Jueves, 03 de septiembre de 2009
Salt Lake Tribune
Updated:09/03/2009 07:39:58 AM MDT

Some Utah parents have already made up their minds

 about a speech President Barack Obama plans to give

to students about the importance of education: They

 don't want their children watching it.

In the speech, which will be broadcast live online at 10

 a.m. on Tuesday, Obama will challenge students to work

 hard, set educational goals and take responsibility for

 their learning, according to the U.S. Department of

 Education, which has urged schools to join in the

 "historic" event, even providing age-appropriate

 classroom activities.

But in Utah and nationwide, conservative voices are

 saying they don't want their kids "forced" to watch the

 speech, fearing it will eat up precious class time with

political or policy messages. Officials from the Alpine,

Jordan, Canyons and Granite school districts say they

have fielded complaints from concerned parents.

Nationally, the Virginia State Superintendent is urging

 schools "to make reasonable accommodations for

 students whose parents may object." In Texas, parents

 are threatening to boycott schools, according to 

 Houston Chronicle 
. And in Florida, the head of the s

tate Republican Party labeled the address an

 inappropriate "indoctrination" to the President's

 "socialist" agenda.

Utah school districts are taking precautions.

Granite, Jordan, Salt Lake City and Davis districts are

 sending letters to principals saying that if they plan to

 broadcast the speech, they should warn parents and

 provide alternate activities for students who don't want

 to watch it. Canyons is sending home letters to parents

 today along with waivers they can sign if they don't want

 their children to watch the speech. Canyons only plans

 to show the live speech to secondary students because o

f district-wide testing in the elementary schools, said

 Jennifer Toomer-Cook, district spokeswoman.

Majestic Elementary PTA president Jennifer Walters

 doesn't see what all the fuss is about. She said she's

 pleased and surprised that the president would take time

 out of his busy schedule to address kids.

"Anytime a president gives a speech, kids should

 probably hear it, at least the older ones," said the West

 Jordan mom. "I'm all for anything that makes kids feel

 good about school."

Utah districts, however, are taking special care, partly

 because of controversy that arose this week after a

Farmington school showed students a video, unrelated to
Obama's upcoming speech, that featured celebrities

making pledges to Obama and the world. Some parents

at that school were offended, saying the video contained

 liberal, inappropriate or disagreeable messages. School

districts are trying to make sure educators and parents

know Obama's Tuesday speech has nothing to do with

the "I Pledge" video.

It's uncertain how many Utah schools will telecast

 Tuesday's speech.

But "many parents and media members may be paying

 close attention," warned Salt Lake district spokesman

Jason Olsen Wednesday in a letter to principals. If

parents have complained, Olsen says he isn't aware of it.

That's true for Davis district, too, said spokesman

Christopher Williams.

Granite, however, has received at least a dozen

complaints from parents, said district spokesman Ben

 Horsley. "We don't believe that's a political message. It's

 a positive message our students need to hear."

The Alpine district has also received more than a dozen

 complaints, said district spokeswoman Rhonda Bromley.

"Parents, of course, at any time can excuse their kids

from school for any reason," Bromley said. "Certainly,

 though, as part of social studies curriculum we talk

 about the role of the federal government, talk about the

 role of the president and we talk about the fact that we

 respect the role of the president."

Gayle Ruzicka, president of the conservative Utah Eagle

 Forum, said she's heard from more than 20 upset

parents. Ruzicka said she doesn't see a problem with the

 speech if it really is just about education, but if it carries

 other messages, that's a problem.

"I do believe whoever the president is that's speaking to

school children, parents do need to find out what the

 speech is about," Ruzicka said. "Is it going to be political

 speech or is it going to be a patriotic speech? We have an

 obligation to our children to find out what they're being


One remedy for worried parents, said Ruzicka, would be

 to go to their children's schools and watch the speech

 with them. She said the Utah Eagle Forum will also

 likely send out a letter letting parents know about the


Suzanne Walker, Midvale Elementary PTA president,

 said Obama's address doesn't worry her. But she says

 last week's "I Pledge" video exemplifies why parents

 should be involved in schools.

"I agree with a lot of what Obama has planned. But

 asking my kids to pledge and do things that I don't

support, I have a problem with that," Walker said.

Obama on education

President Barack Obama will give a speech about the

importance of education that federal education officials

 would like American students to watch while they are at

 school. The speech will be broadcast live Tuesday, 10

 a.m. at 
www.whitehouse.gov/live/ . For more


www.ed.gov/admins/lead/academic/bts.html .


Publicado por Corazon7 @ 20:31
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