Some schools, teachers won’t show Obama

Parent Aaron Jimenez at Senic Elementary where one of his children attends, likes that the school is recording President Obama’s address so parents can moniter it before the children see it

Whether local students see President Barack Obama address schoolchildren across the nation for 15 minutes at 10 a.m. Tuesday will depend upon a variety of factors.

School District 51 is leaving the decision to broadcast the president’s speech up to individual teachers and their respective schools, District 51 spokesman Jeff Kirtland said.

“The intent of this message, from our understanding from the White House, is to address kids on the first day of school. Our kids have been in school for three weeks,” Kirtland said.

Whether students have an opportunity to see the president’s speech depends on each student’s class schedule. Students attending subjects such as math, science or physical education will likely not have the opportunity to see the speech. Students attending social science classes, history or civics may be afforded the opportunity.

The decision is being left to individual instructors. If the president’s speech fits the curriculum, Kirtland said, children might be able to watch the president live.

“Leave it to the professional in the classroom,” Kirtland said, adding that the question teachers are asking is: “Is this pertinent to what we are teaching today?”

If the school was willing to air the president’s speech, teachers had to send permission slips home with students by Friday for their parents to sign.

“Kids have the opportunity to opt out of that,” said Lee Carleton, assistant principal at Fruita Monument High School.

While Fruita Monument is airing the president’s speech in some classrooms, other schools, such as Wingate Elementary have chosen not to show the president’s speech.

Some charter schools are offering the president’s message to students.

“Yes, we will be televising the message on Tuesday,” said Kristin Trezise, Caprock Academy’s headmaster. “We have an opt-in option for our parents. If they would like their child to watch it, they just send back the permission slip. And if they don’t want their child to participate, then that’s the other option they have as well.”

Students in classes where the teacher has chosen to stream Obama’s speech via the Internet will be offered an “alternative learning activity,” Kirtland said.

Other schools, such as Tope Elementary, are having the children assemble in the school’s multipurpose room if they have permission to watch.

“I’m very pleased with how Tope Elementary is handling it,” said Cherlyn Crawford, the parent of a 5-year-old Tope student. “I don’t feel like they need to be taken out of instruction time.”

Crawford said she will sit down with her child Monday and read the president’s message together. A transcript of the president’s speech will be available on the White House’s Web site Monday, prior to his speech on Tuesday.

Lynn Huizing, president of the Colorado PTA, said she can understand the politics, but because the president’s message is a positive one, she cannot understand why any parent would keep their child from seeing his speech.

“I would encourage everyone to watch it,” Huizing said. “He is talking about education.” 


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