Next Tuesday, September 8, 2009, at noon Eastern time President Obama will make a major speech directly to school children around the country on both CSPAN and other dedicated education channels.
While the proclaimed goal – keeping kids in school and focused on education – seems laudable, the Christian Science Monitor’s blog reports that conservative and Libertarian groups are upset about some of the supporting education material sent out from the US Department of Education.
Those groups charge the material turns the speech into a political event designed to recruit youngsters as administration lobbyists. And, I have read elsewhere that some feel the speech represents an exceptional intrusion of the federal government into the area of local determination of school curriculum.
Given all the controversy, Kentucky’s education commissioner Terry Holliday is taking a neutral and common-sense approach on the debate. Holliday says that whether or not schools present the speech to students is most definitely a local decision.
In addition, the Kentucky School Boards Association reports that Dr. Holliday’s e-mail to Kentucky’s 174 school superintendents urges schools to honor parents who do not want their children to view the speech and to plan alternative activities for those children who opt out. It’s a parent friendly approach that many in Kentucky will appreciate – one that local schools will hopefully be careful to honor.
In fact, we’d love to hear from you about how your school handles this unusual situation. You can reply anonymously to this blog item if you wish, or send us an e-mail.
(update deletes out of date reference)