Obama speech airs in schools Wednesday

School District 51 students will be watching when President Barack Obama delivers his third annual back-to-school speech at 11:30 a.m. Wednesday.

The speech, which is aimed at schoolchildren across the nation, will be delivered from a Washington, D.C., high school and will air on MSNBC. The speech also will be streamed through whitehouse.gov.

The district is encouraging classes to watch the speech, but the timing of the speech is right during lunch for some students.

That means not every classroom will show it.

Some classrooms do not have access to MSNBC or a television, and the district wants classes to stream the speech only if more than one class will watch it so the district’s Internet connection is less likely to slow to a crawl, said School District 51 spokeswoman Christy McGee.

Some classes will watch a recording of the speech at a later time or date if it fits with a planned lesson, McGee said.

As they did in 2009 and 2010, parents have the option to turn in a form that excuses their children from watching the 2011 speech. McGee said she’s not sure how many parents have turned in those forms this year or in past years.

“We tried to get that data last year, but it’s very incomplete,” she said.


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