Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Schools Come Under Fire for Not Airing Obama Speech

President Obama's plan to give a planned speech to elementary school kids ran into a big snag last week when Fox News reported it, then started digging to see what would actually be in the speech. Anyone who's seen any news over the last few days knows that Obama is going to talk about reaching one's educational goals and doing your best, and so on. This sounds like a typical pep-talk to school kids.

I for one am all in favor of doing anything to get our kids to strive to do better in school. I just hope it doesn't turn into a future fundraiser for ANY political party, Republic, Libertarian, Green, or Democrat.

What's more disheartening about the entire event is the way Obama supporters are attacking schools that are choosing not to air it as a live event. Here in Eastern North Carolina, Pitt County Schools have decided to record it, and re-air it at another time after administrators have had a chance to preview it. That decision is in-line with the school system's policy on viewing educational materials. It must be previewed to make sure it is applicable to the students viewing it and is also educationally relevant. The timing of the President's speech also conflicts with students' lunch times. Some students would miss all or some of their state mandated lunch period. The county also doesn't have the bandwidth capacity to have students watch it live. Pitt Schools are planning on recording it, then letting school administrators determine what grades should view it, then plan appropriate class time to do so.

However, some advocacy groups are up in arms that Pitt Schools are not airing the speech live. If you want to know why they aren't, re-read the above paragraph. Some groups are saying the decision by system administrators is racist since the speech isn't being shown live. So, since administrators are actually following guidelines set forth BEFORE President Obama took office, they are racist. And I imagine that Pitt County isn't the only school system with these guidelines in place, so there are a lot of racist school administrators all across the country. If President Obama was going to give a speech with a bunch of knock-knock jokes and schools decided not to air it, would they be racist then, too? Community groups who are concerned about airing of the speech should record it themselves. Choose a community center or church and show it there with parents present so they can also participate in the discussion.

It is important for schools to do what they can to keep kids in school. It is also admirable for President Obama and previous presidents to make this an important issue. However, if community leaders and activists want to make an issue of the speech not airing, they should also do their part in keeping kids in school and decreasing the drop-out rate. This is an issue that should not be left for the President of the United States to handle. Parents are more accountable for this issue than President Obama and school administrators are.

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