotation, it will not be accepted or made available within our District. The Superintendent has already responded to calls and will be instructing principals to continue to adhere to our current procedures and guidelines. If there are some parents that want their children to see this program, they can record it and review it with their own children at home.
Please note that the “in the library” will only be after the standard review given to every instructional supplement that is submitted to the District for use in our schools. While I have not seen it yet and can’t be prematurely definitive, it is my firm belief that it will not be made available in our schools.
Personally, I believe that any type of broadcast of this nature should have been done at 8pm on a nationally broadcast channel rather than during school hours when the parents are not with their children. That way, parents could either elect to watch it with their children or not. I intend to tape it and review it with my wife and determine if it is suitable for our children and I recommend each household do the same.
Again, I encourage parents that which to view it or have their children view can tape it and play it for their children in their own homes.
As the Board Vice Chairman, I am sending you a response from all the Board Member to eliminate you getting similar e-mails from every Board Member.
Steven K. Teuber
Lee County School Board