Some Minnesota superintendents have banned the live airing of President Obama’s back-to-school speech next week, but the Minneapolis school district is telling parents that teachers will be allowed to show the address. “Such speeches by any sitting president are worthy of Americans’ time, attention and consideration,” the district said Friday afternoon via robocall to student home phones. Obama will encourage students to take learning seriously, the official statement continues: “Motivating students to achieve success in and through education is not a controversial issue.”
In robocalls placed district-wide this afternoon, school principals read this statement:
You may have heard that the president of the United States plans to address students across the nation on the importance of education on Sept. 8. He will challenge students to work hard, set education goals and take responsibility for their learning. The Minneapolis Public Schools believes such speeches by any sitting president are worthy of Americans’ time, attention and consideration. Motivating students to achieve success in and through education is not a controversial issue.
Teachers who believe that a viewing of the presidents’ remarks is in alignment with their classroom instruction may allow their students to take advantage of the opportunity afforded them through this address. We’re confident that our educators will use their best professional judgment in making this decision, and we’re hoping this will be a great learning opportunity for our students.
The principals then encouraged calls to school offices with any questions.
Making the recorded calls was optional for principals in Minneapolis, according to Stan Alleyne, the district’s communications director.
The district crafted its message and stance Thursday, Alleyne told the Minnesota Independent, in the course of handling “a few” calls from citizens and “a lot” of interviews with the news media. The statement is meant to counter “bad information” about the president’s speech, he said, and to communicate to parents directly what officials have been telling reporters.
Alleyne said he didn’t know exactly how many but expected that many teachers would make use of the Obama speech in class, either the live C-SPAN cablecast or — later on — the Web.
Internet viewing will not be live, he said … but not for the same reason as districts where officials say they will review the president’s remarks before deciding whether to allow their use in classrooms.
In Minneapolis, officials fear their computer servers wouldn’t be able to handle the district-wide demand for streaming online video of Obama’s speech.
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