Most students waiting for speech

Logistics, not politics, delay Obama video

While many students across the country were watching a live broadcast of President Obama's back to school speech on Tuesday at noon, many local students were not, and continued with their school days as normal.

That's not to say that they won't get an opportunity to in the future, though.

Neither local school district heard much, if any opposition from parents, as has been reported elsewhere in the United States. Avonworth superintendent Dr. Valerie McDonald said principals received calls both pro and con, while superintendent Dr. Reggie Bonfield said he knew of no communication from Northgate parents.

Rather, both said the decision about airing the speech live had more to do with logistics than anything else.

Bonfield said that students in the district did not view the speech, but plan to in the future.

Bonfield said that because of a tight time-frame, the district was unable to communicate with parents prior to showing the speech, so they chose to air it at a later date. Bonfield noted that there was no school on Friday or Monday (Labor Day).

Bonfield went on to say that Northgate was sending letters home with the elementary school students on Tuesday indicating the district’s intent to show the speech. Accompanying the letters, Bonfield noted, would be a copy of the text of the President's speech.

"I didn't sense anything political about the (speech)," Bonfield said. "It was a (speech) encouraging kids."

Bonfield said that he is hoping to do the same at the secondary levels.

Bonfield said parents who did not want their children viewing the speech could then call the district and voice their concerns. He noted that there has been no specific date set to show the speech yet.

Some Avonworth students, though, were able to view the speech live. Avonworth administrators left the decision to broadcast the speech live up to the social studies and government teachers in the district.

McDonald said that a lack of necessary technology was the basis for the decision.

"Our decision was based on logistics," McDonald said. She noted that the district previously had tried to broadcast the inaugural address at the schools, but the attempt failed. She said that many teachers tried to log on to view the inauguration at the same time, causing disruptions in the video.

McDonald also noted that there is no cable in the auditorium at the high school, or in the elementary school gym, which are the only rooms that could accomadate a large number of people.

Many high school social studies classes did show a live broadcast of the speech. The social studies classes in the sixth and eighth grades were expected to view the speech on Thursday. The seventh grade is set to watch the speech on Constitution Day, which is officially observed on Sept. 17.

McDonald said that the district posted a link to the speech on its Web site.

The speech drew fire from Republicans before anyone had ever seen the actual text. Revealed Monday, it turned out to be a message of encouragement to students:

“I've talked a lot about your government's responsibility for setting high standards, and supporting teachers and principals, and turning around schools that aren't working, where students aren't getting the opportunities that they deserve.

“But at the end of the day... and none of it will make a difference, none of it will matter unless all of you fulfill your responsibilities, unless you show up to those schools, unless you pay attention to those teachers, unless you listen to your parents and grandparents and other adults and put in the hard work it takes to succeed.”


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